With Halloween fast approaching, the streets will once again be lined with the paranormal: zombies, vampires, ghosts and more in search of tricks and treats. So, in honour of this now global tradition we shine a light on the films and TV shows that celebrate this holiday and, most importantly, the brands that take a starring role through product placement.
There once was a time where companies were scared of being connected to horror films, yet a rise in this genre’s popularity (especially amongst the hard to reach 15-25 male demographic) has led to a rise in the number of brands using product placement to appeal to that audience. Ever since the Scream and Twilight franchises, the latter of which went to gross over $1 billion, brands have been waking up to the appeal of these films and have not been frightened off by the sometime gruesome content.
Most recently with Get Out and Alien: Covenant’s opening weekends drawing in $33million, and over $36million respectively, the genre and the appetite for horror films has gone from strength to strength; culminating in this year’s fright fest by the ultimate master of horror, Stephen King with It (2017) becoming the highest grossing horror film of all time having netted over $600 million globally.
In Get Out, the break out hit which saw a return of $253.1million off just a $4.5million budget, it wasn’t just the Producers who cashed in on the film’s success. Microsoft has a starring role in the film with the Microsoft Lumia 950 phone, the Surface tablet and Bing search engine, all appearing prominently on screen.
Not only do the characters use a Microsoft tablet, but they used Bing – a Microsoft search Engine. This may be the most unrealistic bit of product placment considering that when it comes to search engines Google is the go-to resource used by over 77.43% of people online. Apart from Bring, the tech placement in the film is subtle, giving Microsoft products an organic presence in the film.
Microsoft aren’t the only tech brand to benefit from on screen exposure with the Canon EOS 7D making a cameo, with imagery that look like they could be an advertisement.
Furthermore, our heroes car, a Lincoln MKC, is given screen time front and centre coinciding with it 2017 launch.
Product placement in Alien: Covenant was literally out of this world. A successful science-fiction franchise, directed by Ridley Scott, was the perfect platform for brands to showcase their longevity. From the glossy, black Steinway piano played by Michael Fassbender’s character at the start of the movie to the AI-driven Audi Lunar Quattro, brands were more than happy to showcase their latest and greatest products in this terrifying movie.
The AI-driven Audi Lunar Quattro in particular demonstrates Audi’s advances in the field of Artificial Intelligence. “The ‘Alien’ franchise is the best way for us to garner suitable attention for the Moon rover developed by Audi, and to showcase Audi’s intelligent technologies in a visionary environment,” said Giovanni Perosino, vice president of international marketing communication at Audi.
Slightly less luxurious but just as impressive, JCB also features prominently in the film, with a fleet of over 20 gold wrapped construction vehicles appearing on screen.
It’s not just the big screen that is seeing a resurgence in the paranormal horror genre, with product placement in paranormal TV shows also on the rise. In reference to a previous tweet, Polaroid sales have increased thanks to Stranger Things. With retro products such as Polaroid cameras featuring in the series, it is a fascinating comeback for a brand that was at its height of popularity over 30 years ago. Martin Franklin, the brand’s head of global marketing, has called it the “Stranger Things Effect”. He says “people are enamoured by that 1970s and 1980s aesthetic.”
They also feature Pentax cameras, and go as far as to put them on a poster tease for the new season.
Depending on what you’re doing for Halloween: watching a scary movie, maybe dressing up as Edward or Bella Cullen in Belstaff, the appeal of horror movies to brands is going to last way past the halloweek. So the next time you are in front of the big or small screen, check out how many products you recognise in the that horror-film, it might be more than you think!