Monday, May 18, 2009

Star Trek: The Product Placement Experience

My wife and I went to see Star Trek again today, this time with some friends, and my assessment of it hasn't changed one bit since last week: good summer action flick, but not a Star Trek movie. (it's a pretty one-dimensional film - there isn't room in this speed-binge of a story for nuances requiring more than one viewing to notice or understand)

One thing I noticed last time that I tried to keep track of this time was product placement. In Trek, the blatent display of the 20th/21st century products in the 23rd century shows the lengths Hollywood will go to offset the cost of a film, even when it's not reasonable to claim that those products would still be around in 200-odd years, after a couple of fairly significant global wars and occasional economic slumps. I've counted four fairly obvious ones:

1) Corvette (sure, it's vintage, but still a good plug for the car brand)
2) Nokia (the brand of cell phones/car phones preferred by delinquent young galactic heroes)
3) Budweiser (you'd think in the future they'd drink good beer - sadly, it appears they don't)
4) Jack Daniels (can't fault them for this choice, really)

Does the old Beastie Boys song Sabotage count as a product plug? Maybe, if song/album sales suddenly go up as a result of the movie.

I wasn't sure whether Kirk & Sulu's parachute packs had brand names on them.

Any other product placement shots I missed?

In the end, Yogurt was only half right in Mel Brooks' Spaceballs when he said: "Merchandizing, merchandizing, merchandizing! Where the real money from the movie is made!" A big chunk of the coin comes from selling screen time for product placement.

Also, for another take on the new Trek film, check out my friend Steve Rowe's review.

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