May 17th, 2003

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02:16 pm - on the existence of advertising...
I saw Matrix Reloaded last night. Since everyone else in the free world is offering their thoghts on it right now, I will spare you mine for now (though I reserve the right to come back to it in the future if the need strikes) and instead talk about something of inevitable more importance.

1000 Words of Free Flowing Hostility on Advertising in Movies

Now, I’m not going to go so far as to completely reject the premise of advertising and commercials. Unlike the rest of my TiVo brethren, I understand its purpose, and its usefulness in the world. In point of fact, I sometimes use the TiVo to rewind and rewatch certain commercials that I particularly enjoy. Key in point being the miraculous Ode to the Wingman commercial that I have discussed here before. I have all of ther Terry Tate Officelineback commercials saved on my harddrive. Simply put, I like commercials. I even acknowledge the place of ads on the Internet. My biggest problem with Intenet ads isn’t that they exist, its that most of them are just stupid. How come there are no that have the equivalent flair of a where’s the beef lady, or a 1984 apple commercial? Why are there no fashionable copper rivets? A fucking pink bunny with a drum? Advertising is important. When I was growing up, my father was a newscaster and my mother worked for Proctor & Gamble. Simply speaking, commercials paid the bills. Advertising is important in Internet land for free. It costs money to run that T-1 you download your pr0n from, geekboy. Besides, everytime you click a banner ad, an angel gets its wings.

The problem is Internet ads are lame, and that’s why I don’t like them.

Yesterday, I came to the conclusion that movie theater ads are lame too.

See, movies are different than television. First of all, TV, at least in this country, is free… for the most part anyway. I might pay for the electricity or for the satellite or cable bill, but very little of that money trickles down to the actual content providers (except in the fringe cases of premium content providers like HBO or Showtime and Pay-Per-View events like Boxing or Wrestling… but even in those cases, dedicated advertisements are generally either eliminated, or limited to self-promotion). TV is free, so I accept that I pay for it with my eyes and time. I have the same understanding for websites. Movies aren’t free. Movies cost me $8.25. I have paid to see them and so I don’t have the expectation that I will be paying in other ways. I have paid to not have to deal with that. If I pay for membership to a website, I don’t want to be inundated with pop-up and banner ads. I actually have a similar wish for magazines and comic books. Given that I pay for them, I would like there to be less advertisements. I suppose there are comics and magazines with no ads and those tend to cost more, so there is an obvious trade-off here. Publishers are striking a balance, and in the magazines I read, I suppose I am willing to accept that balance.

The other primary difference at work here is format. Movies look better than TV. They are on giant screens and a lot of money is put into producing them. This makes the ads look even stupider. I have much lower expectations of things that I see on TV in my little home theater room, so I can sit back and have a field day laughing at a guy singing about the wingman or two girls cat fighting in a fountain over whether something is less filling or tastes great. But comparatively, seeing some putz who isn’t Hugo Weaving trying to pretend he’s part of the Matrix mythos in order to pimp Powerade just comes across as stupid and annoying and makes me not want to try the beverage at all. And don’t even get me started on the stupid smoking-is-bad-for-you-fake-romantic-drama ad. I wanted to light a smoke up right there just in the name of spite. Then there is the join the marines and be an action hero ad. Actually I really like that ad. I’ve always had a thing for the marines’ ads. They kick the crap out of the army’s ads. But it just seems so much less exciting in a movie theater caked between the action sequences of the new Charlies Angels movie and the 138 minute fight sequence that is Matrix Reloaded. Why even try? Suddenly the marines come across as pansies. They don’t dodge bullets, they don’t jump out of a windows on the 65th floor of a skycrapers. They don’t even fight ninjas. Even Drew Barrymore can fight ninjas. The marines are fucking wimps. Why would I want to join them? See, I don’t have that problem when I see that commercial during Friends or a football game or even an old Bruce Lee movie. I see the commercial and I’m like “woah dude! Rock climbing! Gun! Fucking magic swords! Where do I sign up?” I was all set to join and now they’ve lost me. I’m going to be a super hacker freedom fighter instead. Or maybe one of Charlie’s Angels.

Ok, some commercials belong in the movies. I like trailers for other movies. They tell me what I’m going to be seeing next. I accept the usefulness of the Fandango commercial, though I think the current Fandango commercial is a lot less cool than the old Fandango commercial, but without them, how would we have known about the Fandango, and how would we have gotten tickets to see this movie? But you know what, these ads are targeted towards me. “Hey, you know what? These people are in a movie theater! I bet they like buying movie tickets! Tell them about the Fandango.” “You know what else, they must like action movies cuz they’re coming to see one right now. Tell them about new Charlies Angels and Fast and Furious films.” “Oh, and I bet you they like to drink stuff so we can sale them Powerade. And they breathe so we can ask them not to smoke, and they’re in America so we can ask them to defend it.” BZZZTT!!!!

Current Mood: [mood icon] bitchy
Current Music: 30 минут (Moscow Grooves Institute remix) by Тату

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

on the existence of advertising... - graffiti.maverick — LiveJournal

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[User Picture]From: cupcakepirate Date: May 17th, 2003 - 11:39 am (Link)
When you said you were writing "on advertising in movies," I thought you were going to say that there was too much product placement in the The Matrix. I was going to discuss how ridiculous product placement in the Matrix would be (i.e. puts down the machine gun to taste a nice, satisfying Coke), but then I remembered a commercial I saw last night at the opening of "Cremaster 3:" it was some sort of Palm Pilot-y gadget "as seen in the upcoming Tombraider film."

