Product placement is not something we usually pay attention to in movies, but when we do it becomes so common and obvious. In the movie, This is Spinal Tap, there is tons of product placement from the extremely obvious, to the more hidden.
By far the biggest and most obvious product placement in This is Spinal Tap is Marshall Amplifiers. All the amps the band uses in the film are Marshall and they can easily be seen in all the on-stage scenes with the logo clearly visible. In addition, a Marshall amp head is featured in one of the most famous scenes from the movie. Nigel Tufnel, the lead guitarist, is showing the amp off and pointing out the unique fact that it “goes to eleven”. Marshall amps would benefit from this advertisement because the movie is all about the heavy metal rock band. This establishes ethos for Marshall because if a rock band uses their amps for big gigs, then it must be a good guitar amp. On the other hand, it also establishes credibility for the movie since Marshall is a well-known brand used by many famous musicians. Pathos is used to advertise the amp in the form of humor. There is a joke that the amp “goes up to eleven,” while most go to ten. This has become such a famous phrase and people will likely want a Marshall amp that goes to eleven after watching this movie.
Another obvious product placement is Gibson guitars. Throughout the film, the band uses many different types of guitars, but the majority of them are Gibson. There is a scene where Nigel is showing off his guitar collection, and the room is filled with Gibson’s and just a few other guitars. He shows off two Gibson Les Paul guitars and talks about what is great about them. This is obvious advertisement for the guitars as he describes them as “unbelievable” and “perfect”. Logos is used to advertise the guitars as Nigel raves about the sustain that the guitar is capable of. This fact coming from one of the main characters, helps make the guitar brand look good. Ethos is established for both Gibson and the movie in a similar way as Marshall. A rock guitarist playing Gibson guitars in the film makes Gibson look good, while having the well-known Gibson brand in the film makes This is Spinal Tap look good.
One of the less obvious product placements in Heineken beer. There are three different scenes that Heineken appears in. In each one the band members are sitting around, talking and there is a Heineken box and bottles in plain sight, with the logo clearly visible. This portrays Heineken as the beer that rockers drink, so it appeals to the audience. One scene in particular does a good job of advertising the beer as a fun beer. The band members are all on their tour bus and they are joking around and having a good time. A Heineken box can be seen, suggesting that this is what they have been drinking. This use of pathos to create a fun and happy scene makes Heineken seem like a good choice of beer for a fun time with friends.