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back to article Apple 'outstrips' all brands at box office

Apple may not sell the number-one personal computer, but it does lead in one important metric of consumer culture: movie product placement. "Apple products appeared in 30% of all films that were number one at the US box office in 2010, outstripping product placements by any other single brand," the brand-trackers at Brandchannel …

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Linux

Not forgetting

Another contributing factor is that Steve Jobs owns an influential share of Disney which in turn owns lots of film production companies. Hence pedaling Apple's wares.

Two films gave FOSS support this year, Tron Legacy (Ubuntu) and The Social Network (KDE 3.x)

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Boffin

Ownership

I doubt it's due to studio ownership, but more due to a different type of ownership: personal items.

Yes, Apple has been a long-time favorite of movie studios. They like have dozens of the kit laying around, from actor/producer's laptops on set to full workstations for review, etc. Why nip down to the corner Apple Store to pick up an atrociously expensive piece of kit when you can just grab one from a nearby backpack or neighboring room? It's product placement due to convenience.

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Brilliant marketing ...

I am NOT an Apple fan, but they must be applauded on their marketing and the way they manage to create the perception of ubiquitousness (when in reality, their overall share of global markets is pretty small) and desirability (using 'role models' to use their stuff publically) and 'premiumness' (which attracts a high price).

I don't think their products are the best or anything special beyond the 'looks' category - but their marketing is clearly streets ahead of everybody else!

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Re

Was it also brilliant marketing when cigarette companies used subliminal advertising to indoctrinate kids into smoking? Apple does the same thing...

I always was amused when Apple would "donate" computers to schools. The concept is that if children are forced to use their products at a young age they'll be so brainwashed that they'll use them in the future. Based on what I saw in college and grad school, it seems to be working with the people who are unable to form their own thoughts.

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Happy

Wow, a little out of touch....are you?

Yes, because most people coming out of schools when Apples were the norm (85-95) have Macs now. Actually, most in that age spectrum do not, or absolutely hate them. Especially the MSofties working in IT.

You are likening Apple, a computer company that makes a good, working product, to cigarette companies, who KNOWINGLY add harmful chemicals to their cigarettes to make them more addictive? This is a proven fact. Can't be debated.

Try slamming gaming companies if you want to slam someone in the field of electronics/computing. This crap isn't gonna fly with me....

SMILE!

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Unhappy

Former Apple user

I grew up with the fruity computers. Alas, that was in the Jobs-free era, when you could tinker a bit with the OS and the Resource Kits with ResEdit, and they actually had an edge over their PC brethren (and a lot of other PCs that didn't run the MS-flavored OS). I did find it ridiculous that some movies like The Net would show UNIX running on Macs, but back then they were actually cutting edge.

I now keep myself away from Macs, thanks to the Jobsian cult, the fact that the hardware is now the same crap in generic PCs (but shiny!) and finally, that a good chunk of the Mac userbase is now full of aggressive fanbois. No quantity of marketing will change my mind, even if I used to like the Mac platform!

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Totals

Does that include the not-so-subtle use of a pear on the laptop lid instead of an apple? We all know it is meant to be an Mac of some flavour but presumably they are trying to slide past some regulation through pseudo-satire.

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Bits Missing

If Apple's logo wasn't a mouldy old piece of half-eaten fruit, I might consider buying some of their stuff.

Microsoft don't fare much better. The first letter "O" in their logo is somewhat the worse for wear after having suffered an encounter with a ticket inspector.

Oh, the terrible irony of it all.

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Ugh

I don't mind products being in a film if they're just there. If someone is in a movie drinking a Coke, fine. People drink Coke, this is ordinary. But there is definitely a line to cross. Seeing a Nokia in a Star Trek film, for example, though there are many, many other reasons to loathe Star Trek 11.

As for Apple, I remember what they did to Blade Trinity. Now THAT was blatant!

"Ooh, I just love killing vampires while listening to my iPod!" BASTARDS.

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Unfortunately...

Product placement has taken the edge off what used to be a rather good way of adding realism to a science fiction film. Kubrik did it with 2001 as a way to ground his audience with the reality of his future images. There are many logos around the film but they are in context and subtly placed so as to extend a realism. Many other films of the period used the device too.

Bladerunner, on the other hand, may have gone a little over the top...

And as for Alien/s, well we all buy from Weyland-Yuttani now - don't we?

