| Cult of Mac

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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.