The Chosen Products
He can slow down time, is an expert in martial arts, and can even play limbo with a bullet. He is the Chosen One. Neo, in The Matrix, made all audiences envious of him by saving the world with such incredible skill. He goes into the Matrix over and over again, and his means of communication to the real world: The Nokia 8110. This cellphone was the cream of the crop in 1999, and it was even fully loaded with a button-activated slider to open by itself. After seeing the film, it might be one of the coolest phones ever made.
Product placement in The Matrix might be extremely limited, but it sure did one hell of a job with Nokia. Back in 1999, this was the smallest and lightest cellphone available from Nokia, although the real life version was not equipped with a spring-loaded slider. In the video, we see Neo getting his first look at the Nokia 8110 (Matrix Wiki). It is delivered in a FedEx package, the only other product marketed in the film itself. They make sure the audience sees the FedEx logo in its large purple and orange lettering and feels the rip of the opening with the strong, crisp sound. Immediately when he opens the package, the phone rings mysteriously, and he opens the phone with the press of a button. From here on out, that phone is his source of knowledge. He does everything it tells him to do and it becomes his life.
Right away, the movie builds the Nokia 8110’s credibility as the most reliable phone in the world. Why else would The Chosen One use it? The phone is sleek in style and flat out just looks cool. For the time period, I don’t see how everyone didn’t immediately go buy one after seeing this movie. It survives countless shootouts, fight scenes, and jumps, while always being able to make that oh so important call that saves our beloved protagonist’s life. For the other product in the film, FedEx, we only see it once. It does build some credibility because it safely delivered the phone. It is also seen as “cool” because it is in such a cool movie, but the lack of screen time makes it barely noticeable and not really remembered.
Looking at the pathos side of the product placement, the film does bring out so many strong emotions that the phone is associated with intensity. If you have this phone, every time you answer your phone, it’ll look like your taking a very serious call. For FedEx, that scene of him opening the package is pretty intense as well. But even if you remembered the scene, I don’t think every time you get a FedEx package your heart rate increases.
It makes total sense that both of these products are placed where they are in the film. I believe that FedEx would be used to deliver something in a cubical setting. With that being said, that scene is the only time in the movie where I would expect to see FedEx. If it was all throughout the film, than its logos would greatly decrease. As for the Nokia 8110, it too is placed throughout the movie well. There is logic behind Neo needing a reliable cellphone wherever he goes. He needs to be in contact with his team at all times because his life depends on it.
The advertising inside the movie maybe small, but outside the film was used to market several other products. For example, in 2014, fifteen years after the movie’s release, Kia teamed up with The Matrix and made a very clever commercial. It plays right off of the movie and pulls strongly on the ethos the film created with its fans. Mostly everyone knows the scene where Morpheus, the wise captain, offers Neo a blue and red pill. If he takes the blue pill, he would go on with his boring, normal life. But if he takes the red pill, his world would change. The Kia commercial does the same, but with keys, the red key being the cool, new Kia. There isn’t much logic behind the commercial since I don’t think Morpheus is a valet on the weekends, but it does bring out emotions from fans. It’s been a long time since the last time we saw him, so when we do, we remember his ethos and miss him. Using that, we relate to the commercial and respect what he says. The only problem with the commercial is that not everyone knows who he is. As author Louis Giannetti said, “Character alone may not carry an argument, however, and the character [of the add] might not speak to everyone” (Giannetti, p.56). If someone watching this had no clue what The Matrix is, they would be completely lost and it would not have served its purpose.
Advertising in The Matrix was extremely well done in regards to Nokia, and the Kia commercial based off of the movie did a fantastic job at playing towards Matrix fans. As for FedEx, it was barely shown and did not have much of an effect.With all of that being said, I give the product placement and advertising done with The Matrix four out of five pickles.