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The Gilmore Girls an Advertising Trojan Horse?!

"To see how far "below the line" marketers will go, take TV's The Gilmore Girls - or don't, if you want to avoid a barrage of ads tailored to the series.

"The United States show about a young single mother and her teenage daughter was devised by a coalition of multinationals that believed there was nothing on air that provided the perfect platform for their ads."

Say it ain't so!

Walter Rumsby
Sunday, January 12, 2003

i just wonder if it kinda contradicts the purpose of you know - advertising - when it's far more subtle and maybe 50% - arbitrary figure - of the people don't know it's supposed to be one?

Sunday, January 12, 2003

All commercial Television could be considered a 'Trojan':
A group of advertisers basically have to buy in that a show will reach there chosen demographic and represent them in a way they can live with.  Now that means a producer has to sell not only the network on the new show but also have a prospectus for advertisers to prove there demographic.  If what you quoted is true then this is just the logical end for commercial entertainment, where a group of advertisers pay a group of artists to develop a show for a target demographic and do massive product placement.  In fact, it would surprise me if this did not happen.  Movies are already massive product placement ads.
I don’t watch much television anymore; it seems to be just on long commercial with some sorted titillating bits to keep me coming back for more commercials:-/.

A Software Build Guy
Sunday, January 12, 2003

Gee, is this new?

The word "soaps" comes from the fact that venders of soap products needed shows to sell their products.

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada

Albert D. Kallal
Sunday, January 12, 2003

"Back to the Future" ( ) was on TV over the weekend and it was the first time I had seen the movie in about 10 years.

Although I liked it a lot (as always) I noticed for the first time how many product placements there are. This film in particular seems to set the record. Just off the top of my head I can remember the following that I saw:

- Pepsi
- Burger King
- Toyota
- California Raisens
- Valtera (skateboards)
- Calvin Klein (ad?)
- Mr. Coffee
- DeLorean (ad?)
- Miller bear
- Texaco

Maybe this, like banner ads on the Web, are the price we pay for free content.

Chi Lambda
Sunday, January 12, 2003

I expirienced the same watching the new Bond film or Minority Report. But on the other side, I accepted it because, hey, it's switch-your-brain-out, pop-corn movie (well, MR maybe not that much).

Monday, January 13, 2003

Heh, this is a pet topic of mine. I keep track of these sometimes if I'm bored in a movie. Example from the last one I kept track in, Murder by Numbers:

Krispy Kreme donut tray 7:47
AMR American Medical Response Van 8:26
Beer "XX" 14:28
J & B Scotch 18:13
She drives a Ford with visible logo 22:03
One of the bad guys drives a Ford Mustang, one drives a Volvo
J&B Scotch again, 24:37
Matlock 40:00
Pepperidge Farm cookies 40:00
Macintosh Computer 55:15
Mention of K-Mart
Mention of Pleather
Naya water 1:02:45
Nikon camera 1:07:10
Kilobyte Cafe 1:07:10
HP Deskjet Printer 1:11:08

BUT -- the all-time king of placement movies, even to the extent that it makes fun of the placement, is Josie and the Pussycats.

Troy King
Monday, January 13, 2003

LoTR movies are of course vehicles to sell LoTR merchandise, oh and holidays in NZ.

Simon Lucy
Monday, January 13, 2003

In television land Apple computer has a market share of 98% ... ;-).

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, January 13, 2003

Wow Troy... I rem watching that movie in the cinema but I didn't catch as many as you did... the exact timings even!

Monday, January 13, 2003

There should still be a distinction between advertising in free TV versus cinema movies we pay to watch.

It's no secret that television networks aren't in the business of selling shows to audiences.  They're in the business of selling audiences to advertisers. 

Since we don't pay directly for TV shows, we should expect our interests not to be represented.  (Of course, the exact same is true for news and other fact shows - it needs to be just good enough to get our attention for the advertisers' messages).

It seems to me that Hollywood is taking liberties with us, though. When we pay money to see a film, why should we also have to sit through 8 minutes of ads, plus commercial type messages throughout the film?
They do it because they can get away with it. But we don't have to like it.

