Apple product placement

Apple Resumes Product Placement on The Office

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After an unexplained absence, Apple products have officially returned to NBC’s The Office, which wrapped up its seventh season last night.

Apple gear was prominently seen and mentioned during the show’s earlier seasons. In 2005, for example, former boss Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell) gifted a then-cutting-edge 5th generation iPod Classic (“video iPod”).

But as of late, HP replaced Apple for “promotional consideration”, as evidenced by the closing credits. Apple products continued to appear on occasion, but only discretely, the logo always obscured.

I’m an Apple Junkie, Says Toy Story 3 Director Lee Unkrich [Exclusive Interview]

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Unkrich during production of "Toy Story 3" in November 2009 (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

This is a guest interview by Mike Bastoli of The Pixar Blog, a popular news blog about the studio.

Lee Unkrich is the director of Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story 3, the highest-grossing animated film of all time, which was released on DVD, Blu-ray and iTunes today. He also served as co-director of Toy Story 2 and editor of Toy Story, and is a member of Pixar’s Senior Creative Team.

Unkrich is an avid Mac user and Apple ‘addict’ who can be spotted at Apple’s events from time to time. “Whenever I’m invited, it’s something awwwwwwesome,” he tweeted to his 80,000 plus followers on Twitter ahead of the launch of the iPad in January.

Here’s an exclusive interview with Unkrich, who talks about his first Mac, Apple cameos in Pixar’s movies and Steve Jobs feeding his Apple addiction.

iProduct Placement: Sandra Bullock Goes Rogue in “The Proposal”

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In “The Proposal,” Sandra Bullock plays a Canadian-born, bulletproof book editor who finds herself stuck in Sitka, Alaska while waiting to marry her assistant to get a green card.

After her cell phone gets stolen by an eagle, she picks up a replacement at the town general store — what could be more Alaska? — and then goes to the only Internet cafe around.

And has to answer all of her 37 urgent messages with a handful of dimes on a coin-operated modem system — via a iMac G3.  This in stark contrast to the late-model iMac she had in her New York fiefdom.

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It was one of the only bits in the movie that made me smile. I kind of wish I hadn’t sold mine, old as it was…

iPhone Flashlight App a Bright Spot on CSI

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If you’ve ever wondered what the point of those flashlight apps are, wonder no more: they are kick-butt investigation tools.

The next time you need to crawl down a 150-foot electrical conduit and don’t have a flashlight —  your iPhone can light the way, a recent episode of CSI reminds us.

In a cheesy bit of iProduct placement, the actor hands his iPhone-cum-flashlight over to the guy who will have to brave the crawl space saying “There’s an app for that.”

There are a bunch of these apps on iTunes, most are free, ranging from Funny Flashlight to myLite (also has strobe effects), with jokey descriptions like “Are you scared of the dark?”

Has anyone found the flashlight app handy — aside from helping solve heinous crimes?

Via Art of the iPhone

iProduct Placement: Burn After Reading

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In “Burn After Reading,” the Coen brother’s black comedy about privacy and politics, Brad Pitt plays Chad, an amiable goof who works in a gym.

Along with co-worker Frances McDormand, who thinks plastic surgery will buy her love, he tries to sell a memoir from a former CIA agent found in a diskette left behind at the gym.
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Chad is almost always plugged in to an iPod (and singing out loud) even when he’s on a stake out — as shown in the movie poster. Pitt doesn’t have a big part, but gets a lot of mileage out of playing a dim bulb in a stellar cast including George Clooney,  John Malkovich and Tilda Swinton.

25 Years of Mac: “Back to the Future II” Product Placement

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Here’s an early Mac movie product placement. In the opening minutes of 1989’s “Back to the Future II,” Marty McFly lands in 2015, where hover cars loom, “Jaws 19” in 3D plays in movie theaters and folks sport layered outfits that only a daltonic could love.

In an antiques store, Michael J. Fox does a double-take over a “vintage” Mac sitting next to other 80s relics like a Dust Buster and a bottle of Perrier.

Found on the excellent Starring the Computer, where James Carter has compiled a few other early Mac movie sightings including “Manhattan Project” and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,” both from 1986.

Anyone remember Mac movie appearances before 1986?

Which Vintage Mac Stars in Online Trading Ad?

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Eagle-eyed CoM reader Joaquin Jang spotted what looks like a either a Pismo, the last G3 PowerBook launched in 2000, or its close cousin, the Lombard PowerBook G3 laptop launched a year earlier, in a recent Wells Fargo bank banner.

He writes, “Imagine my surprise when I went to log in to my bank account at Wells Fargo’s website and found this picture which appears to show my first Mac laptop, the Pismo, it could also be a Lombard which had a similar form factor.
While the Pismo still does some work for me, it’s not my everyday machine since it is nearly ten years old. Yet, it still makes it into a website ad nine years after it was introduced.”

The PowerBook 2000 (FireWire), a.k.a. Pismo, is the Energizer Bunny of Apple notebooks.
The PowerBook 2000 (FireWire), a.k.a. "Pismo", is the Energizer Bunny of Apple notebooks.

So, which one is it?

Many thanks to Joaquin for the tip and screenshots.
CoM readers: if you spot other interesting Macs starring in ads, let us know!

iProduct Placement: Verizion Blacks Out Apple on “Gossip Girl”

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Apple products are a natural for high falutin’ teen drama “Gossip Girl,” where just about everything the upper East Siders use has a recognizable brand name.