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Anonymous Coward

according to

According to Drama every computer in Japan is an apple, except ones used by l77t haxxorz they use linux on a usb stick plugged into a netbook.

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Unhappy

It's...

....l33t....

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Anonymous Coward

lol

yes that was quite the typo 1337 would do but l77t o.O;; I must have missed my first coffee of my day.

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Coat

How about Cancer Drug Product Placements?

I'll get me coat...

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It's not all product placement.

OK, maybe it is in Hollywood, but some authors and screenwriters help define their characters by choosing the stuff they use with care. That is why the decision to allow PP in TV drama in the UK is such a pain in the arse. Viewers will assume that everything is just paid-for placement.

Another victory for commerce over art. :-(

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Not always...

While product placement is no doubt the reason for the majority of Apple's screen presence, don't forget that for smaller (read poorer) movies set dressing may involve grabbing what's to hand at the time and a lot of Art departments are stuffed with Macs as their tool of choice. Maybe it's not too suprising really.

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Jobs Halo

Supernatural

Is a weird one - in the series they use apple macbook pros - but with the apple logo hidden and the thing running some sort of linux flavour...

wonder if that counts.

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House

I recently watched a few box sets of House, and noticed that they switched from Dell exclusively to Apple in later series.

Any hospital I've been in in the UK has used cheap Dell "fleet" boxes.

The one product placement that I do think that script writers / props people should take care of is that with cars. Steve Coogan used to be good at this - Partridge had a Rover 800, 200 and Lexus (I think he would have a 3 series or an A4 if it was still on), Cheeseman had a Probe (Again would probably have a 3 coupe or A5 nowadays) and Saxondale had a Mustang and a small works Rascal / Kangoo.

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Happy

Indeed...

What about the ones where the logo is covered up. Kids show Sonny With a Chance I think it was, they even put a pear shaped logo over the Apple logo on a MacBook!

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Gates Halo

just not used for real work

My favourites are the shows where many computers might be seen in a scene - offices, police squad rooms, etc. - where the Apple logo figures prominently in the mix of machines on view, yet when the camera has to zoom in on a screen to show what a character is working on (as part of the plot), it's always a WIndows desktop we see.

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Desktop

A lot of the time on TV shows, when they show the desktop it seems to be some unrecognisable, yet familiar desktop.

It is as if someone has mocked up a UI in flash, or made a new KDE skin.

A blooper that was noticable, in Sundays 'Wild at Heart', a supposed GPS signal tracking some baboon or leopard or something was shown, but the media player "play" icon could also be seen at the bottom.

How hard would it have been to have went full screen and then moved the mouse out of the road before filming it?

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Re

That is because when Big Boys have work to get done they use Windows. There is a reason why many Macs come with the ability to boot to Windows, but no Windows machines come with the ability to boot to OSX.

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Happy

Office Space!

HURRY COPY.....Mac OS, then log out to C;/ Prompt!

....before Lumbergh fucks her.

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FAIL

Not so big boys

People who think they're big boys use Windows. People who are actually big boys use Unix systems to get their big work done, say like a 12 core Mac Pro system for Final Cut. And what a pathetic comment about Windows machines not coming with the "ability" to boot OSX. There's no such thing as a "Windows" machine. PC's are agnostic about what they run, it just happens that Macs support all the major OS's whereas regular PC's don't run OS X unless you do some fairly easy EFI hacking.

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I seem to remember...

... that there was some rumpus quite a long time ago now where Microsoft (I think) wanted to start charging royalties for showing a Windows interface in films and TV, after which there was this mass move to showing custom interfaces even on recognisable hardware. I could be suffering from memory corruption, mind.

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MS Royalties

That explains that then.

Thanks

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g e
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HTC / Android

Fringe

That is all :oD

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FAIL

I dont care where u place it..

Apple iprices are too high.. I have an ipod purely because it was a crimble prezzie.. I run a liquid cooled linux box at home... a simple dual booted Toshibe x86 lappy and a Frisco android fone. sure Id love a nice shiny macbook pro or an iphone4 but NOT at those grossly inflated prices!

No Sale here.. wasted effort.

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Tightwad

"Apple iprices are too high.. I have an ipod purely because it was a crimble prezzie.. I run a liquid cooled linux box at home... a simple dual booted Toshibe x86 lappy and a Frisco android fone. sure Id love a nice shiny macbook pro or an iphone4 but NOT at those grossly inflated prices!

