The Book of Eli is a book with a very interesting setting. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where there is no government or police to watch over the people. There film does an excellent job of creating a fictional environment that vaguely resembles our world. It’s similar to the old West, but civilization has seized to exist. However, one way by which the film connects the world in the film with the world of today is by incorporating some of today’s popular items in to the culture of the film. While this device does serve its purpose, I think that the extent to which product placement is used compromises the integrity of the film.
One of the best uses of product placement in the film is that which Oakley does. In the film the main character is blind, something that is not revealed until the end of the film, and wears a set of Oakley sunglasses the entire film. The sunglasses are not very loud and don’t try to make a statement. They are sleek, black sunglasses. However they do feature that classic Oakley “O” and as Mr. Smith points out in his article “a generic can labeled “beer” is more jarring to a viewer than a recognizable label” (Smith 2). Although the glasses are not the most notable ever, they are a constant element in the film and by having the Oakley label on the glasses the film gains a slightly more realistic environment. Additionally, the film is great PR for the brand as well. By having their product placed in the environment of the film, Oakley is implying that their glasses are strong enough to withstand the Apocalypse, which is a rather convincing argument. The film continues a trend of rather
The film draws a connection between its world and the real world in numerous other scenes. One of the most notable of these is the use of KFC wet wipes. In The Book of Eli, wet wipes are used as one of the only forms of sanitization available in the world they live in. This is very good exposure for the KFC because it implies that KFC wet wipes are effective enough to keep you clean without a shower. Such exposure is very good for an establishment such as KFC because of the presumptions people make about the fast food industry.
While I do feel that the film features far too much product placement, I think that it is important to not that “80 percent of on-screen products are not paid placements” (Smith 3). So, while there is a great deal of product placement in The Book of Eli a lot of that may not be do to the company paying the film to use its product. With that said, the film may not be simply selling out to make as much money as possible and simply trying to connect its world with the world we live in, overreaching this effect in the process.