Ran across this fascinating article by Jonty Bloom and presented on bbc.com:
The upshot of the article is that computer graphics have advanced to such a degree that it is possible to digitally “place” products into old works that didn’t have them.
The article uses as an example the classic sequence involving Steve McQueen jumping his motorcycle in The Great Escape, and noting that at this point in time they could digitally add a billboard in the background of that sequence advertising… whatever the company paying wants to advertise.
It’s not limited to “just” old movies. Even current films could show different advertisements depending on which country they’re showing them.
As horrified of the concept as I am, I have to admit its ingenious as well: Its another way a studio can profit from an older release!
Having said that, this bit from the article intrigued me the most:
Product placement in films is almost as old as the movie industry itself. The first example of the phenomenon is said to be the 1919 Buster Keaton comedy The Garage, which featured the logos of petrol firms and motor oil companies.
I never really considered how far back product placement might go and its intriguing that it may go back as far as 1919…!
I suppose this newest development is simply a sign of the times and… its too bad yet not unexpected.