No Sale here.. wasted effort."

Geez. Just stick it on your credit card.

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Re

First, there is a reply function, why wasn't this post removed by moderation?

Second, I think the global recession would like to have a word with you back behind the woodshed about "just put it on your credit card".

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Gates Horns

Microsoft

I've noticed in a lot of US shows these days any laptops and monitors tend to have the Microsoft Windows flag logo on them. I first noticed it in The Guild but it seems to be now occurring on many US TV shows such as Chuck, Bones and whatnot.

Maybe Microsoft are trying to copy the Apple logo but I do wonder if as many people recognise the Windows flag as much as the Apple logo?

At least one thing, in Chuck it's good to spot the geeky things in the background, such as the latest episode had a Super NES in the background.

Rob

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Deadline Hollywood

Based on what I see in the coffee places in the neighborhood, there's an 80% chance our intrepid Woz 3D penner is writing it on a MacBook.

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Paris Hilton

Placement brilliance.

I think i would have to give Apple the ultimate accolade for this. Many years ago on Home and Away (crappy .au soap) they actually had the characters in the show read out the specs of the (original) iMac as part of the "plot", along with a long running contest within the series to win the iMac. After it was predictably won by one of the regular cast it sat prominently in the background of their house for a long time! All of the product placement since then pales in comparison.

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Re: Brilliant marketing

Indeed, and it's frustrating that even among geeks who are usually knowledgable about the tech industry, that "perception of ubiquitousness" leads them to arguing blue in the face that, say, Apple are the number one phone seller.

They also seem to do well on free product placement by the media, and by individuals. Consider how if ever a product is mentioned, for Apple it's mentioned by name: the BBC will report on someone's Macbook or Ipad; people will talk about their "Iphone"; but for any competitor, it's laptop, tablet, phone. For the media, it results in a bias in reporting. From individuals, it just sounds like trying to brag about their new product.

Also, I must admit I'm surprised that more phones haven't put logos on the casing, as that is an obvious way that the Iphone gets advertising. Although personally I like products to be logo free. Just as with clothes - Apple are the Addidas of the tech world in this respect.

Random trivia/rumour - the Mac in the classic Star Trek film (I forget which one) was originally to be the Amiga, though Commodore messed up/dropped the deal.

Greg J Preece: "People drink Coke, this is ordinary. But there is definitely a line to cross. Seeing a Nokia in a Star Trek film"

Eh? People do use Nokia - more so than any other phone company. And indeed, it would be refreshing to see Nokia for once, rather than advertising for Apple yet again. Or do you mean there's something different about phones to coke, and you'd object to seeing an Iphone or whatever there just as much?

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Re

People use Nokia... in every part of the world except for the USA where they are dead last. So a film produced in the USA should not have products that blow in the USA in it.

Plus, since Nokia is the least innovative, most assbackward company in the tech market currently, the concept that their tech would be being used on spaceships in the future is laughable at best. Star Trek would be much more believable if everything was Google branded and running Android.

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You're not a Trekkie are you?

"Eh? People do use Nokia - more so than any other phone company. And indeed, it would be refreshing to see Nokia for once, rather than advertising for Apple yet again. Or do you mean there's something different about phones to coke, and you'd object to seeing an Iphone or whatever there just as much?"

I was actually thinking more along the lines of plausibility. Are the filmmakers seriously trying to tell me that NOKIA are running the planetary communications network in the 23rd Century? That time when currency may/may not have been abolished, depending on your continuity. When we have one global government, no war, universal literacy, and capitalism is essentially dead?

My.

Arse.

The problem with product placement like that is that it just doesn't fit in with the environment. Seeing a Nokia in a Star Trek film is like seeing one of the soldiers in Braveheart brandishing an MP5. It's really jarring and stupid and pulls you out of the story.

But as I said, there are many and better reasons to hate Star Trek 11.

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Pint

"reasons to hate Star Trek 11"

Phew, I thought I was the only one who thought that movie was pants. Glad to see I'm not the only one. Everyone else seemed to rave on about how bloody awesome it was.

I walked out on it before it was half over.

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FAIL

On TV too

There are endless "reporter blog-style magazine pieces" (eh?) where one sees the reporter typing into his/her apple branded goodness. Be impressed with their "down with it coolness". Alas, my immediate reaction is "uncritical style-first ex-media-student: why would I want your opinion on anything?", which is not what they wanted I'm sure.

