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Old June 21st, 2003, 08:56 AM   #1
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Product placement info?

Hello all-
I was wondering if anyone had a working knowledge of Product Placement, or Branding? You know, Coke pays Paramount X dollars to have their billboard shown, or the characters drink their soda.

My thinking was ( Hold on people!), Big name products pay big bucks to get their name seen. How can I get in on this? Is it possible if you aren't a major name production? I would gladly, and understandably, take much less than say the SuperBowl or Paramount.

On the other side of that coin, you can't legally show an actual product in your movie or show without the property rights. Is there some middle ground?
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Old June 21st, 2003, 09:39 AM   #2
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Keith,
I don't know how this works in your neck of the globe. But here, such matters are handled and negotiated by public relations firms (i.e. advertising agencies) representing the brands involved. For a major theatrical release you can easily be looking at payments to the producers of 6-7 figure sums for placement exposure.
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Old June 21st, 2003, 09:57 AM   #3
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Ken- I wouldn't say my part of the globe is around the neck... lower :)

Either way, I only know a little about such things, and am curious. You know what they say? A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I must be a very dangerous person! :)

However, I am seriously working on a low budget feature length, and if I can pimp anything out to help cover production costs... So much the better, right?
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Old June 21st, 2003, 05:34 PM   #4
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What would happen if my character just happened to be drinking
a "Coke" in my movie?? Might this be seen as false advertisement?
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Old June 21st, 2003, 06:08 PM   #5
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Depends on whether or not (s)he choked on it! ;-)
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Old June 22nd, 2003, 12:00 AM   #6
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Rob,
Nigel's actually pretty close to correct. For such a micro-market piece I don't think that Coke would take any notice nor would the potential negative publicity be worth their effort. But, in fact, if a character bashed-in another character's head with a can of Coke you could very well be in some hazard.
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Old June 22nd, 2003, 06:23 AM   #7
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All that stuff is why you aren't allowed to show an actual product, for fear of negative representation. However, they will pay huge sums to have their product shown in a positive light.
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Old June 22nd, 2003, 09:59 AM   #8
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Depends on the company and who you are. Coke "might" just say you can use their can in the shot but no money. But a local restaurant chain "might" give you $500 plus permission.
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Old June 22nd, 2003, 10:03 AM   #9
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I'm sorry, I've never understood this: why do you need PERMISSION to show brand names and such in your movie? Isn't this like free advertising for these people? Why do they always cover up a letter on the name of a popular cereal, or turn the coke can around so you don't see the logo?
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Old June 22nd, 2003, 10:24 AM   #10
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Say you owned Coke. Somebody shows your product on screen. Great! Free Advertising! Then the person on screen chokes and dies from the Coke. How is that positive? It isn't. Cigarettes and alcohol use even stricter standards I believe.
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Old June 22nd, 2003, 02:36 PM   #11
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It's the same as taking someone's picture and selling it. You need permission to make money from them. Coke owns the logo so if you want to make money using the Coke logo you need permission.
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Old June 22nd, 2003, 09:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
why do you need PERMISSION to show brand names and such in your movie.
Quote:
It's the same as taking someone's picture and selling it.
Okay, it's not the same thing as taking someone's picture and selling it, nor do you need permission to show brand names in movies.

It is illegal (in most states) to commercially appropriate someone's name, likeness, etc., i.e. there are statutes that prohibit using images of people without permission, though the nature of the prohibitions vary from state to state. These statutes do not apply to brand names.

With respect to showing products and/or brand names, the concern is the Lanham Act, which is the federal trademark law which prohibits use of a trademark so as to cause likelihood of consumer confusion as to origin, sponsorship or endorsement. It is this latter that causes concern -- would the audience think that the mark owner endorsed or sponsored the film? In most cases the answer is, "no," and there is no liability for trademark infringement created (which doesn't mean that you wouldn't get sued anyway).

An additional concern, with respect to marks, is trademark dilution, defined in the Lanham as causing a famous mark (only famous marks are protected against dilution) to either be tarnished, i.e. brought into disrepute, or to have it's source-designating character diminished. Having a character in a porno film drink from a Coke can is a good example of tarnishment.
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Old June 22nd, 2003, 10:27 PM   #13
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Sluts get thirsty too!
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Old June 23rd, 2003, 01:02 AM   #14
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But isnt' it retarded when you're watching a show and they're just drinking "Cola"? I mean, where the hell do you buy that? I'd rather see someone with a brand namd that's at least real than get hung up on thinking about "Cola." If no sluts are drinking the drink, and no one chokes on it, then where's the harm? If I happen to make money on a project, it is not BECAUSE the character is drinking a Coke (usually). It's because the character who drinks the Coke (which has no remotely significant part in the larger plot of the movie) is part of a story that someone feels has enough artistic merit to pay me for. Retarded, I tell you.
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Old June 23rd, 2003, 02:39 AM   #15
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I just saw a film called "Sleepless Town" which is set around Shinjuku in Tokyo. Half the scenes were exteriors. If you know Tokyo or seen pictures of it, you know that there are signs and logos emblazoned everywhere. Can't avoid product placement there.
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