Film Industry & Advertising - the Truman Show

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In the early days of the film industry, narrative films were only one to two minutes long. Before then, all longer-production films were made simply for evidence of certain events or advertising. Audiences in the 1800’s were attracted to films not because of their narrative content but instead to their apparent visual effects. Because of this low interest in the film industry, funding was made possible by product placement of recognizable brand names. As Leon Gurevitch explains in The Cinemas of Transactions, early cinematic attractions share more in common with the adverts that emerged from the television industry in the 1950’s than they do with commercial films. This format of film was much better suited to advertising, as opposed to the more complex narrative films that surfaced once the industry had become more organized. In 2005, separate firms paid up to 722 million dollars in fees for promotional support in films, while in 2002, Volkswagen spent roughly 200 million dollars to be integrated into NBC Universal Films. It was predicted that by 2010, these fees would have reached 1.8 billion. The top ten most shameless product-placements in Movie History have been recorded as; - E.T with Hershey’s - Little Nicky with PopEye’s Chicken - The Thomas Crown Affair with Pepsi - Transformers with GM - Minority Report with GAP - You’ve Got Mail with AOL and Starbucks - I, Robot with Converse - The Island with Xbox - The Wizard with Nintendo - Mac and Me with McDonalds In The Truman Show, the product-placement is used as a symbol towards the fact that nothing on the Truman Show is real. Since the television program that is his life plays nonstop without commercial interruption, the funding is devised through product placement. Advertisements are not-so-seamlessly woven into dialogue and scenes, turning Truman’s life into a continuous commercial.

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