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Grenade

I want to slap Katherine Heigl in the face...

And not in a good way.

Ashton Kutcher too, in case anyone thinks I'm sexist...

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Paris Hilton

I Too

would like to slap Katherine Heigl.

And do some other stuff after that.

Ashton Kutcher not so much.

Paris, because I'd do stuff to her to.

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WTF?

So what? Just means Apples pays more in kind or money than others.

I like the way the actors type away and from observation it is quite meaningless gibberish. Also check out the keyboards, I've seen non-Apple keyboards with fruity screens.

I know one production that used a telephone from a certain company but in actuality the thing was empty with a few pictures illuminated by LEDS and power by wire from the actors sleeve.

I wonder is Jobs demands script supervision rights too?

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Keyboards

In movies they tend not to use the mouse, everything, even window movements, is done on the keyboard.

(Which is theoretically possible but a pain when a mouse is still the easiest ubiquitous user interface control mechanism)

Tappity-tap-tap and it's done.

It is possible to use a "proper" keyboard with a Mac. I used a USB Cherry on my old MacMini about 5 years ago because it was the most comfortable typing keyboard I could find.

That and - shock horror! - a USB 2 button mouse! :) (and right mouse click does provide a context menu!)

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Anonymous Coward

Hollywood movies are unrealistic

Hollywood movies are unrealistic so its normal to expect that the things they use in movies are not an accurate representation of what people actually use.

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Black Helicopters

Supervillans use IBM

I recall lots of IBM kit in Goldeneye, esp the monitors in the supervillan base that looked like they had bigger than usual branding on them. Though the worst bit of product placement in that film was the BMW Z3 turning up for a blink and you'll miss it appearence as Bond's new mode of transport.

Black helicopter icon as there was one in the film!

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Goldeneye

I remember that.

She walks into a computer vendor and specifies IBM machines, 586 or 686 processors if I recall.

A lot of splashscreens for OS/2 too, although the "chat" application didn't seem to have a OS/2 UI.

That was the start of the horrendous BMW Bond era. Bond in a Z3 / Z4 (actually a Corvette kit car as they didn't have a Z4 ready) / 7 series.

Later Bonds were heavy in Ford (who owned Aston Martin) product placement, hence Mondeos and Fiestas driven by Daniel Craig, Jags and Range Rovers in Iceland, Hally Berry in a Ford T-Bird.

I wonder if they can ever afford to make another installment, will Bond be seen in a scene driving a Tata Nano, given Aston's current owners?

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Bones is turning into a Toyota/MS commercial

I mean, I really like the show, but in the last episode, Bones and Booth are driving in Bones' Toyota Prius (with the obligatory zoom in on the Toyota logo) and they're discussing the adaptive cruise control. "The Prius senses if you're too close to the car in front of you and slows down automatically."

Then they take their calls on their Windows Phone 7 devices (with the same zoom in on the home screen)

Give me a break. What a way to spoil what is otherwise a very good series.

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Anonymous Coward

Visual media

0) A lot of visual media folks use macs and like them (and why not, they're very pleasant to use)

1) A lot of visual media tends to be aspirational, this is why most people in films, on tv or in adverts etc, are not the type of people you meet in the pub or the office, ditto the cars they drive and the houses that they live in. Having gone to all this trouble, you're unlikely to then want to spoil the picture by giving them a fugly winbox that will date very quickly. Apple kit regardless of anything else does tend to look the part, hence the disproportionate staring role.

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IT Angle

Ouch: their returns are rather shitty then...

...if you consider their single-digit market share worldwide vs the exorbitant money they spend on marketing/first-rate visibility - Jobs isn't such a smart guy after all, huh?

But who cares about IT at Apple? :)

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The Power to Save the World

Surely Apple have never had better product placement than in Independence Day (1996), where (as all El Reg readers will know) a PowerBook 5300 managed to interface with the alien motherships LAN to deliver the shield-crippling virus, presumably using its AppleTalk socket. Given how difficult it was to get a mid-90s Mac to talk to anything else even on this planet, and that the 5300 would have been out of battery before Smith and Goldblum even got into orbit, that's not bad going...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAmHl9fVDSk

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Ruination

Good call.

Remember sitting through this in the mid 90s. Suspension of disbelief was fine given the effects were very well done.

Uploading a virus from a mac ruined the movie though.

Thought the aliens had been running Symantec/Norton on their corporate network at least.

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