8 November 2005

Smoke alarm

'The Australian' reported today that 40% of American kids who try cigarettes do it because they saw it in a movie. A Dartmuth Medical School study, described as the first national examination of the influence on youths of smoking in movies, urges Hollywood to cut back in depictions of smoking in movies.

I remember years go when I was teaching Media Studies students about the concept of product placement, their first reaction was to disbelieve that such a thing existed. Once I had convinced them that it did, mainly through a demonstration of the most outrageous examples of disguised advertising that I could find (like Marlboro advertising in ‘Superman II’), their next reaction was to say basically so what?

I had a lot of trouble getting over the idea that such a thing was potentially corrupting, both of a film or a TV show’s credibility as an artistic enterprise, and of the people and companies that made them.

I think of them every time I see characters in movies or TV shows light up, because I’m absolutely certain that more people in movies are shown smoking than is the case in every day life. I know that the studios do deals with cigarette companies to pad their budgets, and the cigarette companes look to enterprises like Hollywood movies and reality TV shows to sell their product, especially as more and more avenues of traditional advertising are closing to them.


I am the Queen of F*%&ING EVERYTHNG...OK!! said...

I hate gratuitous product placemnt in films and shows.

Crritic! said...

The worst is stuff like Big Brother, where the whole concept is product placement through mobile phone voting. Even the furniture the 'stars' sit on are essentially advertisements.

Anonymous said...

I have sat on a panel with someone from AFTRS saying that we should do PRODUCT PLACEMENT IN DOCUMENTARIES.

I wanted him to die. Someone in the audience told him to go back to America.

Just to really piss me off, this character earns more in a year than I do in three.

- barista

Crritic! said...

It is an honour indeed to be visited by one of the best bloggers anywhere. Bless your coffee-stained hands Barista.

"Product placement" and "documentary" are mutually exclusive concepts. I fear the day they get together.