Wreck It Ralph is a smorgasbord of story and elements. Its plot includes many different worlds, its worlds include many different characters, and its characters interact with many different advertisements. And when I say many, I mean many. To name a few, Wreck It contains in-story advertisements such as Subway, Nesquik, Laffy Taffy, Oreo, and if you would like to count them, all of the characters from past-time arcade games such as Pac Man and Bowser. These product placements are very easy to spot, but do happen to be very clever.
The first advertisement seen is Subway. The advertisement comes in the arcade as a little girl sets down her stack of quarters right next to a Subway drink cup which is solely focused on for about twenty seconds. This advertisement lack pathos. The subway cup is placed in a scene without any emotion or feeling. It is just the cup in the scene. It also is not food, it does not look appealing, it does not make you hungry or crave subway. On the other hand, this could be a marketing strategy on Subway’s part. Subway may be trying to make its way into a place it typically is not, the family, as opposed to trying to make you crave it. Wreck It is a family movie and Subway is a restaurant not only suitable for family, but good for it. By putting Subway in a family movie full of candy and dessert ads, Subway gains ethos. It is something that is healthy to feed your children. It is more ethical or morally responsible to advertise more nutritious items, giving credibility. Essentially Wreck It Ralph is “making an argument based on the character of the company” (Lunsford pg.53). When examining the ads by Subway for Wreck It Ralph, it becomes apparent that this was the case. Subway’s VP of global marketing was quoted as saying that “[Wreck It Ralph and Subway] both have something we can offer everyone in the family” (Variety.com). I believe that Subway and Wreck It Ralph are truly able to achieve that goal.
The other advertisement I truly enjoyed was Nesquik. While on a search in the Sugar Rush game, two of the main characters fall into a deep pit off of a candy cane branch. The pit is brown and powdery, like Nesquik chocolate milk powder. This gives the argument ethos as it looks realistic. The characters start to drown in the sand and a sign pops up. “NesquikSand”. This was a very clever advertisement, mixing the characters predicament of being in quick sand with the title of the product. Wreck It Ralph was able to assimilate the advertisement into something that fit the story and was funny. By doing so the ad gained pathos for causing laughter and logos for making sense. Since Nesquik is such a renowned and familiar product, the pure exposure of its logo is argument enough. The logo itself has become so well known that it creates pathos. Seeing the logo makes you think of a chocolate ‘stache, sitting with mom at the table, and of a spoon in a brown glass of milk. This is explained in Understanding Movies by Giannetti when he asserts that ““Sometimes images have the ability to persuade by sheer pathos”. This ability stems from the commonality of Nesquik. The product is also fitting of the movie as it is a child targeted food just as the movie is a children’s movie. The advertisement that came from Nesquik to Wreck It was relatively the same, just placing the two together. The same effect works here since both the product and movie are well-liked and well-known, the pure presence of the ads are enough.
I think Wreck It Ralph is the cutest movie I have ever seen. In terms of product placement, it is hard to say if it matched up (product placement is hard to make cute). Though the advertisements all contained ethos, pathos, and logos, they have been criticized for being too obvious and overdone. I, however, have decided that sometimes obvious works. The advertisement in Wreck It Ralph, though easily recognizable, effectively give off the impression intended by the products. For that, I give the product placement 3 pickles. (Maybe I am biased because I love chocolate milk.)