Re: Most annoying product-plugging in a movie!

From: David P. Hayes
Newsgroups: rec.arts.movies.past-films,alt.cult-movies
Date: Thursday, December 18, 1997 8:21 AM

Z wrote in message <>…
>…When you are distracted by
>product placement, it detracts … , It cheapens things. I remember
>watching a movie in which two people are having a heart-to-heart talk
>in their dining room. Right there on the table, in between them, is a
>big box of Dunkin Donuts. I'm thinking to myself, "Hey, that's some
>really gratuitous product placement" and it ruined my enjoyment of the
>scene… .

There is also a scene with Dunkin Donuts conspicuous in "Hardly Working" (1981) with Jerry Lewis. It takes place in an employment office, with Lewis being interviewed by a personnel manager. The donuts do not serve strictly as set dressing. The situation in the scene has Lewis distracted by the pastries in the box, he obviously hungering for them, so much so that he can't keep his eyes on the man who is to decide whether Lewis will get the job he has long needed. The personnel officer becomes so aware of Lewis's wandering eyes that the manager finally opts to offer a content from the box to the applicant, thus bringing the donuts into the conversation.

Just before this film was released, Jerry Lewis made an appearance after a screening of his film of "The Nutty Professor." The producer of "Hardly Working" introduced about twenty minutes of clips from the as-yet-unreleased "Hardly Working," then turned the floor over to Jerry. Members of the audience asked Lewis about both the 1963 feature film that had just been seen in its entirety and about the new film which had been represented by excerpts. One questioner asked Jerry about the conspicuous box imprinted with the Dunkin Donuts logo.

Lewis responded that that was a business decision. (That's not the exact term he used. The exact term was quoted in a newspaper account of the appearance, but if I saved it, it's not in the one file folder I considered the most likely for it to be in. I was in that audience, but my memory of both the event and the newspaper piece ceases to retain that detail.) Lewis said that twenty years earlier, he wouldn't have dared to have made that move, but that the cultural climate had changed.

Lewis went on to say that he and the movie company had made a deal with Dunkin Donuts to have display ads for "Hardly Working" placed in thousands of Dunkin Donuts stores. He may have mentioned package inserts with a picture from the movie, or a coupon that tied in with the film title; here, too, I recall something along those lines. Anyway, in exchange, Dunkin Donuts received screen time in the movie, and perhaps some tie-in associated with the television commercials for the movie.

David Hayes


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