The Subtle art of Product Integration

I found this video today, which I assume was directed by frink, and I thought, this is really a great example of how to do product integration in a subtle way that really respects the intelligence of the audience.

Ok, so from the beginning to about 45 seconds in, this is a commercial for the papermate sharpwriter pencil. And that makes sense, you know we all have to pay the bills, and setting up some cross promotion for your hit single can quickly turn a medium sized win into a marginally larger medium sized win. I think the genius in this video is how the themes are linked so effortlessly. Live rock performances and office supplies, this kind of thing practically writes itself. Execution was flawless on this one also, you barely notice the pencil commercial embedded in the video, and even when you do, they are nailing all these bonus objectives for the sponsor, such as showing the eraser capabilities, and including at least 15 camera angles of how barren and meaningless a robot hand looks when it's not holding the pencil. The apex of this mesmerizingly perfect example of cross promotion is when the mechanical pencil, and it's included eraser gets one of the band members out of a jam, in which he has mistakenly signed his name with an X, when a full signature is required to participate in the music video. I think that's a relatable situation for a lot of touring musicians.

What follows is unexpected, a horrifying cocaine fueled anthem wherein the band professes it's love for the electronic device that propagates their sound recordings. The facial expressions on display, from both the band and crowd, reveal a dizzying lack of self awareness that seems to transcend the experience as a whole, and serve as a sobering reminder of the dystopian future that awaits our world.

The band's leader has attached numerous "pieces of flare" to his garment, which seem to originate from dozens, if not hundreds, of armed service organizations, undoubtedly a mercenary of some sort, in the thrall of powerful mechanical pencil cartels seeking influence through any means necessary.

After a psychologically grueling 4 minute run, clearly designed to break down the psyche of the viewer and leave them in a suggestable state, the final cross promotional technique is integrated, a scene in which the bandleader throws a mechanical pencil to a crowd member, and they catch it, overjoyed at their luck to be in possession of such a significant item.

Cross promotion, it's a win win scenario.

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You want subtle? How about this; My wife and I use to watch Korean soap operas (they are so good!). We noticed nice pair of earrings the leading lady was wearing. They were beautiful. My wife loved them. I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I wanted to find those earrings and surprise my wife with them. Not knowing where to begin, I typed into Yahoo something like "snowflake earring worn in the show [name of the show]. To my amazement, a page popped up that was selling the jewelry and clothes worn by the characters in that and other Korean soap operas. I found the earrings and I bought them!!

Now THAT is the way to do product placement, not holding a can of Coke with it's label pointed at the camera or a pencil with the company logo featured in an extreme close up. To me, that's an insult; showing me a commercial for a product while pretending not to.
Yeah, in some sense anything in a movie is product placement. In example, the cars for the matrix 2 and 3 were supplied free of charge, to be wrecked in the movie. No logo close ups, or anything overt, just people seeing those cars in a big summer movie was enough to warrant maybe a million in donations. I think it was something like 60 cars.

Obviously this post was a joke, demonstrating the worst possible way to force advertising into a creative product. I've been behind the scenes enough to know exactly what happened. They took the money, which came with a list of things expected in exchange, and that read something like "the band must be seen using and enjoying the pencil during the video" and "the brand and type of the pencil must be clearly visible for a minimum of 7 seconds spanning 2 occasions" and then the director was locked into those prerequisites.

I've been trying to think up a subtle way of using product integration to fund my thing, but so far every idea I've come up with would basically ruin the product. A labyrinth isn't very mysterious if it has a lot of Diet Rite machines in it. Frankly, just labeling it "Mountain Dew presents The Labyrinth" would ruin it for me.

I'd love to see other crazy examples of cross promotion gone horribly wrong, if anyone can remember any.
There's a great scene in s8ep21 of 24 where chloe pulls out her sprint phone and saves the day with her mobile hotspot.
Where would jack bauer be without sprint?