Product Placement on a Plane

On Friday I took my life in my hands as I fought through the swarms of  Bank Holiday shoppers squabbling among the remnants of Easter eggs.  I even witnessed one small girl have a full-blown tantrum because she wasn’t going to be able to stuff her face with the Cadbury Buttons easter egg she was hoping for…  Clearly brand still is everything.

Samual L Jackson

Samuel L Jackson stars in Snakes on a Plane

And nothing made that clearer when later that afternoon I settled down to watch my latest LoveFilm rental – the 2006 action-horror Snakes on a Plane.

The story goes that the script for this firmly C-class movie was rejected over thirty times by different Hollywood studios until New Line eventually gave it the tentative green flag.  But it was getting the world’s coolest guy Samuel L. Jackson to play the FBI lead that turned this potentially dreary film into an overnight internet phenomenon.  Talk about branding in action.

If you haven’t seen the movie, it pretty much does what it says on the tin; there’s a plane, there are lots of snakes, chaos ensues.  And with an actor credited as “Man Bitten on Penis” with lines such as “Aw, fuck! Fucking bitch! Get off my dick! Aw, fuck! Fuck” there is clearly no need for sophistication.

As you may have gathered the plot doesn’t really matter, and to be honest I didn’t care – for once it was quite nice to be entertained without engaging my brain.

Yes – this film is bad, but in an eye-rollingly good way.

However, it seems to me that this serpent movie had enough cold-blooded wigglers slithering around without adding (and I’m allowed to say this because I’m in marketing)  advertising executives to the mix.

product placement

Nothing like a swig of Red Bull before you witness a grizzly murder

Red Bull gets in there early on with some beverage glugging in the opening sequence, and then later the empty can returns in a police evidence bag to link a character to the scene of a murder…  The Apple Macbook gets a full screenshot, the FBI apparently spend their afternoons shopping for porn on eBay and the Treo Smartphone is highlighted as the communication tool for reptilian disasters.

But it’s Sony who pull out all the stops… not just with chubby security guard Troy glued to his PSP for most of the movie, but they also managed to get Samuel L’s line “All praises to the PlayStation !” into the final cut – impressive.

So, in the somewhat bastardised words of Samuel L Jackson: ” I have had it with these motherf**king ads on this motherf**king plane.”



New Beginnings: Fish Finger Custard

Easter.   A time where the shops are full of cuddly toys of fluffy bunnies and fuzzy chicks.  A time when fertile buds of  fight their way through the remnants of last year’s leaf litter.

A time of new beginnings.

And for those of you who might have missed it, time for the first full-outing for BBC1’s new Doctor Who.

Chick and Bunny

Easter: An excuse to surround yourself with cute things

If we time-travel back through the last 24 months to David Tennant’s shock departure announcement, to us Doctor Who fans it felt like a kick in the stomach.  Winded,  we raced through the chaos of speculation regarding to whom the Sonic Screwdriver would pass, and held our breath through the festive season stonking Doctor-Tennant finale…  All leading up to 3rd April 2010 when young Matt Smith stood up to take hold of the Doctor Who mantle.

And he was pretty darn good.

‘Fresh’ and ‘new’ clearly are the season’s buzz-words.  There’s a new creative team on board, the theme music has been revamped, the Tardis is given the once-over, there’s a new assistant in the shape of kiss-a-gram Amy Pond ( played immaculately by Karen Gillan, who may look a tad familiar from when she appeared as a SoothSayer in the 2008  episode ‘The Fires of Pompeii’), and even a new Sonic Screwdriver.

From the outset the whole episode was about completely re-framing the Doctor.

Matt Smith has got some large shoes to fill, but his Doctor remains energetic and sharp.  He shares Tennant’s flair for comic timing and yet at the same time does not mimick his style.  Even at the climax of the episode, standing face to face with his predecessors Doctor-Number-Eleven holds his own.   The plot (the Doctor crash-lands  in a young girl’s garden, discovers a fissure in the fabric of space, and gets involved in the hunt for an escaped alien convict) pales into the background.  This episode is all about introducing a very different Son of Gallifrey.

Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor

My one criticism of the new series has to be the silly bow-tie.  But then again, the Doctor isn’t known for his wardrobe choices (Tom Baker’s stripy scarf springs to mind), so maybe it will grow on me…  I am certainly looking forward to seeing how Smith blossoms into the role.

I have to say I was sceptical at first – a crazy guy with no table manners and a strange set of taste buds didn’t seem to be the most sophisticated way to introduce the new series… but all in all this episode was spot on.

The new Doctor is exciting.  The new Companion is ballsy.  The Sonic Screwdriver’s gone green!  And this is just the beginning.

It looks like we could be in for a great twelve weeks.