May 5, 2004

Pinnacles of Product Placement

Perhaps you've heard about or seen the previews for Steven Spielberg's new movie with Catherine Zeta Jones and Tom Hanks called Terminal? Cinecultist had noted that the romance is set in an airport, but had not yet got our mind around the product placement potential from shooting a movie inside a place that already acts as one big commercial. This article in Reuter's today, about all the chain retailers thrilled to be asked to spend thousands of dollars to replicate their stores for a mock up of JFK airport built in southern California on the chance that they'll get some face time in the movie, gave Cinecultist a fright.

The premise of the flick is that Hanks, through various political issues, ends up stranded without a country in JFK airport where he falls in love with an United Airlines stewardess, Zeta-Jones. Some of the stores they used to fill the space the set designers approached you know to give it that "authentic" corporate feel while other came to the movie makers asking to be included. Then "each of the brands had a team of store architects, merchandisers and setup managers on hand to ensure that the sets conformed to their standardized layouts and design." They even gave the extras playing, say a Starbucks barista, that corporation's training. So they'd look like real employees. Because that's where CC'd be looking for realism.

A particularly choice bit of corporate fawning:

One possible disadvantage of having so many brands appear in "Terminal" is that it might be difficult for any of the retailers to stand out, says Mark Workman, president and CEO of First Fireworks Group. But still, the film is likely to produce at least one or two magical moments that take place in a retail outlet and leave a lasting impression in consumers' minds, he says.

Posted by karen at May 5, 2004 8:36 AM