Sell me, baby, one more time
IT TOOK me a good two minutes into Britney Spears' new commercial to realise I was actually watching a music video.
If you've haven't seen it, go look up Hold it Against Me on YouTube before reading any further; it's okay, I can wait.
If you didn't have your eyes closed the whole time, you may have noticed the video contains more product placement than aisles three to seven of your local Woolworths (The fresh food people).
In her music video, Britney sprays on her new Radiance perfume and puts on her Makeup Forever makeup as she watches the whole thing on a series of Sony televisions.
Mid-song, Britney forgets she's shooting a music video and logs on to her (Sony) laptop to browse the dating website PlentyOfFish.com.
The product placement scenes are as subtle as whacking yourself in the face with a hammer you bought at Bunnings Warehouse (where lowest prices are just the beginning).
To be fair, Britney did make $500,000 from the product placement in the video alone.
Forget integrity or artistic values, give me $500,000 and I'll march through Brisbane City completely naked yelling “DRINK PEPSI!” at people.
Better yet; if you value your brand, give me $500,000 and I won't do that.
The video clip for Lady Gaga's Telephone featured products from Virgin Mobile, Coors, Polaroid, Diet Coke, Chevrolet, Wonder Bread, Miracle Whip, Lady Gaga's custom headphones Monster Heartbeats and, once again, PlentyOfFish.com.
It's enough to give you a headache (which is where my Panadol Rapid comes in handy – works twice as fast as regular Panadol!).
The problem isn't the product placement itself, it's when the advertisement sticks out more than Ozzy Ozbourne at a Justin Beiber concert.
The movie Cast Away had Tom Hanks screaming out the name of a sports brand (“Wilson! Wilson!”) and pretended it was all part of the story.
The third Blade movie Blade: Trinity had Jessica Beil's character open up Apple's iTunes on her Apple Powerbook to download songs on to her Apple iPod before putting in her Apple headphones to fight evil vampires (who probably all worked for Microsoft).
Within the first 10 minutes of the recent remake of I, Robot, Will Smith opens a package from Converse Sneakers, remarking how cool the sneakers are.
A few characters comment on his Converse sneakers, after which Will Smith smugly replies “yes, these are my Converse sneakers” while showing off said Converse sneakers.
By the end of the scene, there's a certain place you'd like to shove his Converse.
Whether you hate it or consider it a necessary evil, product placement is certainly not going to go away any time soon.
And that's something you can bank on (preferably with NAB, who now offer double the points anytime you use your NAB Qantas Business Card!).
Culture Sparrow is a weekly humour column by Callum Johnson.