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November 8, 2010 7:31 PM   Subscribe

How can I find out who invested in certain movies and how much they invested? I am trying to find out where the product placements are coming from in movies. Right now I'm working on Wayne Wang's 'Smoke', but also want to find this kind of information for other films.

Secondarily, I would welcome any personal information or unique resources on product placements in regards to creating narrative and the psychology of persuasion. By personal and unique, I mean some more uncommon things that you might have come across over the years and not something that will come up in general research.
posted by Knigel to Society & Culture (11 answers total)
I don't think a payment for an ad would be considered "investing in" a movie or funding the movie, even if you could find a list of people funding a movie.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:39 PM on November 8, 2010

Yes, you might be right. I should have said sponsors or who paid for advertising.
posted by Knigel at 7:47 PM on November 8, 2010

according to a neilson study - 62% of gamers prefer in game advertising. it is seen as more immersive than having things like "Acme Cola" or what have you.
posted by nadawi at 7:53 PM on November 8, 2010

A lot of the time, it's done more because it's easier for the crew of the film (especially the props department). Much easier to cut a deal and have the ability to use coke, apple products, etc. than go out of your way to disguise logos or mock up fake product packaging.

I don't know that it's necessarily done anymore because it will make money for the production - though usually the items you want to use are free. (Ask me about the case of some obscure iced tea beverage under my kitchen sink.) That said, I don't work at the level of film production where those deals are ironed out. I do know, though, that one of the TV networks I've worked with in the past does not allow product placement - I can't imagine the company would have that policy if they stood to make a ton of cash.
posted by Sara C. at 8:08 PM on November 8, 2010

Also, as far as I'm aware it is not typically done in order to persuade people to use a product. There are some notable exceptions: a fancy watch promo-ed in a James Bond movie which you can actually buy from Tag Heuer, A car featured in The Fast And The Furious XVI which is being rolled out to coincide with the release of the film, stuff like that. But usually a bag of Doritos is just a bag of Doritos.
posted by Sara C. at 8:13 PM on November 8, 2010

Sorry to monopolize the thread, but I thought of one more thing.

If you are doing some sort of scholarly research on product placement, one source to turn to might be the book that Jane Hamsher wrote about the film Natural Born Killers, Killer Instinct. Among many, many other things, she discusses the way that her fellow producer Don Murphy used product placement in order to get tons of free stuff that actually did heavily influence their ability to bring the film in on budget. Including an anecdote about a key scene where Juliette Lewis' character gives Woody Harrelson's character a hand job under a prison visiting room table and then takes a big swig out of a prominently featured can of coke.

If that's not fodder for your question, I don't know what is.
posted by Sara C. at 8:54 PM on November 8, 2010

I did some copywriting for a firm that pioneered this sort of thing: Norm Marshall Associates. You may be able to glean something from that link.
posted by notyou at 9:56 PM on November 8, 2010

uh - i'm pretty sure it makes money for the production and that it's used to increase brand awareness. just because all depictions aren't utterly flattering doesn't mean they are ignoring the marketing benefits. i know my link is about video games, but the same principle applies - those questions about brand opinion and such - it's to find out if that sort of marketing works.
posted by nadawi at 11:02 PM on November 8, 2010

"But jokes puncture as much as they exorcise, and Wayne’s World’s most daring moment brings its hypocrisy out in the open. It’s not just the one aforementioned scene that tries to worm its way out of corporate sponsorship by calling attention to the sponsorship itself—Wayne’s entire world is organized according to similar pressures. The blatant product placements masquerading as satire of product placement (compare this scene to Repo Man’s spoof on corporate sponsorship wherein a supermarket is stocked with generic brands like “Beer”) are just the most obvious symptom: Tia Carrere’s presence as Wayne’s love interest was forged as part of a deal between Reprise Records and Paramount Pictures for the former to release the film’s soundtrack if only a groomed, potential star from its roster could use Wayne’s World as a promotional vehicle."
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:49 AM on November 9, 2010

You may also find this brand cameo list useful. (Scroll down.)
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:52 AM on November 9, 2010

Tia Carrere’s presence as Wayne’s love interest was forged as part of a deal between Reprise Records and Paramount Pictures for the former to release the film’s soundtrack if only a groomed, potential star from its roster could use Wayne’s World as a promotional vehicle.

Soundtracks, and various deals between media companies about casting and how various products related to the marketing of the film should be positioned, are not really a part of product placement. It's all an aspect of marketing, yes, and some product placement is also conceived of from a marketing standpoint.

But there's a huge difference between, for example, having a child play with Legos (because the script called for this, or because the script called for the child to be playing with some toy and Lego was part of a bundled package of product placed options*), and having Lego work with the film's production team to create aspects of the film they think would make good merchandising tie-ins.

*these are both the most common instances that placement will come up, from my lowly experience within the bowels of a production.
posted by Sara C. at 9:21 AM on November 9, 2010

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