It was a Friday night in with the Mrs, and after subjecting her to weeks of box sets of The Wire and repeats of Family Guy, I decided it was time to give in and subject myself to a chick flick.
After half an hour of me dismissing mind numbing poop like Legally Blonde 2 and The Note Book, we decided on “The Joneses” – A sparkling satire with David Duchovny and Demi Moore… best of a bad bunch I thought, but little did I know that this was marketing genius!
Not only is this product placement galore from the moment Duchovny offers his neighbour a beer (a bottle of Stella – classy) to which his neighbour exclaims “Wow you’re right! This IS a really good beer!” (whilst flashing the label to the camera), but the plot thickens when the storyline evolves into some of the most relevant marketing we all come across on a daily basis. If you don’t want to know the twist in this film then read no more…
I admit that I am one of those annoying people that keep guessing the storyline/twist throughout a film (I am usually right) and in the case of this film it’s pretty easy to figure out quite quickly, but here is the gist:
A seemingly perfect family move into a perfect house. They have everything; the latest gadgets, the newest cars, the latest golf clubs, the “in” fashion clothes – you get the picture.
But behind this perfect facade, they are actually working for a company that place perfect families fabricated from a team of top sales people and marketers in rich neighbourhoods to push products with “self marketing”. A scene where Duchovny (an ex car salesman turned life marketer) makes the perfect drive on the golf course only to mute praise with “I can’t take credit for that, it’s this new Mizuno driver” and then goes on to gush about the lightweight centre of gravity etc.. a few scenes later the mugs are using the same club.
My point here is that with all of the very effective and worthwhile marketing disciplines we use today (Research, Branding, Advertising, Digital, PR, Events, Social Media etc) consumers are fundamentally at the forefront of marketing – we want what others have!
I hear you thinking, “Whatever Dan, I make my own decisions, I’m an individual man!”
That you are, but we all follow the crowd whether you like it or not. You may be more individual than most, wearing customised clothes stitched together from “vintage” items you have picked up in a charity shop, and listen to some new style of music like electro greenhouse pop that nobody has ever heard because they are just not on your creative level, but reach into your bespoke trouser pocket and pull out that iPhone – yeah that’s right, the same phone that half of the world owns. They had it, you wanted it. Which brings my point home, and Apple have picked up on self marketing perfectly; “if you haven’t got an iPhone… well, you haven’t got an iPhone”.