Re: Most annoying product-plugging in a movie! / addendum re Back to the Future

From: David P. Hayes
Newsgroups: rec.arts.movies.past-films,alt.cult-movies
Date: Tuesday, December 16, 1997 1:39 PM

Z wrote in message <>…
>On Sat, 13 Dec 1997 16:39:42 -0800, "David P. Hayes"
><> wrote:
>>My understanding is that the manufacturers of the nonexistent products did
>>not pay placement fees. The moviemakers decided what the future items might
>>looked like and sought logo clearances without money changing hands.
>Your understanding? You mean you actually read that somewhere?

In the Greater Los Angeles area, where I live, the newspapers cover the movie business in more detail than they do elsewhere. Even smaller papers, alternative newspapers, and major college newspapers can score an interview with a big Hollywood name such as "Future"-trilogy director Robert Zemeckis, so eventually one of the interviews will bring up the subject of products in "Back to the Future Part II." Again, it's been said by a maker of that film that the nonexistent products did not end up in the movie as a consequence of payment.

>The product placement of Pizza Hut does not berate it enough to keep
>the placement from being valuable. The value in product placement is
>not in whether it is placed attractively, it is in the "building of
>awareness of the product." That is the main goal of most advertising.
>Making the product look nifty and attractive is only secondary.

In your argument, you seem to be take for granted that placement of a brand name in the movie (a consequence) is to be taken as evidence that a manufacturer sought that placement so as to build awareness (the seeking necessarily having preceded the placement). This reasoning rests upon the fallacy of arguing from a conclusion. Other actions (e.g. independent decision of Zemeckis, et al) could lead to the same consequence.

Manufacturers don't always spring for opportunities to have their products showcased in movies. M&M/Mars had had the opportunity for M&Ms to be the candy used to create the backtrack trail in "E.T.," but declined. (Reportedly, they would have had to pay $50,000--a paltry amount compared to the cost of a single national television commercial.) Instead, Reese's Pieces became the candy in the hands of the child in the movie, and M&M/Mars found that a rival developed into a major competitor thereafter.

David Hayes


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