TV critic Ian Hyland’s now famous review of the Sex and the City 2 goes: “This year’s worst release since the BP oil spill, with just as many f***ed-up birds.” Harsh words, but Hyland’s not alone in this assessment. The majority of movie critics hated the second adventure of the NYC quartet. They said that the movie is over-the-top ridiculous, stupid, offensive … Toronto’s The Globe and Mail even said that “It’s worse than Sex and the City 1, and that alone is a remarkable achievement.”

But apart from obviously very shallow plot, the critics were also concerned about product placement in the movie. According to Brand Channel there were 94 placements included in the first movie and we could believe that the number is even higher in the SATC 2.

Four girls in the desert

Let’s see why brands want to be a part of Sex and the City. Here are 5 reasons you have to have in mind before (or after) you watch the movie:

  1. Brands are part of girls’ lifestyle – the women change in practically every scene, they love designer’s clothes and shoes, they talk about them … In fact brands define them – in their own little NYC universe. Cynthia Nixon (Miranda) once said: “The clothes are like another character in the show. They help make it real.”
  2. Brands were heavily involved in the TV show and in the SATC 1 – consequently we could and must expect that this trend will continue in the second movie. And also in the third, fourth… So we could hear brand managers thinking: if there were brands in the first movie, then surely product placement must have been successful.
  3. There was good product placement in the TV show – at least two cases of good product placement came from the TV show Sex and the City. Carrie’s obsession with Manolo Blahnik’s shoes made him a household name and has also become one of the handful of designers whose name is synonymous with their product: “Manolo” is now used as slang to describe very expensive and very beautiful shoes. The second great product placement is Carrie’s computer – Mac. It was Carrie’s most loyal partner and all of her columns were written on Mac.
  4. The movie has and will generate a lot of good publicity – there have been a lot of announcements for the movie, reports from the New York’s world premiere, reports on brands that are involved in the movie, brand sponsored events…
  5. The movie will be a (huge) financial success – there are reports that the movie had made $14 million on opening day alone, including $3 million in midnight showings, with a projected $75 million for the first five days. Apparently the franchise has not lost its box office appeal. In 2008 SATC 1 was 11th on the US and worldwide yearly Box Office charts. Its total domestic gross was $152m and $415m worldwide. The production budget for SATC 1 was $65m, while producers needed $95m for SATC 2.

There have been a lot of brands that would like to be a part of the Sex and the City 2. For each of them the reasons mentioned above played a big part in deciding whether they should make a placement or not. But there is also a possible trap – too many brands in one movie could lead to product placement prostitution of the movie.

In my opinion that was the case in the SATC 1 and I’m afraid that it will happen in the second movie as well. Because of the amount of brands/products involved in the movie, brands couldn’t stand out from the crowd and consequently product placement can’t be as efficient as possible.