(PLEASE ENJOY THIS CLIP BEFORE READING) http://www.imdb.com/video/hulu/vi1304494105/
If you’re not a fashionista, after watching the clip above from Devil Wears Prada, you may not have noticed all the brands of coats and bags that were placed on the receptionist’s desk. Since this is a film about one of New York’s largest fashion magazines, it is logical to be bombarded with hundreds of product placements in the form of fashion brands and designer labels. In The Duds of 'The Devil Wears Prada', author Ruth La Ferla refers to the coat montage scene and the film’s stylist Patricia Fields. She writes, “They are just the beginning of a brazen outpouring of $12,000 handbags, $30,000 furs and $1,000 over-the-knee boots assembled by Ms. Field with a budget of $100,000 and a little help from designers and friends who, she said, provided access to about $1 million worth of clothes” (Ferla par. 17). ONE MILLION DOLLARS!!! This is reportedly one of the highest wardrobe budgets ever. I could probably talk for days about all of the products within this one film. However, today I will focus on one product placement, and tell you how they have used this product to appeal to logos, ethos, and pathos.
There is a scene early on in the film where the cut-throat Editor-in-Chief, Miranda, is on her way to the office, and you watch as the entire staff scurry to look presentable before she arrives. During that time you see a woman running quickly to switch her frumpy clogs for some stylish high heels. The angle of the camera allows the audience to see the label “D&G” inside the sole. D&G stands for the well-known fashion designers Dolce and Gabbana. To start off my analysis of this product placement, I first wanted to see who D&G’s target clientele is. On the Dolce and Gabbana website they describe, “the Dolce & Gabbana woman is strong: she likes herself and knows she is liked…She always wears very high heels which, in any case, give her both an extremely feminine and sexy way of walking and unmistakable posture” (par. 3). Wait a second…”always wear very high heels???” This woman clearly would rather wear something more comfortable when she isn’t trying to impress anyone. This scene does not appeal to the company’s ethos. D&G believes that their type of woman is always in their high heels, and definitely looking sexy. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say there is nothing sexy about those clogs. The audience also can logically gather that these high heels are uncomfortable; therefore, she only wears them when absolutely necessary. If I were D&G, I would not be happy about the way their product was portrayed in this scene.
The D&G product placement was not all bad publicity though. You could look at the label in the shoes and start to feel envy towards the woman. This could be an appeal to pathos, because working at a major fashion magazine may be a dream for many, and this woman must make enough money to afford designer labels. Workers at high-end fashion magazines are expected to dress a certain way, and the employees are compelled to uphold the fashion industry standard. In Everything’s An Argument, Lunsford talks about even something as simple as the clothes people choose to wear can be an argument and express a view point (4). There is an appeal to logos when you see the D&G label. D&G is a world-wide designer that is known to have a high-end look, which would be a logical choice for someone working in the fashion industry.
D&G were one of the few brands that had explicit brand exposure within the film. Other brands that were used had limited visibility and were harder to recognize. I think that fact that this label was present benefitted the film’s story. However, I do not think it was as positive for D&G. The fact that the character was only willing to wear the shoes when needing to show off her credibility as a fashion industry employee was damaging to the brand. D&G still maintains their high-end title in this film, but takes a hit when it comes to a customer’s loyalty and comfort. I give this product placement 2 tickets.
Ferla, Ruth La. "The Duds Of 'The Devil Wears Prada'" The New York Times. The New York Times, 29 June 2006. Web. 28 Feb. 2013.
"Who Is Dolce & Gabbana." Dolce & Gabbana. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2013. <http://www.dolcegabbana.com/corporate/en/group/company.html>.