Italian Job Well Done
Is it possible for one movie to completely change the way you look at a product? In the case of The Italian Job (2003) and Mini Coopers, it most definitely is. Before watching the film a few years back, I believed the cars to be driven solely by Brits and women in their mid-twenties. However, after seeing these shifty cars outmaneuver and ultimately escape typical muscle cars and a HELICOPTER, my opinion was forever changed. Mini Coopers had been used in the original film (1969), and were an integral part for the remake. The extent of their presence, however, is what links the movie and the car in every viewers’ mind; they even make an appearance on one of the film's movie posters (see above). Kendis Gibson, a writer for CNN, ensures her readers that it is totally acceptable if they “confused the movie with a commercial for BMW’s Mini Coopers” (Gibson). For the amount of time they spent on screen, I would have expected them to be listed in the credits. Even the director, F. Gary Gray, called the cars “part of the cast.” The use of actors such as Mark Wahlberg and Jason Statham give Mini Cooper’s a more edgy image and appeal to a completely different audience than before. The two aforementioned actors are known for their roles as the quintessential badass guy. As a guy, I can confirm that before the movie I would never have even thought of buying of those “girly” cars, but now I could totally see myself behind the wheels of one of those amazing driving machines. The ethos of a certain actor, or group of actors, can go a long way in the advertising world. On the other end, Charlize Theron presents a convincing argument for women in their mid-twenties to continue to buy these cars. Her character is a no-nonsense safecracker who speedily, yet nimbly, drives her Mini Cooper through traffic to and from work.
It is crucial for the product that is placed in a film to not only be displayed prominently, but in a good light. When talking about presentation, Lunsford argues that arrangement is important, but it is imperative to also “deliver a good show” (Lunsford 346). The director and editors did a phenomenal job of putting on a fantastic show, with Mini Coopers at center stage. Below is a gif that features on of the many iconic scenes involving the upgraded cars performing borderline unrealistic stunts.
To make the stunts they perform appear more logical, the characters install higher quality engines and other bells and whistles to the tiny road warriors (logos). Even with a chopper, antagonist Steve (Edward Norton) could not stop the tricked out Mini Coopers. Other companies made smaller appearances throughout the film, Napster being the second most mentioned, and Pepsi being another memorable brand. However, it was BMW’s Mini Coopers that stole the show and ultimately turned the film into an hour and fifty-one-minute commercial. For those who have not seen this film, I highly recommend it as a top-notch heist film and an excellent example of product placement.
Overall, it would be hard to give the film and the company’s product anything other than five stars, when it was the very first film to pop into my head once the topic was introduced.