Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Product placement in Star Wars prequels

How to get brands into the Star Wars universe... sort of
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It is common practice these days to plave conspicuously branded products in films as a marketing tool. Hollywood studios have product placement departments which handle placement deals, and in turn actors are clad in brand-name clothes, drinking brand-name coffee and using brand-name computers to save the world.

Unfortunately for this industry, product placement does not translate well into the Star Wars universe, and consequently they have to miss out on one of the most lucrative marketing opportunities in history: the Star Wars prequels, with their guaranteed massive audience.

One way around this would be to backdate corporate logos and products into ancient, archetypal symbols of virtues and powers. Take, for example, Nike. If Jedi knights were shown to be wearing Air Jordans during their lightsaber duels, it would look ridiculously cheesy. However, if they are wearing custom footwear which looks like a stylised, otherworldly equivalent of Nike sneakers, it would work. Similarly, the Nike logo on Jedi robes would be too blatant, but imagine if there were a series of ancient glyphs representing Jedi virtues: a narrow triangle pointing up-and-right for excellence, a happy curved line for harmony, and so on. These glyphs would just happen to combine into elements of the Nike logo, a point which could be omitted from the movie and brought home in ads.

Other sponsors could be brought on board similarly; our heroes could stop to eat in a red-and-yellow alien eatery shaped like a golden arch; looking nothing like McDonalds, but imprinting the salient features of the McDonalds logo on the minds of viewers, to better associate the movie franchise with the fast-food franchise. Apple could be brought in with a computer-screen/HUD layout modelled on the Macintosh (icons down the right, bar up the top), albeit with different elements, and possibly an altered version of the Mac startup sound emanating from the fantastic machine.

The good thing about this approach is that it avoids a backlash. Those sufficiently cynical to see through this would already be opposed to the Star Wars franchise, and in fact would probably be making sarcastic suggestions about the prequels on web sites, so there would be no loss incurred.

acb, Mar 29 2001


       [insert Jar Jar bashing here]
centauri, Mar 29 2001

       If nothing else, the light sabres should have the halfbakery logo on the handle.
DrBob, Mar 29 2001

       If you think about it, Star Wars is one big product placement for Star Wars products.
centauri, Mar 29 2001

       You are right centauri, in more ways than one....   

       If you have a large enough TV, and a good VCR, you can see something quite interesting in 'A New Hope':   

       The rebel cruiser at the beginning actually has a movie poster for A New Hope in the cockpit -- you can see it through the window.
Wes, Mar 29 2001

       I've heard of that, but I won't have that kind of hardware until the three sequels are released (ie. never).   

       By the way, there is that urban legend about a bored ship choreographer who placed a shoe in a climactic Return of the Jedi space battle. I wonder what brand it's supposed to be.
centauri, Mar 29 2001

       Pizza The Hut
thumbwax, Mar 30 2001

       The David Mamet comedy/satire "State and Main" has a product placement puzzle as one of many problems dogging a near-bankrupt movie production. The movie: A 19th century romance in New England. The only product placement sponsor available: an e-business site named "bazoomer.com".
jutta, Mar 30 2001

       Maybelline or Avon really missed a chance when they didn't have Darth Makeup bust out with a compact and touch up his mug, while waiting behind those goofy force fields...
StarChaser, Mar 31 2001

       jutta, if only they staged their romance on Mars. They could have been sponsored by barsoomer.com.
DrBob, Mar 31 2001

       I think it's funny how much of everyday life is omitted from Star Wars.   

       Imagine how silly it would look if, during the middle of one of their conversations, either Luke or Ben pulled out a cigarette and lit it with a lightsaber.   

       Another thing... either my mind is fuzzy, but is there *anyone* in the three movies that wears glasses?
Wes, Apr 03 2001

       Wes: No glasses to be seen, unless you count protective goggles. I think most of the stormtroopers could have used some vision correction, though.
centauri, Apr 03 2001

       Well the only food I can remember seeing in the original trilogy was when Yoda nicked Luke's pepperami (well that's what it looks like) so maybe pepperami's in the future are completely used up by the body and there are therefore no waste products from it. Or it's made up of an anti-laxative, nutrients and a local anathestic with a protective covering which breaks down and lets out the anathestic inside the body when it reaches the right spot. You can guess which is the right spot.
Quizical, Jul 25 2001

       "If you have a large enough TV, and a good VCR, you can see something quite interesting in 'A New Hope':" Wes- Just how big a TV are we talking about here? Would be interested to see this!
Vader, Jul 26 2001

       centauri: "insert Jar Jar bashing here"   

       Apparently some wag has produced a DVD of `The Phantom Menace` (still think that sounds like an episode of scooby doo), subtitled v1.1. Jar Jar has been removed; also, you dont hear the kid shouting `yipee` or `yahoo` or whatever (sorry, but i`ve not seen it so i dont really know what i`m talking about)!
Pallex, Jul 26 2001

       [Pallex], you're probably referring to "The Phantom Edit", which has been discussed and linked to in an idea elsewhere on the site.
mrkillboy, Jul 27 2001

       Interesting thought, ACB, but how about approaching it from the other direction? If I was George Lucas, I would be seeding the movies with new, unused logos and new product ideas, then renting out the rights to them later, to avaricious entrepreneurs. For instance, how about an Jedi shoe or tunic with a particular logo previously unseen on Eath.
aadenny, Aug 04 2001

       The reason they dont have any product placement in Star Wars is for realism. In the future there are no marketing people because natural selection will have weeded them out.   

       Besides, no one would want to work for the Empire's marketing devision with Vader on the executive. You saw what happened to those generals!
sdm, Aug 05 2001

       Actually, the marketing people evolve. Remember that Star Wars was 'A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...'
StarChaser, Aug 05 2001

       eew. you're right. I suddenly feel horribly sick.
sdm, Aug 05 2001

       The marketing people didn't get the chance to evolve. According to my encyclopaedia, they were the first against the wall when the revolution came.
angel, Aug 06 2001

       "And the new title is...Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones!"   

       "Yes you, Mr Xerox?"
mrkillboy, Aug 07 2001

       Trouble with product placement in movies is that it's waaay too easy to miss them, hence the manufacturer plasters every TV channel that they can reach with ads specifically to point out that their product is featured in the film.   

       This has the side-effect that you may get so sick of the ads that you vow never to waste your cash on said film. Worked for me with Tombraider, and that was *before* I read all the review panning it!   

       Also, it does sort of give away large bits of the film before you've even stepped foot into the cinema. Somehow I can't see Mr Lucas going for it.
MonTemplar, Aug 19 2001

       I, Robot, despite not promoting any actually available products, was still one long Audi advert. I think they got some Reeboks in there too but they were classics so they didn't bother changing the style.
theleopard, Aug 15 2007

       They were 2004 Converse All-Stars, not Reeboks (No, I'm not that much of a geek to know that from memory - I saw it again just a couple of days ago).
neutrinos_shadow, Aug 15 2007

       Ah yes, you're quite right. Now *that* wasn't subtle advertising.
theleopard, Aug 15 2007


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