The magic of product placement is that a company who wants to market it’s product in a manner other than that of a TV/radio commercial or print ad can do so by assaulting the art (or lack thereof) found in film. All they have to do is shell out a butt load of money to those making the film, provide the product, and then boom, there you go. Tom Cruise wears your sunglasses while performing that strange looking run of his. The Avengers are beating the bad guys up in front of your company headquarters. Harold and Kumar are eating your burgers. James Bond is drinking your beer instead of his signature vodka martini. George Lopez has attached his name to a butt plug.
It obviously works.
Product placement, that is.
If it didn’t, we wouldn’t be subjected to it as much as we are.
Consider the movie Transformers.
When the movie came out, it was absolutely littered with GM products. The company hadn’t gone under yet, but was well on its way. In the process, they introduced the retro Camaro which wouldn’t be available for what seemed like a few more years.
By the end of that flick and all of its cheesy ass dialogue, bad acting, and wanton destruction of buildings by various vehicles (still in bad taste in post 9/11 America), the Camaro offered an avenue for GM to avoid what would be its inevitable undoing. Sure the product placement was good, but GM failed to exploit it to its full potential.
Perhaps one of the more goofy ass examples of product placement (I’m getting tired of typing that, so I’m going to call it PP for now) coming to light takes place in what’s sure to be a blockbuster Christmas release this year.
I’m talking about The Hobbit.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy was a visually stunning series of movies, and I enjoyed them. I’m sure they veered away from the books in there own little way. Sadly, I’ve had terrible bouts with severe narcolepsy whenever I’ve attempted to read the works of JRR Tolkien in the past. As a result, I have to rely on the films to enjoy the story.
I expect the same of the Hobbit. There’s something about a long ass, unexpected journey which makes you just want to sit down with your brothers in arms at the end of the adventure and reflect back on everything that happened.
My short lived days of bar hopping in central Wyoming weren’t much different when I had the inability to shut my trap when challenged by a surly Marine or two who chose to pick a fight with me over Lord knows what.
But that’s a different blog for a different time. The cool thing about the bar hopping my buddies and I did was the fact that we would go to some coffee shop afterward to sober up and collect whatever wits our 19 year old bodies ever possessed.
The coffee shop we hit the most was Denny’s.
It would seem, ladies and gentlemen, that Bilbo, Gandalf, and their diminutive yet belligerent friends will stop at Denny’s once all is said and done.
Gandalf will order a Grand Slam breakfast and Bilbo (that with a ‘B’) will sample the basket of ‘All that is Fried’ with dipping sauces like marinara and buttermilk ranch.
Bilbo could tell the story about how he met a pale emaciated fellow who wore nothing but a butt flap loin cloth and a major case of codependence for a piece of jewelry.
Yeah, it could happen.
Put very simply, there is no way on God’s green Earth that any Hobbit, Dwarf, Elf, Orc, Goblin, or other freak worth their Middle Earth born salt would ever darken the doors of Denny’s.
You know the Elvish lettering on the ring in that movie, don’t you? It translates to “Drop me into the fires of Mordor before dragging my ass to a Denny’s”.
Easy as that.
You go to Denny’s to discuss the Marines that just tried to start a fight with you in the bar at a Hilton Inn in central Wyoming.
To celebrate an unexpected journey that’s destined to break records for Christmas releases, you’ve just gotta hit a Hooters.