Gossip Girl, however, is sponsored by Verizon. To keep them happy, producers artfully block the Apple logos from getting into shots, but as a result Apple’s presence is almost more consipicous than it would be otherwise. The shot on the left reminds me of the trick directors use to hide pregnant actesses by placing plants and furniture to hit just mid-tummy.

A nice slide show non-Apple Apple product placement on Gossip Girl at Geek Sugar settles an ongoing argument I’ve been having with a friend over whether Dan’s laptop is a Mac or not…

Photos courtesy of The CW

iProduct Placement: “Bride Wars” Waged on a Mac

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Recently-released movie “Bride Wars” stars Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway squaring off as two BFFs who stage competing weddings on the same day at New York’s Plaza Hotel.

Candice Bergen, who plays the wedding planner caught between the pair of bridezillas, is shown in the trailer using Macs in a couple of shots.

Early reviews warn “Bridal Wars” isn’t worth the 90-minute commitment, citing, among other things, the onslaught of product placement.

iProduct Placement: Mac Used by Mute Geek on “Big Bang Theory”

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In this Monday night CBS sitcom about what happens when a pair of physics geeks meet the beauty next door, Apple products crop up first, as far as I can tell, for use by the distressed.

In the third episode of the first season (Big Bang is now in its second season) roommates Leonard and Sheldon are playing a MMORPG with friends. Though all the computers are covered with stickers, it looks like the only Mac user is Raj, another university researcher who is so flustered by Penny, the blond neighbor, that he is always mute in her presence.

iProduct Placement: IT Crowd Parties with iPods While Rome Burns

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The third season opening episode of Channel 4’s award-winning sitcom IT Crowd features a scene where clueless exec Douglas Reynholm performs the modern equivalent of fiddling while Rome Burns.

Instead of listening to talk about cutbacks, he’s busy with an iPod party with the all-female accounting department.

Exec 1 (Denholm): “You seem to lack a basic understanding of exactly how much trouble this company is in. We have a financial crisis here. And if you don’t mind me saying, your attitude seems incredibly cavalier.”

Reynholm “What? Can’t hear you, we’re having an iPod party.”

While the trademark white earbuds abound, there’s never a shot of an actual iPod.
Update: sharp-eyed CoM reader Mark spotted a pink shuffle on the hip of the accountant at far right.

iProduct Placement: “Sex & the City” iPhone Throwback

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One of the most depressing scenes in the already depressing “Sex and the City” movie is the one where Carrie Bradshaw gets left at the altar.

The groom, aka Big, hasn’t shown up. In a scene where all the stars especially look like they need a good night’s sleep and more calming carbs in their diets, Samantha holds an iPhone, set off against a fire-engine red dress.

iProduct Placement: “Get Smart” Chats with iPod

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In the title sequence for 1960s spy-spoof turned film “Get Smart,” main character Maxwell Smart interprets intelligence chatter on his iPod.

He’s first shown without the original earbuds, but shortly afterwards on his way to Control with white headphones plugged in, having traded the intelligence chatter for mood-boosting Abba’s “Take a Chance on Me.”

Arguably the best gadget in what should’ve been a gadget film (anyone hanker for a molar transmitter? Though the Cone of Silence might be nice ), to boost product placement in the movie Apple teamed up with Warner Bros to promote the film by giving away iPod Touch devices to journalists with pre-loaded film clips and having cast members make Apple store appearances.

iProduct Placement: Disney’s “Bolt” a Turn Off

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Disney animation movie “Bolt,” where John Travolta lends his voice to the dog-hero in the title, has a brief, fleeting moment of Apple product placement.

Pixar blogger and CoM reader Guido Rogall explains: in Bolt “there’s a chase scene on a train. For a few seconds you see a young woman with a laptop, either a MacBook or iBook, but what is funny about it is that the Apple logo is not lit.”

As another one of our sharp-eyed readers pointed out, this Apple turn-off  scenario happens every so often in movies.

Wonder if it’s a mistake or makes it product placement more memorable to clued-in viewers…

iProduct Placement: Ben Stiller’s iPod Fetish

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Depending on your point of view, Ben Stiller’s “Tropic Thunder” was either a bladder-threatening comedy, a hodge-podge of offensive stereotypes or just plain stupid.

After earning $100 mil at the US box office, it was recently released on DVD. The movie, about a ragtag bunch of actors forced to become real-life heroes, is a triumph of product placement. TiVo plays has a decisive role in the plot and everything from the newly-sexy cherry Chapstick and, yes, the iPod have cameos.

When Stiller’s character Tugg Speedman gets lost in the jungle, he soothes himself by watching Star Trek on his iPod, which was prominently placed in a giant gift basket in an earlier scene.

Not to spoil the plot, but after he’s attacked, he loses his cool and starts wearing his iPod as part of pseudo tribal fetish costume.

Guessing the iPod wouldn’t work with beads strung through it, but it’s a nice idea.

iProduct Placement: The Rocker

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The mildly entertaining redemption story of The Rocker hinges on a Mac. Serial-geek actor Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute from The Office) plays an almost-been heavy metal drummer called Robert Fishman. His niece, annoyed that she can’t do her homework, uploads a video of his sweaty practice session from her iMac. It goes viral. The rest is history.

iProduct Placement: Nim’s Island

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The trailer for Nim’s Island, a Jodie Foster movie about a house-bound adventure writer, starts off with her character Alex Rover dancing a jig in front of a Mac and shows her computer about five more times in the space of a minute or so.

Apparently, the movie is Product Placement a go-go for 12 companies, so much so that at least one pundit complained. The Mac count? Three different computers show up a total of 10 times. Still, if you’re going to be a bogus travel writer, better do it with a Mac.