Silicon Valley goes to the movies Movies offer an opportunity to escape from the worries of every day life, whether it’s a fast-paced action film or a tear-inducing drama. But even in movies set in the near future, or animated fare, there’s no escaping one thing at the movies these days: the ubiquitous product placement. The technology industry is proving a master of the product placement in movies – sometimes subtle, sometimes not so much. With the Toronto International Film Festival beginning this week, join expertIP in our technology-themed salute to cinema. Let’s go to the movies! By Jeff JedrasImage courtesy of porbital / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol This latest installment in the Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible franchise was one of the most-hyped movies of the year and it was also one of the most technology product placement-laden, with appearances from Apple, Canon, Casio, Dell, LG and Panasonic. When Ethan Hunt needs technical support, his IT team is using a Macbook Air, and the iPad and iPhone also get cameos. Movie directors often turn to Apple for a touch of cool. Also watch for Canon’s HV20 digital camera shooting in Moscow’s Red Square and Dell’s Streak 5 helping Hunt navigate through a sandstorm.
21 Jump Street While Mission Impossible was a natural choice for a film to be filled with technology gadgets, you probably wouldn’t think of the young adult drama 21 Jump Street being in the same league. But considering the film’s young target demographic, product and brand placements from Facebook, Twitter, Sony Ericsson and Sony Vaio make sense. Stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum turn to Twitter and Facebook to help fit in as undercover police posing as high school students. Hill’s budding romance with a student is helped along by texts exchanged with a Sony Ericsson Xperia mobile phone, and keep an eye out for the Vaio laptop as well. With the film being produced by Sony Pictures, seeing Sony products only makes sense.
Safe House This action thriller staring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds about an ex-CIA agent turned international criminal was a box office hit, and vendors Apple, BlackBerry and Dell were probably hoping it would be a hit for them as well. The undercover CIA agents stationed in South Africa use iPhones, naturally, to keep in touch with Washington. They don’t just use iPhones though. Keep your eyes peeled and you may spot a Blackberry Torch 9810, for those secret agents that, like myself, still prefer a hard QWERTY keyboard. Computer maker Dell has a Safe House cameo as well.
The Avengers One of two major comic book turned blockbuster movies of the summer (The Dark Knight Rises being the other), the star-packed The Avengers movie saw an all-star team of super heroes fighting to save the planet. With a technology assist, of course, from Oracle and LG. Oracle has already had a relationship with the Ironman franchise, and with Ironman featured as one of The Avengers that relationship continued. After all, how can you save the planet without big data? You can’t, of course, which is why if you’re watching closely you’ll see an Oracle Big Data Appliance featuring the Oracle and Sun logos powering their data centre. Also, watch for Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff using an LG Lotus Elite LX610 flip phone.
Contraband In Contraband, Mark Wahlberg stars as a man who will go to great lengths to protect his family. And so would you, if you were married to Kate Beckinsale. Long story short, Whalberg turns to running contraband to pay off his brother-in-law’s debt to a drug lord. And he gets a little help from Apple and BlackBerry along the way. Many of the main characters in Contraband were sporting BlackBerry Torch smartphones, and were even seen communicating using BlackBerry Messenger. No word on what Whalberg’s PIN is though.
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted Finally, you may not expect to find a technology product placement in an animated film where zoo animals are the stars. But when you’re zoo animals trying to make your way undetected through Europe in Madagascar 3, you may need a technology assist. Hewlett-Packard Co. has been working with DreamWorks for a number of years, and provides the workstations used to animate and render many of their films, such as How to Train Your Dragon and Monsters vs. Aliens. Madagascar 3 was the first time HP went on screen though. While it’s not quite a product placement, an Italian policeman was heard to mention his “HP printer.” No word if it was an ink jet or a laser.