Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dumb Characters, Smart Advertising

Product Placement in Dumb and Dumber

When you watch a movie, either in the theater or on TV, you don’t think you’re being subjected to advertisements during the film. Instead, you think they occur before the film, such as trailers, or during the commercial breaks that you skip on DVR. However, there are hidden ads in the movie that you can’t skip, these are in the form of product placement. The movie Dumb and Dumber is a comedy about two stupid friends, Harry and Lloyd (Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey), who travel across the country to return a “forgotten” suitcase full of money to a pretty lady in Aspen, Colorado. Little do they know the money is connected to a kidnapping, so their journey is being followed by the FBI and a gang of villains who want their ransom. This movie has a lot of product placement, with the brands Coca-Cola®, and Samsonite.

The most memorable instance of product placement in the movie is about the Samsonite suitcase that holds the money. This is because it is the most explicit, as the character himself calls out the brand many times, thinking that it is the last name of the owner instead of the suitcase label. This has a comedic effect for the movie, and is great advertising because fans will remember it, and consumers are more likely to purchase from brands they are familiar with. For this reason, ethos is used as Samsonite creates a brand for the film.

The next partnership is with Coke. In the scene where Harry and Lloyd are in a hot tub at a motel, there is a  can of the soda cleverly placed in the background. When the camera pans out to the outside of the motel, there is an entire Coca-Cola vending machine displayed. This placement creates pathos, since the characters are displayed relaxing and enjoying themselves, it hints that the audience should relax and enjoy a Coke. In Everything's an Argument, great things happen ”if only you drink the right soda” (Ruszkiewicz and Lunsfsord ,95). This is great product placement because when I saw the can of Coke, I got thirsty and paused the movie to go get a drink.

I think the product placement in this movie was good for several reasons. Firstly, there weren't many products or brands that were advertised, Every place the characters visited, the clothes they wore, and even the cars they drove, didn't have logos. I think limited products are good for the movie because too many would distract from the plot or be noticeable. It is also good for the partnering products because there is less competition, more focus on their brand. I give it 4 out of 5 stars because the products and the film were mutually benefited by the partnership, the advertising worked and it was a good movie. 
Image result for four stars


Lunsford, Andrea A., and John J. Ruszkiewicz. Everything's an Argument. 7th ed. Boston:
Bedford/St. Martin's, 2016.

Wessler, Charles B, Brad Krevoy, Steven Stabler, Peter Farrelly, Bennett Yellin, Bobby Farrelly, Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly, and Karen Duffy. Dumb and Dumber. United States: Alliance Atlantis, 2005.

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