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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Product Placement

Product placement is all the rage in marketing these days. Product placement is when filmmakers have their characters using actual brand names in their pictures to hawk the items. I don’t know how I feel about this further incursion of industry into what little artistic freedom exists in film today, but it looks like something that is here to stay for a while, so get used to it. I am also sure that it must be an effective way to sell shit or else businesses wouldn’t be pouring money into movies to have their products shoe-horned into a film.

I wonder if the handgun industry has been paying off Hollywood to have their products used in the tens of thousands of on-screen murders we see in movies? If the gun industry has been paying off filmmakers it has been money very well spent. There are approximately 250 millions guns in circulation in America. That’s probably something like one gun for everyone over 7 years of age—not to say that there aren’t more than a few grade schoolers out there packing heat. So this product placement is really a fantastic idea. Not only does it sell the intended product, it also seems to encourage people to use those products. We have something like 10,000 gun deaths a year in America. People are shooting up classrooms and shopping malls on an almost weekly basis. If I had something to sell I would definitely invest in this product placement thing.

I can think of no products besides the air that we breathe that have had more placement in movies than guns. Guns and the destruction they cause have filled TV and movie screens since film was invented. Movies do a fantastic job of glamorizing guns and the violence and mayhem they bring to almost any party. Product placement is all about selling a lifestyle associated with the featured good. The message of many movies is that guns are cool, guns are empowering. Just look at the diseased assholes responsible for the wave of mass killings we have experienced recently in America. A bigger bunch of losers would be hard to find anywhere and I’m quite sure that none of those guys had the balls to so much as look another dude in the eye when they were slinking down the street on their bellies. Give these creeps easy access to deadly firearms and suddenly they are able to act out all of their tough-guy fantasies. Where did they get these fantasies and the vision of the gun as the ultimate vehicle for empowerment? Movies!

The message of Hollywood practically screams out, “Hey you, yeah you, you loser asshole, you limp-dick coward. Get a gun and people will respect you.” I’d go out and buy a gun right now and blow away a few inconsiderate drivers but guns are kind of hard to buy in Spain. I guess that I’ll just have to keep giving them the finger. I can’t imagine Charles Bronson or Clint Eastwood being satisfied with anything less than blowing the brains out of a driver who cut them off in traffic. There is no way that anyone as well-armed as Clint or Charles is ever going to actually allow another driver to merge in front of them. Hollywood honor dictates that you need to make line-cutters suffer. Criminals need to die for their crimes. What are you, some sort of sissy who believes in due process and the American justice system?

Even if you did believe in the American justice system or turning the other cheek, how can these effeminate ideals have powerful and well-financed lobbies behind them like the gun industry? How can you use product placement in a movie with concepts like non-violence and understanding? Even the finest minds in advertising would be scratching their heads trying to figure that out. What’s easier to sell on the big screen, a shoot out or trying to talk through your minor misunderstandings? How does anyone make money in forgiveness?

Completely unrelated quote of the day:

Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.
- W. Somerset Maugham

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