Anyway, I completely agree about the inappropriateness of many pre-movie commercials. Was there actually product placement in the Matrix? There had to be.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: May 17th, 2003 - 12:46 pm (Link)
there's always product placement. That doesn't really bother me, so long as it isn't disruptive to the story. I would have gotten into product placement, but I like to limit my little essays to 1000 words (its kinda my gimmick) and I ran out of space.

Anyway, nice to meet you, how did you find me?
[User Picture]From: inmostlight Date: May 17th, 2003 - 03:59 pm (Link)
I like how every single time there's a new James Bond movie, there are a ton of stupid opinion articles about how it's full of name dropping advertising and that's going to ruin the series. Because really, it's only been in the past few years that James Bond has preferred to drive certain cars, or drink specific vodkas, or prefer one kind of gun...certainly the original books had none of that shamelessness.
[User Picture]From: georgejas Date: May 17th, 2003 - 07:40 pm (Link)
mmm, mr. cranky had a lot to say about die another day - it got an atomic bomb. i haven't seen it though.
From: sumnerhayes Date: May 19th, 2003 - 03:04 pm (Link)
I like how every single time there's a new James Bond movie, there are a ton of stupid opinion articles about how it's full of name dropping advertising and that's going to ruin the series.

Knowing your brands and being picky about them adds to that debonaire Bond image. One of the 13 Bond commandments in Fleming's notebook (things Bond always insisted on) was "See the brand name on the bottle." In Fleming's first book (Casino Royale) Bond specified the brands of vermouth (actually a lillet instead of a vermouth) and gin but left the vodka to the whim of the mixer: "Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?"

See e.g. for more favorite Bond brands (by the books and by the movies)

it's only been in the past few years that James Bond has preferred to drive certain cars

Aston-Martin DB5! From Goldfinger and Thunderball. I don't mind updating to newer models as the years passed, but switching to a Beamer was poor--luckily A-M got him back.

or drink specific vodkas

Smirnoff had sponsored placement in Dr No (the very first film) and every film until the recent switch to Finlandia. When Bond is drugged in The Living Daylights the poison is slipped into a Stolichnaya drink--the bad guys often serve Stoli instead of Smirnoff in the movies.

or prefer one kind of gun

The Walther PPK is there in the books and movies, too.

[User Picture]From: cupcakepirate Date: May 17th, 2003 - 07:01 pm (Link)


Yah, product placement is fine, when appropriate. If you haven't, don't see it, but Josie & the Pussycats is the worst movie ever made. They made a movie about product placement. The horrible amounts of product placement seem to be there for Irony's sake, but you can't seem to escape it.

Nice to meet you, too. :) I found you on Photoshoppe. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 18th, 2003 - 03:40 am (Link)
Well, for one, the bike that Trinity stole was very obviously a Ducati (because it said so on its side). Also, everyone used that dorky Samsung "official Matrix phone". I know GM or someone donated 300 cars to be crashed up in the highway sequence. Given that the films are basically anti-materialist (the central premise is the fight to reject a lifestyle of hallucinatory consumption), it'd be hard to place many products in a favorable way. Then again, the obnoxious sports-drink ad wasn't exactly a positive depiction either.

[User Picture]From: nowishere Date: May 18th, 2003 - 01:56 pm (Link)
This discussion makes the same lateness that made me have to watch the whole film distorted and pain-inducing from the front row seem almost worth it to have missed these commercials. Next time though, maybe I'll get a seat first and go buy popcorn during that stuff, instead of driving around lost.
From: ludimagist Date: May 17th, 2003 - 10:22 pm (Link)
My big problem with movie theater ads is that they should make movie tickets cheaper, but do not. Considering how much it must cost to sell that screentime, and considering the captive audience factor, and how that industry works, it could in fact make sense for advertisments to subsidize the price of tickets, and bring more people to the movies more often. That is aside from product placement, product placement I see as an entirely different thing used to subsidize production.

Speaking of the Matrix however, I just came home from seeing it, and while overall I enjoyed it, I had many problems with a lot of the fights. Not the coolness factor of them (as a side note, I trained under one of the stunt coordinators once, he rocked, but the internal logic of them as relating to the rules they created within the storyline.

On another note, I think I can tell you how the third one will go. I read my mythology books. There are some good storytelling tricks here.

The Matrix/Powerade commercial though... that is pretty cool
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: May 17th, 2003 - 11:48 pm (Link)
Yeah, I have a lot of theories about the direction of the third film. I guess we don't have too long to wait to see how it plays out.

You liked the Powerade thing? Really? I hated it.
From: ludimagist Date: May 20th, 2003 - 11:29 am (Link)
The powerade thing had this whole inside joke coolness to it for me, and I liked that it was obnoxious.

The third film will be Neo being the one "One" who breaks the cycle. We saw this in him not taking the choice they expected him to and in his last conscious act of the movie. The theme of the next one will be that we are all free and that there is no predestination. I have specific plot structure things that I predict, but I'm not sure if I wanna do that till the movie's been out longer and more people have seen it so I'm not spoiling anything.

I had some serious issues w some of the fights though, the Neo of the end of the first movie would not have been hit by much of the crap that was setting him back in this one. Still cool visually, but dramatically illogical.

The fact that they were able to pull an "everything you know is wrong" two movies in a row was impressive though. They kind of hinted it a little too hard this time, but it was nicely done.

The way Agent Smith was handled in this one also bugged me, esp the really unclear moment w the phone that wasn't really settled till the end.

Ah well.

I am glad the third one is soon.

Any AniMatrix fans out there?

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