A Horrifying Realization

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Avatar is everywhere right now. It opened this past weekend in thousands of theaters and took the number one spot at the box office. But while it just opened to wide release, it’s been annoying me for several months. A large part of this dislike stems from the many places I’ve seen Avatar:

  • Multiple movie trailers

  • Innumerable TV ads, for both the movie and associated products like the Avatar video game

  • Seemingly every print and film media publication

  • Other commercials

In fact, it would probably be easier to provide a list of places I haven’t seen Avatar:

  • A movie theater

Sure, I’ve heard some good things and I may see the movie eventually. The point here, however, is that the advertising campaign associated with this movie is just massive. The strangest part about it is the last item on the list of places Avatar has appeared: other commercials.

I first noticed this before a Simpsons re-run. A simple animation of Bart was shown, while the announcer said something along the lines of “See Avatar in theaters. But first, see The Simpsons next”. These were two wholly unrelated things, oddly smashed together by one awkward voiceover.

Next up, I saw Avatar in this LG ad. Watch it if you like1; the short version is that a man is showing off his projector cell phone [Editor’s Note: Ah…ha.] by playing a trailer for Avatar. The commercial then focuses on the phone, before showing an “Avatar: Only in theaters” frame near the end.

What’s really set me off, however, is this nonsensical McDonald’s ad. Again, you can click to watch. The gist is that the audio from the ad, played over alternating scenes of Avatar and people clutching McDonald’s food, advises us to “Celebrate a taste like no other with a movie like no other. Bite into Avatar at McDonald’s and prepare to be thrilled”.

What?!

It was as I was ranting and raving about this stupidity, that I was hit with a horrifying realization. I don’t know how I’ll go on from this, and it’s so bad that I’m not even sure if I should share it with others. I think it’s best if we at least face reality, however.

That reality is that this is product placement. It’s product placement inside another commercial. They’ve finally run out of places to insert ads into content. And so, it’s come to this:

They’re putting ads inside of ads.


Footnotes:

  1. Archived here. ↩︎


If you enjoyed this post, get updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.