Product placement in pictures: Friends With Benefits
No Strings Attached and Friends With Benefits are two Hollywood movies within a year with the same concept and with lead actresses that had important parts in the brilliant Black Swan. Natalie Portman hooked up with Ashton Kutcher in No Strings Attached, while Mila Kunis’ friend with benefits was Justin Timberlake. Both movies were mediocre at best, although I liked the chemistry between Mila (Jamie) and Justin (Dylan). I thought that the two enjoyed working with each other.
Friends With Benefits follows the ancient cliché used in romantic comedies: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl. You might find the movie interesting, but you also might watch it to spot some product placement.
Let’s check some most obvious examples.
Sony is everywhere: you can spot Sony’s TV, Vaio laptop, Sony Experia mobile phones and Sony Playstation. All placements are obvious and expected, since the move has been distributed by Screen Gems, which is owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment. It looks like Sony went into product placement business seriously and Friends With Benefits is just one of the many Sony movies which is full of Sony’s product. It’s clever and efficient movie by the entertainment giant.
Mila Kunis’ character is an executive recruiter for a leading job agency in New York City, which is called Olive Bridge. If you google ‘Olive Bridge’, you would find Olive Bridge Entertainment, a production company which was responsible for Friends With Benefits and Easy A. The company was owned by the director of both movies Will Gluck and was recently acquired by Sony.
GQ (originally Gentlemen’s Quarterly) is a monthly men’s magazine focusing on fashion, style, and culture for men. The magazine was heavily involved in the movie – for more on this story please read Abe Sauer’s story in the article When it Comes to Product Placement, Captain America Has Friends With Benefits
Even though the movie was full of Sony’s products, Apple’s iPad somehow sneaked in. Mila’s character used Bible app on iPad instead of an actual book, which was a clever move from the storytelling point of view – it generated funny situation, which wouldn’t be the case if she brought The Holy Bible in a printed form.
Skyy vodka was included in the movie as a poster in Justin Timberlake’s office and they used the movie for a cross promotion and some sweepstakes. Nicely played.
There was also one intriguing placement, although I haven’t found any information about it. Dylan gave Jamie one painting as a present. It was @Ftale by a street artist called L.T. Kali, which is a kind of Banksy-like art. It looks like some sort of an internal joke, but if you find some useful information about the artist or this placement, please let me know.
On 18th October I’ve sent a message via Twitter to Sony Pictures with a simple question: “Is L.T. Kali from Friends With Benefits a real street artist or some fictional character?”
Next day I’ve received an answer:
Thanks again to Sony Pictures for a quick answer. Twitter really rocks!
Other movies from the ‘Product placement in pictures’ series: