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Posts Tagged ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’

Continuing from yesterday’s post, “Clark Gable: He’s Just Not That Into…Undershirts,” we are talking about name brand products being deliberately displayed in movies to influence consumer spending. Placing products in movies is big business for merchandisers, ad men, and marketers – and highly competitive, given the cluttered field.

To learn about strategic product placement in movies, I visited the website of Norm Marshall & Associates of Los Angeles/New York/Boston/Sydney/Tokyo, an entertaining marketing firm. We sense the cutthroat nature of the business when we read on Norm Marshall’s website that:

“As audiences continue to be sliced among proliferating media and properties, we continue to find ways to reach them.”  History has proven the effectiveness of product placement in movies. Norm Marshall cites these examples:

Tom Cruise in "Risky Business"

Tom Cruise in "Risky Business"

When Clark Gable got undressed for bed, he was seen not wearing an undershirt under his shirt in the 1934 movie “It Happened One Night.” The most popular undershirt in the 1930s was the sleeveless A-shirt, or tank top. Undershirt sales plummeted, thanks for Gable – for no real man would wear an undershirt if screen idol Gable didn’t.

James Dean, the movie idol of the 1950s, caused sales of Ace Combs to reach record levels when he slicked back his hair with one in “Rebel Without A Cause.”

Sales of RayBan™ sunglasses skyrocketed after handsome and sleek Tom Cruise wore them in the 1985 movie “Risky Business.”

Association with Steven Spielberg’s movie E.T. The Extraterrestrial increased the sales of peanut butter and chocolate Reeses Pieces™ by 70%.

condron.us

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Warner Brothers' 2009 box office hit, PG-rated "He's Just Not That Into You"

Warner Brothers' 2009 box office hit, PG-13 rated "He's Just Not That Into You"

According to a February 25 New York Times article, The American Medical Association is planning on lodging an official complaint against Warner Brothers for its “disturbing images of specific cigarette brands” in their new movie, “He’s Just Not That Into You.” Melissa Walthers, director of the health advocacy group’s effort to reduce teenage smoking, says that there is no artistic reason to include such images.

While the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” doesn’t show anyone smoking, there are numerous shots of the cigarette brand Natural American Spirit Lights in their recognizable bright yellow box as well as a red Marlboro carton, and the AMA is not happy. Ironically, the story line places smoking in a negative light. The main character, played by Jennifer Connelly, leaves her husband not because he cheated on her (although he did) but because he lied about quitting smoking.

Ms. Walthers says that various studies estimate that smoking in films prompts 200,000 young people to start smoking each year. Other health organizations besides the AMA have pressured The Motion Picture Association of America to “trim tobacco sequences” from their movies, but the industry cites the need for artistic license and, in 2007,  refused to consider an outright ban on cigarettes and smoking in film.

it-happened-one-nightAs for anyone out there skeptical about the power of the media to influence consumers, look back to the year 1934 and the release of the Frank Capra comedy, “It Happened One Night” with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, the winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture (Columbia). Sales of men’s undershirts declined sharply after Gable, undressing for bed in a scene, took off his shirt and appeared bare-chested and sexy. He was not wearing the traditional undershirt, a standard clothing item at the time for men. According to legend, sales of undershirts plummeted overnight. American men had made up their minds. If Clark Gable didn’t think he needed an undershirt under his shirt, then neither did they.

Click here to see the famous scene from “It Happened One Night” titled, “The Walls of Jericho.” (That’s Claudette Colbert with Gable, who, win finishing the movie, pronounced it the worst she’d ever made – then went on to win an Oscar for that very movie.

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