The first thing I noticed about the latest Jack Neo’s movie “Ah Boys to Men” is the convenient placing of brands and sponsor names in the show. Attempting to be included subtly into the context of the scenes, the messages are actually blatantly obvious. This is before I read CNA’s review and other blogs on the movie.
Also referred to as embedded marketing, product placements have been used in movies when the camera focuses on a specific object such as a branded watch, phone or bag. It has tremendous impact on the reputation and sales of a brand and therefore translates to serious money.
But the way it was done in this recent movie is just clumsy and irrelevant, and doesn’t reflect well on the art form. Almost like an after-thought, the commercial padding is quite annoying and I’m disappointed that product placements have invaded a relatively good story with great insights to the basic military training for our National Service men.
Can Singapore movies be produced without product placements? I expect this to be difficult. Even James Bond’s cars and gadgets are part of the bigger product marketing campaigns.
The challenge is in the execution of the artistic and dramatic aspects of the movie. If the director is good, then product placements will not leap out at the viewer as Jack Neo’s movie did. Instead, the viewer should be influenced of the product superiority through a series of associations that is depicted in the movie. That should be the psychology of marketing.
Let’s hope future movies will not be peppered with advertisements and sponsorships as that would definitely tarnish our creative industry.