Poll: Are Product Placements a Distraction?

a friend of mine was telling me the other night that she couldn’t stand The Italian job because she felt like she was watching a glossy Mini Cooper ad.

Usually product placement doesn’t bother me unless it really jars the flow of the tv show or movie I’m watching. And sometimes the generic crap they use instead is just annoying and stupid looking.

What do you guys think about these commecials within a movie? Is it getting to be too much?

If the product place calls attention to itself, then it is jarring. The Italian Job didn’t bother me, since the use of the cars was integral to the plot. But if someone is obviously holding up a brand name item for all to see, then it’s obnoxious.

Product placements don’t really bother me as long as they are not done to excess. I’d also not mind it as much if the products are placed somewhat more haphazardly (e.g. the label isn’t always prominently facing the viewer head-on). This would look more natural.

What does bothers me more than anything else is when a brand name not intended to be presented as a product placement, is either blurred out or the image is reversed in order to obscure the logo, as if we couldn’t read mirrored lettering. This mostly appears on TV shows, rarely, if ever in a movie.

That bothers me more than actual brands that I know. Seeing a familiar red and white soda can labeled “Poca-Cola” is more distracting than seeing a regular old Coke can.
Of course, this only happens on TV shows.

This is my thinking exactly, almost word-for-word. Although I though Castaway was average at best, I didn’t agree with everyone that complained about FedEx - sure, he could have worked for DHL, or another unnamed package delivery company, but I didn’t think it took anything away from the plot.

On the flipside, the best example for me is the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair. At one point, Rene Russo opens a Pepsi Free, holds the logo so that the audience can read it clearly, then the entire movie halts while she drinks the entire things as fast as she can. Totally, utterly distracting and irritating, and even detracted from the plot, since she is shown in other scenes to only like this nasty green health drink.

Everybody should watch This Movie. And then go get sushi and not pay for it.

28 Days Later and Pepsi, to mention one that I recently saw. I hate it when product placements are so blatant. Here’s part of a review that turns up on the first result from a google search on “28 Days Later Pepsi”

**Jim wanders the hospital halls, and then stops for about 30 seconds to guzzle down a can of Pepsi. He does a bit more wandering, and then stops in front of a Pepsi machine. There are tons of other products placed in the film, but it is Pepsi that really stands out. *28 Days Later … And All that Remains is Pepsi. *

After drinking Pepsi, and looking at Pepsi machines, and passing a few more Pepsi signs, Jim makes his way outdoors.**
From: http://www.juicycerebellum.com/200325.htm

The product placements in Wayne’s World were great, though. “Nuprin. Little. Yellow. Different.”

No, product placement doesn’t bother me. In fact, I rarely notice it.

The Italian Job is a different story. The Minis weren’t product placement - they were an homage to the original movie, which also used minis. Perhaps you had to be a movie buff to know this, but really not much of one.

The best product placement was in Return of the Killer Tomatos. At first, all you see is black and white generic cans (like in Repo Man). At one point, the director comes out and says they can’t finish the movie because of a lack fo funds.

George Clooney (in a role he’s probably fogotten about) says they should stop showing the generic stuff and start making some money by showing real products.

Then follows a scene where they keep talking about products and showing them to the camera.

When they’re obvious, they really distract me. If they’re just obvious enough to be noticed (which is the point), it’ll often cross my mind that it’s product placement.

Wayne’s World’s product placement spoof was fucking hilarious. Ironic, then, that the worst product placement I ever saw was in Austin Powers, a movie with the same star.

If you count music promos in TV shows, then yeah, they’re a distraction. You can always tell when Smallville, for example, is pushing its artist du jour, as the music gets inappropriately loud for the scene. It’s as though the characters are having their private discussion right next to the stereo speakers; you feel like they should be shouting their lines in order to be heard.

Indeed. The use of Minis in the original was not product placement as the original movie was made at the heart of the swinging sixties (released in 1969), of which the mini is quite simply an icon. It position in the film was a celebration of the movement.

The generic placements are by far more distracting. “Diet Cola” on a can that is obviously Diet Coke. Pouring beer into a cup when it would be much more in character to drink it from the can. That sort of stuff.

If they’re obvious, then yes. If someone is going to hold a can of what even looks to be a soda I recognize, I’m going to look at it. And then, I’m going to play “find the advertisement” for five minutes. Oh, and this is how I justify downloading movies.

I suppose the lesson we’re supposed to learn is that Pepsi is so foul, even deranged zombies won’t go near the stuff!

Generally speaking, I kinda like product placement- but mainly because I’ve never thought of them as advertising. I like to see people eating Chex at the breakfast table, or drinking a Dr. Pepper while they want for the Dart- I mean, that’s real; that’s what I see everyday in real life.

Product names are all around me in the “real world” - so when I see a PlayStation hooked up to the TV on “Everybody Loves Raymond” or whatnot it doesn’t strike me as an ad or “product placement,” but rather as a touch of realism to a fictional world.

What’s great about the use of the Mini Coopers in the original The Italian Job is that, according to the producer, they passed on a great product placement opportunity when they made it. Fiat offered them all the Fiat cars they could use and destroy, several sports cars that were needed for the film, and $50,000 to use supercharged Fiat 500s instead of Mini Coopers. They refused because they wanted a “Brits vs. the Continent” feel to the caper and the plot. Fiat saw a marketing opportunity that no one else did at the time.

Overall I’d rather see real products just for believabilty sake, but the kind of overt in-your-face product placement others have mentioned annoys me. Or worse like the Jackie Chan racing flick Thunderbolt, where the whole film seemed like a commercial for Mitsubishi. I know Jackie has had a long association with the company and they have cars in many of his films, but that was ridiculous.

The altered or lookalike logos on products on TV just draw attention to themselves with their fakeness. Like when a character opens a yellow beer can with the word “Beer” in the style of the Coors logo. I like to say they’re drinking “Beer brand beer”.

The only time product placement has really annoyed me was in the modern-day Hamlet starring Ethan Hawke.

When he first appears, the Ghost of Hamlet’s father fades away right in front of a Pepsi machine. Hamlet also delivered “to be or not to be” in a video store (which fit this interpretation), which was obviously a Blockbuster (which was bad). Way too obvious and clumsy.

IT was a bit wayy to overplayed with his anality of pushing the FEDEX way with teh FEDEX shipments and the FEDEX next day deliveries. Of course what really made me vomit was when Wilson Sports came out with the castaway volleyball.

Oh, and most distracting product placement…Spaceballs anyone? :smiley:

My favorite product placement ever would have to be the cans of Calumet Baking powder (with giant Native American visage, complete with headdress) inside the dry goods storeroom of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining.