Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cast Away Product Placement

            Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks tells the story of a FedEx employee who becomes stranded on an island after his plane crashes in the South Pacific. After five lonely years, Chuck Nolan (Tom Hanks) and his best friend Wilson find the strength to get off of the island to return to Chuck’s love Kelly and to return an un-opened FedEx package to its rightful owner.
            FedEx uses Cast Away to promote their name by using product placement. The name “FedEx” shows up on screen many times throughout the film, whether on trucks, boxes, or planes. The FedEx Company plays a large role in the film and begins their product placement within the first minute of the movie. Cast Away begins focused on a FedEx truck as it picks up a package from a mechanic in
the United States. The “FedEx” name continues to show up until the last few minutes of the film.
            The product placement of FedEx in the film Cast Away was unique in the fact that the name and company itself played a major role in the film. During an interview with Sandra Munoz, a FedEx spokeswoman, she stated, “People find it hard to believe, but we didn’t pay a dime to be in the movie. The moviemakers approached us. And we had to think long and hard about whether to participate” (Dave Hirschman, Cox News Service, Par. 4). With FedEx being approached by the moviemakers instead of the other way around, the company was given the opportunity of free publicity, and a lot of it. What made the decision complicated was the fear of bad publicity due to the inclusion of a terrible plane crash that kills four employees and leaves Tom Hanks stranded on an island. But FedEx believed that “the script highlighting the company’s humble origins, its global reach, and can-do spirit outweighed the aircraft disaster”(Hirschman, Cox News Service, Par. 5). The determination of Chuck Nolan to return the package to its owner promotes the drive of FedEx employees to deliver a package, no matter the circumstance.
            After losing Kelly to another man, the movie ends with Chuck finding his new path and meeting the owner of the package, a young woman who appears to be single. After delivering the un-opened package to an unanswered door, Chuck leaves the package on the doorstep with a note attached that reads “This package saved my life”. This phrase depicts FedEx packages as something worth living for, their delivery being first priority, and brings the FedEx name into a positive light. To add, the idea that FedEx can bring a fresh start and a new hope was brought out through the last few scenes of the film. FedEx played such a major role in the film that a commercial was made using Cast Away as its base (
            Wilson also used Cast Away to promote their name as well as products by using product placement and by playing a major role in the film. Like FedEx, the product placement of Wilson was not first intended for advertising but was planned by the film’s writers to be in the movie from the start. Wilson, a volleyball that washes up on shore becomes Chuck’s best friend as he battles loneliness on the uninhabited island. According to Michael L. Maynard, the chair of the Department of Advertising at Temple University, and Megan Scala, a PhD candidate at Temple University, Wilson received ten and a half minutes of airtime throughout the film (Maynard, Scala, Par. 19). With Wilson taking on human characteristics and playing the role as Chuck’s best friend, the film depicts the Wilson Company as a companion and a friend. Also, the movie plays through a five-year time span and Wilson is present during all five years. This factor further supports the “friendship” that Wilson has with its customers and also promotes the durability and quality of a Wilson made product. To add, the struggle of Wilson and Chuck promote the idea that through tough and challenging times, Wilson will be there. (

            Both companies benefitted from the film’s release, FedEx experiencing an increase in sales and Wilson coming out with the new Wilson Cast Away volleyball (, Par. 6). After watching the film, I believe that this movie is deserving of five nachos due to superb acting by Tom Hanks and the unbelievable plot that brings excitement to its audience.

No comments:

Post a Comment