Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thousand Words for the Starbucks

Thousand Words is a new comedy played by Eddy Murphy. He is playing Jack McCall who is self-centered book agent that is trying to close a deal with spiritual leader (Cliff Curtis). The movie is a comedy with a simple plot, but there is an emphasis on the product placement. In the movie, Starbucks is depicted several times. According to Martin Smith, brand-name products and logos realistically reflect the landscape of everyday American life (2). The use of the Starbucks products helps to connect the audience with the movie. There are three depicted scenes in the movie that are advertising the Starbucks coffee.
In the first three minutes of the movie, there is already big depiction of the Starbucks. Jack is entering a Starbucks coffee shop and tries to get coffee, but the line is too long. However, he decides to cut the line by pretending that he is on the phone and he just got a message that his wife is about to deliver their babies twins. So, everyone in the line gets sympathetic with him and Jack gets his coffee without waiting in the line. Also, he gets the Starbucks coffee for free and leaves the coffee shop with the popular Starbucks cup. In my opinion, that scene was not very important for the plot of the movie. Moreover, it was a commercial for the Starbucks. This scene was a product placement of Starbucks coffee in the movie. It also represents that Starbucks, in reality, is a morning dose of caffeine for lot of people, depicted with that long line.
Next big product placement is when Jack is in therapy with his psychologists. He is sitting on a couch and he has a Starbucks coffee cup that he got earlier. There is an extended close-up of the green siren logo of the Starbucks while he is holding the cup, He tries the coffee and says, “This coffee is incredible!” this is another example of a product placement in the movie. Not only that there is a logo close up, but having a main character note that he is drinking incredible, tasty and very good Starbucks coffee is an advertising for the coffee shop; it reminds the audience why they love the Starbucks.
Later in the movie, there is another scene that takes place in the Starbucks. Jack is trying to order the coffee, again, so he is talking with the employee. Since Jack cannot talk, he is trying, in Eddy Murphy comedy acting, to explain to the employee what he wants. Of course, there is funny misunderstanding, so it turns out that Jack ordered three lattes, three mocha, three espressos, double chocolate chip muffin and Paul McCartney CD. In my opinion, this is again a commercial for the Starbucks. It remind the audience what are the most popular beverages in Starbucks, but also there are other items that can be purchased, like original audio CD, etc.
Over all, according to Bob Leeper, there is estimated ten to fifteen minutes in the movie that is dedicated to the Starbucks company; either movie is taking place in the coffee shop or the characters are holding the famous Starbucks coffee cup with the logo (4). Even though the product placement is obvious, I think that is not distorting the plot of the movie. Moreover, it helps the audience to connect to the characters and situations that they are in. 
My rating is 

Leeper, Bob “Review: Thousand words – or less.” Nerdvana. East Valley Tribune. March 9, 2012. Web. Oct 4, 2012.
Martin J. Smith: The Orange County Register. "ADVERTISING Name-Brand Props in the Movies Consumer Group Wants Labels to Signify Product Placement: MORNING Edition." Orange County Register: e.01. Print. 1991.

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