Product placement is a type of advertisement for a certain company’s product that can be seen in various movies. The company usually puts money into the film to have their product advertised. According to Martin J. Smith in “ADVERTISING; Name-brand props in the movies; Consumer group wants labels to signify product placement,” product “placements range in cost between $10,000 and $80,000” (1). This type of advertising is also a “controversial film-industry practice” due to the fact that the public has to pay money to watch these advertisements and it seems to be “unfair to the movie-going public” (1). This type of advertising is seen in the 2007 mystery adventure Disney movie National Treasure: Book of Secrets. Rhetorical devices, such as ethos, pathos, and logos, are used to promote the partnership between the movie and the company that wants to advertise their product through the film. This can either be beneficial to both parties or it can be detrimental, depending on how the advertising is carried out in the movie.
This movie is a sequel to the first National Treasure movie and both movies are about searching for treasure. In a scene of this movie, one of the characters is seen at the Borders bookstore, trying to promote and sell the book he has written. The book is about the journey and the experiences of the main characters from their treasure hunt from the first movie. According to Andrea A. Lunsford, John J. Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters in Everything’s an Argument, the Borders bookstore “establishes” its “authority” (58) by advertising books of various genres, so there is something for everyone to shop for at a store such as this. The National Treasure: Book of Secrets film builds its credibility through the production company, which is Disney. Disney has made many successful movies and according to Shawn Lealos in the “10 Most Popular Disney Movies,” Pirates of the Caribbean was one of them (1). This movie also demonstrates ethos through the actors, by having the same cast in both movies. From the partnership between this film and the bookstore company, I feel like the movie loses credibility by trying to promote Borders. The advertisement for the store happens too early on in the movie; the timing is not right. The movie starts out with showing scenes from the Civil War era and how President Lincoln is assassinated. Nicolas Cage’s character in the movie is linked to this past event because his family may have been involved in the assassination. Soon after this, the movie shows one of the actors selling his book in Borders. The placement of this scene does not flow with the rest of the movie, even though the book being sold is about the previous film. I believe, however, that the Borders bookstore gains credibility through this movie since it shows that people can go and meet authors of their favorite books at one of the Borders bookstore locations.
Pathos is also used by both this company and the film to invoke emotions from the audience. Since this is a fast-paced adventure film, the audience is constantly entertained. From finding one clue to the next from different sources, the characters in this movie get closer to discovering the treasure and the answers to what happened in the past regarding President Lincoln’s death. The entire movie revolves around books, even the title of the movie deals with this matter. The map for the treasure is actually found in a diary, but it is in a code. So the characters in this movie have to turn to various sources, such as books, to find more clues as to where to look for the treasure. By advertising Borders in this film through “emotional appeals,” (46) people might be more inclined to go to the store to find books that might evoke the same feelings they had while watching the movie, such as being entertained.
Logos is used in this movie by advertising Borders as well. It makes the movie more believable since this is an actual store. Books are a good resource when researching and the characters are always referring to different books to find out information. The company is portraying that people can come to Borders to get books and this increases the believability.
So the company, through this movie, is trying to project that books can be fun and entertaining, just as a movie can be. They also show that they can be a useful tool for research too. Ethos, pathos, and logos are used in the film to try to promote the products of this company. The company seems to benefit from the movie, but I do not think that the movie is able to get anything from the company.