Product placement is an extremely successful way to increase brand recognition and association with pop culture. Would Reese’s Pieces have been as well-loved had they not been the bait of choice in E.T.? Brands pay top dollar to have their products featured in movies and television, but this is not a new trend.
The new technique in the product placement world is an increasingly subtle form of placement. Apple illustrates this trend perfectly in the Disney Pixar film, Wall-E. Rather than displaying their apple logo prominently, brand execs chose to hint at its inclusion. Wall-E often uses an I-pod in the film to play his favorite Hello Dolly songs. Eve’s sleek, white, minimalist design is reminiscent of the simple motif that Apple uses in all of its products. And when Wall-E recharges his battery, the familiar “dong” a Mac makes when it’s booting up is heard. Audiences may not have picked up on these hints, but it creates a familiarity with the product. You can bet that kids now associate I-pods with their favorite new character and when people see a simple white machine or hear that chime, Wall-e subconsciously comes to mind.