I’ve noticed that logos incidentally borne by props (e.g., a can of Budweiser, an American Airlines tix folder)are obscured or partially obliterated by movie makers or distributors. The practice appears to be something of an afterthought, considerably more common on video releases than theatre releases. What’s the reason for this? Certainly it does not occur at the insistence of the logo-owner; presumably they would welcome the free advertsising. Could it be that the moviemakers obscure logos out of spite precisely BECAUSE the logo owner was contacted and invited to fork over a few bucks for the “advertsising,” but refused? Does anyone think there is any serious risk that viewers will become confused by the logos and assume the movie characters to be “endorsing” certain products? Would a commerical interest demand that its logo not appear in a movie without permission? Why? What’s up with this peculiar practice?
Hmmm… I’ll bet that SOME companies would prefer their products NOT be seen in SOME movies because it would appear as an endorsement of the movie. This would explain the lack of logos in “controversial” movies anyway.
And yeah, I’ll bet in some instances “the moviemakers obscure logos out of spite precisely BECAUSE the logo owner was contacted and invited to fork over a few bucks for the ‘advertsising’, but refused.”
And to answer your other question: “Does anyone think there is any serious risk that viewers will become confused by the logos and assume the movie characters to be “endorsing” certain products?” Yes, I do. People are idiots.
It’s called “product placement” and is a thriving cottage industry within Hollywood. Manufacturers will pay to have the principal actors in a film use their products, ostensibly in a natural setting that does not appear contrived. It’s this practice which is lampooned effectively in The Truman Show.
As for the obscuring of logos, I’m inclined to think it would be done so as not to imply the manufacturer endorsed the film (especially in “controversial” cases), not the other way around. Most companies would be quite happy to accept free advertisement in mainstream media.
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
“Does anyone think there is any serious risk that viewers will become confused by the logos and assume the movie characters to be “endorsing” certain products?” Yes, I do. People are idiots.
Wall Street Journel did an article on this a few years ago. There was a running list of placement costs…the most expensive at that time being driving by a billboard.
And yes, one of the lowest costs was the product appearing out of focus.
If it’s a red & white beer can in the back you don’t really need to draw attention that it’s Bud.
This placement phenom really got a boost after the release of ET. All the kids figured out that the bait was Reese’s Pieces and not M & M’s.
Speaking of Reese’s Pieces and ET…
IIRC, the parent company for M&M’s turned down being in the movie, and the Reese’s folks wound up getting in on the action as a second choice.
Satan is correct. Mars turned to placement down. Hershey picked it up.
Another factor is the specific use in the film. There was a best-selling thriller in the 70’s or 80’s that involved terrorists hijacking a blimp at the Super Bowl. Back then, Goodyear’s blimps were about the only ones in the business, but in the cover art on the novel, although the color scheme made it clear that the Goodyear blimp was meant, the name was fictitious.
When a movie was made, of course, they had to go to Goodyear to get a real blimp. A deal was worked out whereby the Goodyear name was used as-is, but there were several provisos. One was that, in the climactic scene where the blimp explodes, the explosion had to visibly originate from a point outside the Goodyear logo.
John W. Kennedy
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