Thursday, March 23, 2017

Great Scott! There's Nike Everywhere!

          Product placement is often times used in television and the cinema. It can be defined as manufacturers paying for their product to be shown in a movie or TV show to gain publicity and promote their product. Sometimes it is easy to overlook product placement. Some of the items look natural in the scene which they are shown and are easily overlooked. Other times, the brand is extremely obvious. This is the case for the movie I chose: Back to the Future Part II. The most obvious brand that Back to the Future Part II promotes is Nike. This movie includes popular brands, like Nike, to show the audience these brands will still be relevant in the future, the technology for their products is superior to everyone else’s, and a likable character, Marty McFly, using the product in hopes to boost sells.

          Nike saw a great opportunity in placing their brand in Back to the Future Part II. Back to the Future Part I (1985) was a huge success, raking in $381 million, so Nike could not pass up a chance to be included in the sequel. The audience first catches a glimpse of Nike products when Marty McFly, his girlfriend, and Doc Brown time travel to the future. In order to fit in, Doc tells Marty to put a pair of special Nike shoes on. The shoes look very futuristic and possess the ability to tie themselves. Back to the Future Part II was made in 1989, and this particular scene placed in the future takes place in the year 2015. Nike was a very popular brand at the time of the movie's release, so one of the goals for this scene is attempting to tell the audience that Nike is not an ordinary fashion fad. They want everyone to know their dominance in the shoe industry will reign far into the future.

         Nike’s decision to place their brand in Back to the Future Part II was also smart due to the fact that the main character wearing them, Marty McFly, is an extremely likable character. He is a funny All-American teenager who time travels in a DeLorean. How could anyone not want to be Marty McFly? Nike’s hope was that if the audience saw Marty wearing a pair of Nike shoes, they would be inclined to go purchase a pair of their own.

          The product placement of Nike in Back to the Future Part II was extremely successful. The specific pair of shoes in the movie, The Nike MAG, instantly became a hit amongst “sneaker heads” and fans of the movie. They are still relevant today in the sense that they are featured in recent award shows, and their technology is the inspiration for a new pair of shoes set to be released by Nike later this in 2017. It cannot go unnoticed that Nike’s profits grew 45% in 1990, the year after Back to the Future II was released. Sure, this might not all be due to a popular movie being released the year before, but the correlation is not mere coincidence.

          Product placement is controversial in film. This is due to the fact that some say it takes away from the plot because people are too focused on the brands being shown. Whether or not this is the case, more often than not, product placement benefits the brand being advertised. Of all the marketing ploys companies try to promote their brand, there might not be one better than having it shown on the big screen. Back to the Future Part II exemplifies this strategy extremely well, making it a very easy decision to give the movie five stars.

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