Wall Street 2: Product Placement Never Sleeps

I went along to a preview of the Wall Street sequel last night. Enjoyable, certainly, but as ever (brand geek that I am) I was on the look out for product placement and my word was there a lot to choose from.

While Brand Cameo provides a very nice summary of all the brands who got screen time, I thought it would be more interesting to visually display which ones had the biggest impact on me. So I created a Wordle to represent them:

Wall Street 2 word cloud
Now I’m not saying this is based on the average consumer, because I am a brand-obsessed marketer who was actively looking out for them. But I’ve created this based on the impact each brand left me with.

Of the 33 brands present on the screen, I managed unprompted recall of 7 – Bulgari, Heineken, Johnnie Walker (Blue), Lay’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Toyota and Ducati. Another two that, on being prompted, I felt also had a prominent role were Border’s and Cracker Jack (the latter of which got a verbal reference, a minor plot-line and on-screen package presence).

In terms of credibility? The Heineken reference was absurd: in a restaurant setting, Gekko (Michael Douglas) offers Jake (Shia LeBeouf) a drink and instead of the more natural ‘Can I get you a beer?’, he offers the specific branded lager (which LeBeouf accepts), showing an unusual prior knowledge of drinks taste for an exchange between relative strangers.

Wall Street 2
(c) Twentieth Century Fox

Bulgari has a natural narrative placement in one storyline, but there is an additional black tie fundraiser scene where half the screen time is taken up with scene-setting shots focused tightly on the bejewelled ears and necks of all the female guests – no doubt who were all dressed by the luxury jeweller. Slightly gratuitous.

Ducati absolutely has a natural fit in one section of the movie, and the branding doesn’t feel overdone. Toyota more or less serves a purpose, but had no specific plotline supporting its involvement (unlike Ducati) – appearance-wise it looks like an odd choice of model for the protagonists (not the best-looking car), but on further probing I gather it is a Toyota Prius. It is the ‘lefty'[sic] Winnie (Carey Mulligan) who we see driving it (implication being it is hers rather than Jake’s) so I guess, given the Prius’s über-green credentials, it actually seems a pretty good character fit.

Other brands appear just for screen time: Dunkin’ Donuts and Lay’s being two. The offer of a Johnnie Walker Blue from Jake to his Japanese clients as a gift is a bit over-sold but more or less believable (though I remain unconvinced you would refer to the brand by name on presentation of the bottle).

The nicest brand reference is probably Cracker Jack (another Frito Lay brand) – I won’t expand too much for fear of plot-spoilers ahead of release – but their presence in the movie is believable, fits with the narrative and isn’t over-sold.

What really interests me is how much the average movie-goer would have picked up from all of these. If there’s anyone reading this who doesn’t lamely watch movies for the brand mentions, please do leave your comments below.

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2 thoughts on “Wall Street 2: Product Placement Never Sleeps

  1. As I mentioned on Twitter, Back To The Future 2 had the worst case of ‘productitus’ I can remember….ever.
    Even when I first watched it I thought the film was just a feature length commercial. Having products in the vicinity of characters etc is one thing, but BTTF2 had them in close up to make sure you got the point.
    It ruined the film for me which was a pity as I liked the first film.
    Lucie has asked me to list the companies I can remember in the film, so here goes (bare in mind I haven’t watched the whole film for a least ten years so loads will be missing and possibly a few wrong!)

    Texaco – petrol station
    Nike – shoes with automatic laces
    Pizza Hut & Black and Decker – gratuitous shot of miniature pizza in B&D microwave
    Mattel – Hover board
    I’m pretty sure Ford also featured.

    There will be many more, but the fact I can recall those after so long speaks volumes!

  2. Nice one Skiddins. Seems you did well too.

    Futurepedia adds Pepsi, 7Eleven, AT&T and The Weather Channel to the list, and also claims that Pizza Hut provided not only their company name, but a professional ‘food stylist’ and pizza kitchen to be on set to make hot, attractive pizzas for each take…

    Thanks for stopping by!

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