Did Jurassic World Go Too Far With the Product Placements?

We have to get used to brands in movies, but we don't always have to like it.

Jurassic World is a bonafide blockbuster, breaking the box office record for an opening weekend in the US and abroad. Now that so many people have seen the movie, there are a ton of various debates being had. Can you outrun a dinosaur in heels? Is the Jurassic World that we see on screen scientifically sound? Who is that brave man who made sure to save himself and his margaritas when all hell broke loose?

There’s also the question about product placement. These days, a mega hit movie doesn’t get made without some help from the sponsors. Though it’s counterintuitive-brands want their presence known when they spend money to be a part of a project-the best way to execute a product placement is somewhat inconspicuously. A brand’s role in a movie should be fairly seamless.

The most conspicuous brands in Jurassic World (IMHO) were Starbucks and Mercedes. As BrandChannel points out, Mercedes was a part of Jurassic Park 20 years ago. So it’s not a surprise that their cars would be in this movie as well. In fact, there’s a whole backstory to their inclusion in this movie. As a result, you couldn’t help but to notice during certain scenes that the director took clear pains to make sure that the insignia on the cars was just as much in the shot as Chris Pratt or a velociraptor.

On the other hand, there’s a scene in the film when Jurassic World guests are under attack by the escaped dinosaurs and as everyone is screaming and fleeing the food court, the green Starbucks sign is clearly seen in the background. Unlike with Mercedes, it’s something I noticed in passing, but it was enough to get me thinking, “So Starbucks even made it to Jurassic World.”

As the BrandChannel story shows, I wasn’t the only one who noticed the product placement enough to give it a second or third thought. The Hollywood Reporter has a ton of others that popped up throughout the film (Brookstone, Ben & Jerry’s and Margaritaville, of course).

Among marketers, there’s a consensus that consumers, especially younger ones, have grown weary and skeptical about traditional advertising and PR. Product placement in films, TV and even music videos is quickly becoming lumped in with these other marketing forms. If you follow along with shows like Project Runway or The Bachelorette on Twitter, you see that viewers are quick to point out when a brand becomes too much a part of the action, letting the world know that the producers have failed to slip a marketing message past them unnoticed. The same thing is now happening to movies.

The Washington Post calls it “a cringe-worthy fact of life for the theater-going crowd” before going into detail about just how much Mercedes was involved in the storytelling in Jurassic World. This is where marketing savvy has to come into play. “Modern marketers see corporate tie-ins as increasingly valuable, because of the potential for a product’s placement getting shared or talked about for days on end, ” the article continues. A savvy marketer has to know where to draw the line between what the viewer will accept as another “fact of life” and what becomes worthy of an epic eye roll. You want to be talked about in a positive way when the movie is over. To do that, brands have to find a way to be part of the action in a way that viewers will appreciate.