When you think about advertisements, you probably would link it to ads on TVs, or ads on billboards next to the roads, or even advertisements on the Youtube video you just watched, but when speaking of ads, I bet you would never have thought of advertisements in cinema, that companies actually pay the movies to include their products in the film.
This was something mind-boggling to me when I first knew about it in grade 10 film studies class, while we were watching Tom Cruise’s 2002 movie Minority Report. In the film, there were specific brands, such as Lexus or Guinness that appeared in it. I thought they appeared there only because of a coincidence that the director could use any other brands too, like Toyota or like Budweizer. But our teacher quickly paused on one of the shots of the vehicles, pointing out that Lexus had paid the production to include their brand in the video, in order to advertise their own brand, even though the vehicle was not even a present Lexus car, but a futuristic one made just for the movie. I was fascinated by this previous unnoticed detail on movies, kind of shocked that even in movies, companies would try to promote their own brands, sort of a reach in my opinion, but nevertheless very interesting.
Now I realized the amount of work behind the production of a film that I previously did not know of. This changed how I normally viewed a movie. I realized after that class, I started to focus more on the little things, especially looking at what brands were included in different movies, and are these advertisements noticeable enough to help advertise the brand in a movie? Or are these brands all advertisements in movies. Some examples I’ve found are such of the KFC used in the Academy’s newest best movie, Gree
n Book. They used a KFC bucket in one of their scenes, even showing the KFC store in its ancient form – with printed letters and no logo for their store name and the looks of a restaurant in the 1960s when the movie was set.
I realized that the use of KFC could be a point to establish the time the movie is set in, to establish the accuracy of the movie so it might not be used as an ad, but to provide context for the rest of the movie.
This again made me think, what usage of brand names are actually ads, as some may not be used as ads. This side of advertisements is barely ever noted online, so it is hard to find anything about the subjects.
Overall, I feel like this use of advertisements in movies is a reflection of mass media nowadays, even when it is not used as ads, it does in a way promote the brand, relating back to the aspect of being an advertisement, kind of how brands are everywhere promoting their brand in instances when they do not intend to do so. So keep this in the back of your mind when you watch a movie, and maybe you will notice a small advertisement in a movie.