In 2013, the Chinese version of Iron Man 3 included a ridiculous scene which asked viewers the ultimate question: “What does Iron Man rely on to revitalize his energy?” The answer, of course, is Yili’s Gu Li Duo milk drink! At the time, many felt that this kind of thing was a cultural difference which would never make its way into American media. While we’ve been comfortable for a while with Sony electronics products littering the backgrounds of Sony movies and brand logos plastered throughout the scenery of our films and shows, there’s been a general consensus that, in America, Iron Man should only be drinking milk when the nuance of the storytelling calls for it. A recent report, however, shows that things may be changing.
Variety reports that tonight, Snickers candy bars will be prominently featured in a two-minute segment connected to some behind-the-scenes material during Fox’s airing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again!: a shiny new remake that nobody asked for. Variety further reports that Fox has spent the day posting 15 second teasers related to the Snickers content, which Mars Candy Company has been reposting and sharing across the internet. No competing candy commercials are allowed to air during this event.
While this description doesn’t make it sound like Snickers bars are going to take over the show, we are inching dangerously close to product placement being more highly valued than the story itself. Variety’s article also mentions a recent decision of Fox to thread Pepsi advertisements throughout its presentation of Empire, blurring the lines between what was a Pepsi commercial and what was a scene from Empire.
Based on the early reviews for the Rocky Horror remake (it’s currently hovering in the 30% range on Rotten Tomatoes), it seems like Fox should have spent more time focusing on the quality of the production rather than figuring out how to expand their advertising opportunities. As entertainment companies continue to find new ways to maximize profitability, hopefully there will be at least one executive in the room who will remind everyone that the integrity of story needs to be the most sacred element of the film.