Product placement

Jessica and I went to see Minority Report today.

I enjoyed the film. My expectations were kept in check by Matt’s summation that…

"The movie was heralded as something akin to Bladerunner or 2001 when it’s maybe a Gattaca at best."

The film is tense and enjoyable as long as you don’t think too much about some of those gaping plot holes.

One of the things I liked about the movie was the way that it addressed the issue of invasion of privacy vs. customer convenience. We’re shown a future where the same technology the government uses to keep tabs on all its citizens is used by commercial companies for targetted advertising.

It’s the kind of thing that’s easy to imagine considering present day customisation - the kind practiced by Amazon.

If the invasive advertising shown in Minority Report were to be applied today, nobody would stand for it. However, if you imagine small increments over time, applying Amazon’s targetting to the real world, it’s easy to imagine how we could arrive at that point.

[If you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will fight for its life. Place the frog in a pot of cold water and apply the heat slowly. The frog fails to notice the subtle increase in temperature and is boiled alive.]

Of course, while Spielberg was making his point about the advertising of the future, he also managed to get plenty of screen time for some well known brands. It’s telling that all the firms that are used to illustrate the future vision of advertising are firms that are around today.

They might actually be jinxing themselves. If I recall, Blade Runner featured some prominent ads for Atari and 2001 quite clearly showed a future with Pan-Am.

Speaking of product placement gone mad…

Before the movie we watched the usual parade of trailers (and it was hard enough sitting through a trailer for Scooby-doo; I can’t imagine the torture of sitting through the actual movie).

One of the trailers was for a movie, starring Benicio Del Toro, called Lucky Star. It looked pretty good. In fact, it looked like being the best movie of all the trailers that were shown.

The thing is… there is no movie.

The trailer, directed by Michael Mann, is one big product placement sponsered by Mercedes Benz.

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