Have you noticed a specific brand in a movie you were watching? Maybe you’ll see it once or maybe you’ll see it a few times. Maybe you’ll say “Hey, I have that.” But what you might not know is those products are strategically placed in movies, this is called product placement. Companies do this gain to recognition for their products, to get their name out there to attract potential customers.
One movie I personally enjoy is 21 Jump Street (2012). It is hilarious; I was laughing the entire movie. The film is a remake of the original series that aired in the 80s. The film stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as two unlikely friends working together as cops. The opening scene depicts Jonah and Channing in high school. Jonah’s character is the typical “nerd” and Channing’s character is the “dumb jock”. A flash forward to a few years later, both characters are seen joining the police force and are reunited once again. Somehow the two characters become unlikely friends. The two goofy characters end up botching some of their police work, screwing up their chances of being taken seriously. The two cops are relocated to a branch called the “misfit toys”, where they get assigned an undercover job at a high school looking for a new drug that is being distributed there. As the movie progresses it proves to be a typical teenage comedy with some partying, drug use, alcohol use, sexual content and profanity.
This movie hosts a number of product placements: Adidas, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Camaro, Desert Eagle Pistol, Disney, Doritos, Evans, Facebook, Fila, Ford, Ford Mustang, Glock, Hyundai, Jansport, Lincoln, Mercedes, Porsche, Quiznos, Red Bull, Smartwater, Smith & Wesson, Sony, Sony Ericsson, Sony VAIO, Springfield Armory, Taco Bell, Timberland, Twitter, University of California, Berkeley, Urban Outfitters, Volkswagen, Volkswagen Beetle, just to name a few.
I noticed something about the product placements. I’ve noticed that they are targeting a certain audience: young adult males. The movie has multiple car advertisements, as well as junk food. It is clear from the placement of the products the companies were trying to get the attention of the younger guys. It makes sense to use these products, like Facebook, Chevy, Taco Bell, and Doritos, because younger people are familiar with them. Boys do love trucks and food after all so that was the right call to put them in there.
The idea of a product placement is pervasive. They are put into movies to be blatant, guaranteeing the audiences’ attention drawing their eyes to the product. Most of the time the character of the movie actually uses the product to get that attention. The idea behind it is to make someone crave the product, to make them think about the product later and have it in the back of their mind. It’s another creative way by advertisers to get brand recognition and to get new customers. It’s also another reality of advertising proving that it is literally everywhere, no matter where you go you can’t escape it.