Monday, January 13, 2003

I sort of find those movie previews entertaining.  Something to make fun of.  Usually they're better than the movies they promote and let you imagine how they "should be."

Also product placements are pretty funny in the case of Pulp Fiction.  I don't think Pepsi paid them, though...  Anyway, many movies are not made well enough that product placements particularly injure them.

Monday, January 13, 2003

"LoTR movies are of course vehicles to sell LoTR merchandise, oh and holidays in NZ." Yup. I'm certainly sold, at least on the NZ part. Now I just need the money and the vacation time. :)

Monday, January 13, 2003


They don't do it because they can get away with it. They do it to raise money to make the film in the first place. If the budget of the film is 20 mil, they may only be able to raise 12 mil through standard investors, and need to come up with another 8 mil. They raise that through selling product placement for a million bucks a pop.

As far as product placement awards, you guys are all wrong. Crazy People must win for most product placements.

"Porsche - it's too small to get laid IN, but you get laid the second you get OUT!"

"Jaguar - the car for men who want handjobs from beautiful women they hardly know"

"Paramount Pictures presents `The Freak.' This movie won't just scare you, it will fuck you up for life." I want to know how the fuck the word "fuck" gets in the New York fucking Times!" (speaking of which, I would see The Freak, just on principal if it ever existed and advertised like that! :-) )

"Sony: because caucasions are just too damn big."

That that's just off the top of my head. I'm forgetting the actual quotes for FedEx and others, I'm sure.

Josie and the Pussycats tried, but it just wasn't the same. :-)

Tim Sullivan
Monday, January 13, 2003

I don't mind casual use of brands (I wouldn't expect characters to continually pull into unmarked gas stations and drink beer with bland labels).  But it's really distracting when the placements are blatant.

For example,  I watched "In the Bedroom" on DVD the other day.  (Good movie, a bit artsy, not much play in the theaters). It's got lot of local color from the Maine coast, but with the constant interruption of placements for Pepsi, Marlboro cigarettes, Kit-Kat bars.  For example a girl puts a candy bar on the table, in the foreground, the logo exactly by the camera. 

The worst was when-- out of nowhere-- a minor character starts talking about taking her daughter to the Disney theme park.  The other mother asks "but don't you hate having to wait in lines?"  The first one says "oh no, with the new Fast Pass system, there's no more waiting in lines". 

Messing with the visuals is one thing, but changing the screen play to accomodate a sponsor-- a low blow.

POed movie buff
Monday, January 13, 2003

If you think paying to watch ads on movies is bad just wait till you watch things on satellite TV. You pay a subscription for the channel to get the movies or the TV show, and then find yourself bombarded with ads.

And if you pay for a sports channel to watch a cricket match then there's not much else you see. Prakash knows what I mean.

I'd say long live the BBC if only they would get rid of the trailers for the other programs!

Stephen Jones
Monday, January 13, 2003

It's certainly true that all the money a film earns from product placement gets used. But how much of that cost is necessary? 

A large proportion of most big-budget films is spent on fees for the A-list actors (LoTR probably being a notable exception).  And why do Bruce Willis et al get so many millions per movie? Because they can get it.  They get a piece of the pie, and gratuitous product placements and TV-style ads before films mostly just make the pie bigger, rather than enabling new pies.

So we are renting out our eyeballs for no discernable benefit to us - the extra revenue stream from ads is probably not necessary to pay for the film in the first place.

Monday, January 13, 2003

"And why do Bruce Willis et al get so many millions per movie?"

Because people will go and see 'the new Bruce Willis movie'  whatever else is said about it. Fight the system - go and see independent movies.

(I would love to say more but I'm off to see the new Tom Hanks movie...)

David Clayworth
Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Well written, David.

For better or worse, a big name *will* bring in crowds, just because it's a big name.  There are exceptions, like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," but they're rare.

Much of the money spent on big actors is spent to guarantee big crowds, not artistic integrity.  Unfortunate, but true and practical.

Hollywood is a business.  This is not necessarily bad; it just ensures that the vast majority of decisions in Hollywood are monetary.

The film "State and Main" is a fun parody of this.

Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, January 14, 2003

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