FilmDrunk gives us A Brief History of Conspicuous Product Placement in Movies, which is nothing if not informative and interesting (and makes great use of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious”). Though I was at first skeptical, it seems that enough research went into this to prove that all these movies received payment for their inclusion of these products in the movie. Whether this goes into the budget or someone gets a cash payoff I’m not sure. But whether a company paid for their product to be put in a movie seems to define if that placement is “evil.”
While watching this video, all I could think about was the seminal 2001 movie classic, Josie and the Pussycats which centered around the idea of “art” being used to propagate a capitalist agenda. This issue as seen through the eyes of this film is discussed quite throughly (if a little too seriously) in this piece here.
Though it got some exceptionally poor reviews, it also prompted The A.V. Club to say, “Like many underrated satires, Josie And The Pussycats could easily be mistaken for its satirical subject. That Josie internalized and perfected the flashy, ADD-addled, rapid-cut MTV aesthetic it cheekily sent up made it either doubly subversive or deeply hypocritical.” They called it a “secret success”, which I’d definitely agree with. In this film, product placement is a gag, so overboard it becomes ridiculous. None of the advertisers paid for their appearance in the film (it might have actually broken even at the box office if they had), and thus they were probably just pleased to be involved. Or maybe not, as it made everyone look a little obscene.
The cast is what really pulls together the film. The Pussycats are fine, but it’s Alan Cummings and Parker Posey as the evil manager and CEO of their record company, respectively, that throughly entertain. Paulo Costanzo plays their original manager (he’s the saving grace of Royal Pains, and Josh Hartnett’s roommate in 40 Days and 40 Nights). And the absolute BEST are Du Jour, who, if they were a real band, would have me as their biggest fan. They are made up by Donald Faison, Seth Green, Breckin Meyer, and some other dude I don’t really care about. I could definitely talk on and on about this movie, but it’s all been said, and I need to go watch it now.