Top Gun and Ray-Ban a Match Made in Heaven
When most people think of American films in the 1980s they think of Top Gun. Although this movie was made before my time, I still consider it one of my favorite movies of all time. Its influence on American society is not lost on most. Men want to be Maverick and women want to be with him. This makes him the ideal candidate to use for product placement. Ray-Ban was able to take away from the hit movie with the ultimate product placement that resonated with most Americans through the use of ethos, pathos and logos. This is an incredibly successful example of product placement in the movie industry.
Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is the ultimate bad boy fighting for the right team. This character appeals to most audiences especially in the context of the story of American heroism. Ray-Ban was able to capitalize on this display of ethos by getting Maverick to wear only their glasses in extremely pertinent scenes of the movie. The reason that the placement is so successful is because of the character they are featured on. According to Giannetti, “The filmmaker uses actors as a medium for communicating ideas and emotions,” (Giannetti 283). Top Gun appeals to the average American through the use of an egotistic male character that people love. Ray-Ban saw this and was able to take advantage of the success of the character that is Maverick. If the character was less loveable then this would have been a less successful attempt at product placement. Fortunately for Ray-Ban, Maverick is the ultimate show of character in a movie.
Another way to measure the success of product placement is the way that the movie appeals to the pathos of the viewer. Top Gun does an impeccable job playing off of the audience’s emotional investment in the movie and Ray-Ban piggy backed off of that success. Ray-Bans aren’t always seen in the movie, only in the scenes that stick with the audience including: the volleyball scene, anytime Maverick is outside of his plane on the runway, and the scene after Goose dies. These scenes are the ones that stick with viewers allowing Ray-Ban to be seen in a multitude of scenes throughout the movie that are all different, showing their versatility. This product placement is golden because it shows their sporty side as well as their side that darkens when a death takes place. Andrea A. Lunsford says that people “sometimes want to use emotions to connect with [viewers],” (Lunsford 33). Ray-Ban appears in the scenes that the viewers feel the most emotions therefore making the viewers emotionally connect to their sunglasses. These aren’t the only scenes the glasses appear in, but they are conveniently placed in the scenes that associate with our emotions. Whether this was the doing of the Top Gun team or the people at Ray-Ban, it was a job well done for product placement in the right emotional spots.
While pathos and ethos both have a large stake in product placement, the most important part of product placement is the logos. If the Ray-Ban sunglasses were put in the improper scenes then the product placement would have been a fail. Since Top Gun and Ray-Ban were able to work together to logically place the sunglasses in meaningful scenes, the product placement worked well. One of the scenes that stands out the most is when Maverick and Goose have just landed from a flight that was extremely risky and they really didn’t quite follow the rules but got the job done. They are both walking on the tarmac sporting their Ray-Ban’s. This is a scene that makes sense for the iconic sunglasses to be worn in because it’s really where Maverick proves himself as a dangerously good pilot and as a dominant character. According to Lunsford we appeal to “arguments based on facts, evidence and reason,” (Lunsford 56). In scenes like the previous one the fact of the matter is Maverick is one cool cat and to have him wearing Ray-Ban sunglasses makes Ray-Ban’s look even cooler. This was one logically thought out move.
Iconic movies are often made iconic by the items within them that help describe the character set. In Top Gun Maverick is known for his cool demeanor and his even cooler bomber jacket and Ray-Ban sunglasses. These sunglasses are epic throughout the movie and appear in several scenes appealing to the ethos, pathos, and logos of the viewer. Because they are subtle yet defined in the movie I give it three out of three tickets. I found the product placement tasteful because I knew it was there but I was not bombarded by it. Top Gun and Ray-Ban were a match made in heaven.