Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Jones and Product Placement

On the flight to Copenhagen, I ended up choosing to watch The Jones because its premise seemed interesting: four people (David Duchovny, Demi Moore, Amber Heard, and Ben Hollingswoth) pretend to be a family in order to promote a variety of products to a community of wealthy folks who are lemmings.  This "family" is employed by a corporation (led by Lauren Hutton) that does this in a bunch of places to get folks to imitate and adopt new products.  So, it is not a con but advertising....

This could have been a pretty clever satire about the commodification of self-value and so forth.  But for 3/4's of the movie, the folks are shilling a mix of real and fake products (the cheap food stuffs are fake, I think), and the real stuff is probably the result of product placement.  So, on the one hand, this makes the movie a bit more realistic with real stuff, but, on the other hand, the movie is selling products that most people cannot afford (indeed, Gary Cole's character bankrupts himself keeping up with the Jones). Kind of undercuts the message, methinks. 

Mad Men does deal with real stuff (and I am not thrilled about having to wait a week to see the episode that plays tonight--have to watch the Will Ferrell basketball comedy instead!), but not in ways that undermine what they are trying to do, but exactly in ways that emphasize the themes. 

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