The day after the art’s colloquium next week I’m off to London to present yet another paper. This time it’s on product and brand placement in movies. The venue is the 19th Academic Design Management Conference as the argument in this paper is that the exposure of products and brands in popular media shapes our understanding of a product, symbolical associations strengthen visual design.

Abstract:

Product placement, and brand placement, is a practice that is increasingly used to expose both products and brands in cultural productions: film, TV, video game etc. The aim of this is to construct associations between a product, or brand, and what is exposed in the cultural production. The effect is thus a transfer of values from the cultural production to the product.

Brands are pivotal aspects of any design venture. In order to construct a coherent set of values, and consumer understanding, of a product the brand and physical product need to communicate the same values. Brands thus have a possibility to strengthen design.

Using the morphology of the Russian formalist of Vladimir Propp this paper aim to explore the effect of product placements of Ducati motorcycles in films. Through the analysis of 15 film published between 2010-2013 the presence of Ducati motorcycles are related to narrative and characters in order to understand associations constructed in product placement.

The results in this paper show that while there is weak relationships between narrative aspects of the films, there are strong relationships between the Ducati motorcycle and the characters in the films. This is most evident in the relationship between the ‘helper’ character and the Ducati motorcycle as a tool for exploration and adventure.