Product placement in movies has become a very common way of company advertisement. Companies will buy the right to be presented in the movie in hopes that the movie will promote their products. In The Proposal, products are placed strategically throughout the movie that makes use of logos, ethos and pathos to advertise various products.
Sandra Bullock, one of the two main actors in the movie, plays the role of Margaret. Margaret is a chief editor for a New York editorial firm called Ruick and Hunt Publishing. She is depicted wearing the shoe brand, Christian Louboutin throughout the first half of the movie. The shoe retains the image of being “the shoe” that every girl wants: the staple red sole is highly valued in price, quality and recognizable among a wide audience. She is also shown with high-end designer bags such as Hermes and Louis Vuitton Luggage and handbags. Hermes and Vuitton, similar to Louboutin, are also quite recognizable predominately among the female population. However for those who are unaware of the names, these three particular brands are all quite sophisticated and do not come with a small price tag. The three name brands both individually and collectively create logos. While incorporating, “brand-name products and logos realistically reflect the landscape of everyday American life”(Smith 2), this particular brand may not be realistic for everyday life. In order to afford these types of luxury items, one must be successful. Being a chief editor comes with both recognition and money: she is powerful, beautiful, sophisticated but not very well liked. While unliked, the image is all there and so is the understanding that she is well off. The designers also incorporate aspect of pathos. The classic Louboutin look that she wears carries a level of elegance yet boldness to it, which embodies her own personality. The combination of the three designers draws attention to Bullocks’ character and portrays her as conceited. However pompous she may be, her image as a successful woman able to afford such nice things is attractive to a female audience. Most girls would leap at the opportunity to purchase items of the equivalency, thus the name brand instill an emotion of desire, disgust for those who find them combined to be distasteful or even motivation for those who wish to obtain some of their own. Furthermore, the brand names stir a realm of emotions depending on one’s view on the luxury items. These companies benefited from the movie as their products were portrayed on an upscale successful woman with a sense of style.
Another product that is advertised even more than the designer brands is Apple. Virtually every computer shown in the movie is an iMac except for those who work under Bullock’s character. All of the higher-ranking positions in the company have iMacs, including the assistant. The use of mac computers incorporates ethos as, “it’s more realistic to use real products rather than a generic package”(Smith 2), and Apple is a worldwide known company. All of who have iMacs in the movie hold an important title, thus leading the audience to believe that all people of importance have macs. Additionally it can be inferred that if someone holds an important position, they need a computer that they can rely on, thus portraying Apple computers to be reliable. Apart from being reliable, they are also luxurious, furthering that for people of high-ranking positions, they can mix business with pleaser. In the latter half of the film, Bullock’s character goes to an Internet café to use a computer. In this portion of the film she is in a small town in Alaska that you can only reach by boat or plane. When she walks in to the café the computers available are an older version of the iMacs that are in her New York office. By instilling the Apple products in the small town in Alaska, the audience can see that not only corporate associates can use macs rather everyone can. Apple stole the show in the category of best advertisement in the film as their products were shown multiple times throughout the course of the film from beginning, middle to end, while the brand names were only shown up until the middle of the film. Apple introduces its self as compatible for lives in the business and hometown life and renders their image to be both reliable and widely distributed relating back to its appeal to ethos.
The Proposal is full of product placements and advertisements. In the production of the film it is clear that they did not have the intent to try to be subtle about it either. Apple, Hermes, Louboutin and Vuitton are just a handful of the advertisements, but as the film was so forward in their placement I will have to give them a four. The producers and directors could have blended the advertisements in with the scenes more eloquently than they did.