June 14, 1996 in Seven

Big-Ticket Merchandise Going For Product Placement

Patricia Rodriguez Fort Worth Star-Telegram

It’s got Tom Cruise, it’s got high-tech gadgets, it’s got the familiar theme music from “Mission Impossible.”

But this fast-paced commercial isn’t selling the new movie. It’s plugging the Apple Power Book - the computer Cruise’s character uses in the movie.

Welcome to the new and improved world of product placement in the movies. Normally used to conspicuously plant small consumer items such as potato chips or fast-food meals, companies now are placing big-ticket items in prominent places - and sometimes even using the movies to advertise the product as well.

That’s a Triumph motorcycle that Pamela Anderson Lee is astride in the movie “Barb Wire.”

The BMW in “GoldenEye” - the Miatalike Z3 - was extensively promoted as James Bond’s newest ride, drawing big crowds at car shows and in dealer showrooms.

In the upcoming alien invasion flick “Independence Day,” an Apple Power Book will again be front-and-center.

One of the most aggressive companies in pursuing entertainment tie-ins is Apple, maker of the Power Book promoted in “Mission Impossible.” The company’s products have appeared in about 60 movies a year for the past two years, said Suzanne Forlenza, who works in product placement for Apple.

But, says Greg Regian of Regian & Wilson Advertising and Public Relations in Fort Worth, a company that has engineered product placements for clients, most prominently a Dairy Queen tie-in to the “Dennis the Menace,” “If you’re asking me whether (product placement) works or not, look at Apple’s sales. They obviously have other problems in their bigger business plan, not just whether they’re getting in a lot of movies or not.”

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