Thursday, October 9, 2014

Drugs Aren't the Only Thing They're Sellin'

Right from the very start, “products” were being thrown into the faces of the viewers of 21 Jump Street. It began with the song “The Real Slim Shady”. Slim was in a slump in his music career, and needed a funny movie to bring him out of it and put him back on the market for selling music. He was referenced twice, once with the actual song, and the second time when Jonah Hill was called “not so slim shady” due to his blonde haired resemblance (just because his music is good doesn’t mean his look is).
The next product was a simple composition book. Jonah was in the process of asking a girl to prom when in the middle of the screen you can clearly “composition.” The only way that this would be a successful product placement is because the girl with the book was very cool and attractive.  
While those 2 may have been a stretch, the director even took time out of this movie to highlight this product on many occasions, even in slow motion. Smith and Wesson bikes, accurately in the movie because they are common police bikes, but there is also a line of mountain bikes that Smith and Wesson are presumably trying to get sold as well. The park scene was considered one of the funnier scenes in the movie, so that could be considered their selling point. The cops were involved in a “high speed” drug chase around the park with these bikes so people could be desperate to get into these types of antics as well. 
 Jansport backpacks were a brand that, it is safe to assume, wanted their product specifically to be used in the movie. Channing Tatum was the user of this product and as an actor he is greatly known and loved. He appeals to pathos because he is so cool and good looking, especially good looking, so it invokes the emotion of envy and the longing to be exactly like him. And at the beginning of the movie when he was still in high school this brand of backpack was used by Tatum, and this backpack lasted all the way to when he was returning to school. Pretty darn durable if you ask me. 
As a movie that is strongly based on partying and drugs, needless to say, there was alcohol in it so this applies more to the logos of the movie. Vodka, as one of the alcohols, was involved in the house party that they threw. There was a lot of alcohol at the party, but “most placements really flatter the product. In most, the product appears like the full moon, the label always facing the camera. They hover there in an almost beautiful way. Also, they’re associated whenever possible with sympathetic characters,” (smith 2) like the protagonist who threw the house party. The vodka label was clearly shown after a huge victory to a fight, implying that vodka is the best liquor for a house party. They second alcohol was actually voiced as it was pulled out of a limo with a drunk girl and thrown into another limo, leading to the saving of the day. This implied that Tequila is the alcohol of choice for prom. Perfect timing too considering the movie came out March 12, prom is in the months of April and May, and this movie appealed highly to high school kids.
Lastly, the biggest brand of all, that without a doubt paid to have their product in the movie, was Taco Bell. When Jonah Hill showed up to the cool kids house, once he was one of them, he came baring a box of Taco Bell for his friends. Since this movie is not keen on setting good examples, it only makes sense that Taco Bell wants to be a product to this movie. Jonah brought it to the cool kids, that do drugs (and sell drugs), and it was late at night. The ethos of this drive thru restaurant is known by younger kids to be craved late at night by people who are high. But before this reputation was received, many enjoyed this “Mexican” drive thru. Shortly before the filming of this movie Taco Bell had rumors running around about them that their meat for their tacos was cat/dog meat, then it turned to cat/dog food. Although the rumors were untrue, ever since then, people were skeptical to eat here. So naturally Taco Bell did appeal to the right demographic because high schoolers and kids in college are more likely to be high than adults. And after the rumors, it is hard to believe that anyone can enjoy the thought of eating that food without being high. Hence, why they needed to be in a popular movie to get back a clean slate.

But the truth of the matter is “critics overestimate the importance of product placement in movie production” (smith 4). Not anyone I know, or me myself, would ever see a movie and think that because Channing Tatum is using a Jansport backpack then they should as well. Or, that since a popular girl uses composition books then I should too and maybe I’ll be the most popular girl in school. Unless it is a certain type of clothing or clothing store, it’s pretty safe to assume that any product placement goes unseen.

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