Film / (web) Serie

Kubrick: A Placement Odyssey

The Stanley Kubrick exhibition at la Cinémathèque Française (Paris) has opened last week and is a good reason to have a look at the original product placement strategies used in Kubrick’s movies.

With the film “2001: A Space Odyssey”(1968), he succeed in creating a collaboration with some brands, allowing him to access R&D departments of these brands.  The R&D departments worked on innovations in order to create products of “the future”. They updated and found specificities to create futuristic products to integrate in the film.

These innovations helped to give credibility to the futuristic context of the film. For the brands, it is also a sure way to benefit from an exposure in the movie but also in the media when the film was released. Having its brand and products in an anticipation movie allows a company to ensure a durability of its image.

The computer HAL has been created by IBM, spaceship drivers write with Parker pens and wear X-01 Hamilton watches. Clothes, haircuts and make-up of the actors have been chosen by Vogue magazine.  The computer HAL is actually an acronym formed of the letters preceding the IBM initials in the alphabet.

In “A Clockwork Orange”, the director introduces a placement of his own movie with a record sleeve of “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

This type of self-promotion has been made by Robert Zemeckis, introducing a spin-off product from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” in the movie “Back to the Future”.  Zemeckis is often mentioned as a counter-example to the standard placement, because of the omnipresence of brands throughout his films.

Kubrick has his own way to introduce brands and products in his movies. He is famous for giving a particular attention to details, aesthetics, sometimes using his personal objects. It is important to remind that Kubrick is a source of inspiration for many artists (photographers, painters, designers, directors, etc.) and a product placement in his movie can represent an added value.

Stanley Kubrick Exhibition runs until July 31st.

La Cinémathèque Française, 51 rue de Bercy, Paris XII.

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