Please make all cheques payable to Jamie Lirette, care of words & pictures

Posted on April 9th, 2007

So how bad does it have to be to reduce a hyper-cerebral Transcendental Meditator to this?

Pretty bad:

You can tell that was made a few years ago, because there's no way they'd miss the chance to crucify The Island, the most shameless and ham-fisted example of product placement I've ever seen (well... second most). Then again, I haven't seen Blades of Glory, currently #1 at the box office and an ad for no less than 57 brands. Amazingly, Heinz wasn't one of them.

Most people point the finger at E.T. and Reese's Pieces, but product placement is as old as cinema itself:

"The pioneering Lumiere Brothers, who created the first motion picture projector in 1895, recognized immediately the potential their invention had to influence the masses. Their 1896 short film, 'Washing Day in Switzerland,' was one of the first motion pictures ever projected on a screen -- and it featured strategically-placed cases of Sunlight Soap. Much like the way deals come together in today's business, the placement was engineered by the film's producer, Henri Lavanchy-Clarke, who also worked as a publicist for the soap's manufacturer, Lever Brothers." (

34 years later, Lever Brothers merged with a Dutch company, Margarine Unie, to become the first modern multinational: Unilever.


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