Miami Vice's Brand Affiliations

I originally reported that I'd go see Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby this past weekend, but I opted for Miami Vice instead.

Not much unlike the NASCAR parody, Miami Vice serves as a definitive case study for product integration into a film. Brandchannel.com reports:

"The detectives carry Nokia cell phones with video capabilities, Apple laptops, and Motorola video and audio devices. And the last step to being cool? A signature drink. Not even five minutes into the first scene, Crockett orders a Bacardi mojito at the bar."

Other featured products included Adam Aircraft, Benelli, BMW, Cadillac, Crown Royal, Donzi, FedEx, Ferrari, Heckler & Koch, Hyatt Hotels, Jack Daniel's, Mercedes, Milano's Pizza, NBC, Nokia, Pepsi, Range Rover, Shell, Sony, Southern Comfort, Toyota, and Xbox. Whew! The list is a bit exhaustive, but I suppose it beats having to view commercials before a film begins.

Do you think that the practice of integrating marketing within the storylines of films or TV shows makes sense? Should there be a clearer distinction between the two? And does product placement, as adopted in various films and TV shows lately, even work? For instance, can you name the products featured in the last film you watched?

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10 Comments

  • aasim

    well....it worked for me. i did buy the nokia 6170 that crockett used in miami vice

  • Gonçalo Moura

    You forgot IWC Schaffhausen - Jamie Foxx's watch :p

    So yes, I do remember brands after a movie... Even if just for the shameless product placement...

  • Jerry Johnstone

    How can you be sure Colin Farrell (Crocket) ordered a Bacardi Mojito? I couldn't understand a damn word that came out of his mouth and I almost positive he can pronounce Bacardi!

  • Pete

    Although I haven't seen the movie, M. Russell Stewart's comment is a good point. High-end cars are iconic brands and definitely a big part of the lifestyle of their drivers. As far as the weapons go, military and law enforcement types are very conscious of their equipment - not so they can be seen carrying the "right" pistol, but because they have a real preference in how something works.

    The Bacardi Mojito is a little bit funny, though, since Bacardi is a mainstream and not that high-end of a rum.

  • Jenny

    Fist of all, great point by M. Russell Stewart. I very much agree.

    As far as "unobtrusive" product placements go (comment by Francis Wu), I'm not so sure. At least, when a movie/TV show is interrupted by commercials you are AWARE of it.

    I would like to point out a potential "danger" of advertising being embedded in movies. In a newer commercial for Sprite they call it "sublimeminal" advertising...

    Late at night you can see tons of paid advertising on TV, but at least they warn you before hand that "this program is paid for by..." and so on.

    I'd rather have a choice of watching commercials (or going to the bathroom, or to fetch a snack from the kitchen) than being exposed to it without me even being aware of it.

    But as Sean A. Gadir posted, we will be heading more towards movie-embedded advertising so we can't escape with the help of tivo any longer...

  • Francis Wu

    I think Owen Lystrup has a point -- I would rather watch a move filled with unintrusive product placements instead of watching 20 minutes of commercials.

  • M. Russell Stewart

    To me the brands in a film make it more realistic, provided unbelievable attention is not paid to any one brand in particular for marketing purposes. The fact that the car Crockett drives has a raring stallion on the grill simply shows authenticity, and, in my opinion, is an integral part of his character development. I mean, would anyone believe he would drive the same car with all the badging removed?

    Real people use real brands, and they tag our lives better than words at times. As long as the director of a film uses the brand to develop the story for the story's sake, and not just for advertisement (the difference is obvious), I'm all for it.

    MAS

  • Owen Lystrup

    Isn't it a little unfair to spend $10 for a ticket, watch 20 minutes of commercials, then see a movie rife with commercials?

  • Sean A. Gadir

    Product integration is nothing new, its been around for as long as TV itself, and most interestingly I think its soon going to be the most predominant form of advertising on TV / movies….

    With technologies like tivo that will allow us to fast forward past the formal ads, companies will be looking to attract consumer attention by other means, and product integration into popular movies and TV programs will be an ever increasing and influential attraction….

  • roger fulton

    good question, no I can't name the products ballyhooed in the last movie I watched. Here's a suggestion: why don't the stars wear jackets covered with the product patches like the race car drivers do in Talledega Nights??