Monday, June 02, 2008

MTV Movie Awards Go Promo-Crazy

I was pleased to see Rob Salem's article in today's Toronto Star on the unbelievable amount of cross-promotion, product placement and advertising that made up last night's MTV Movie Awards. The event has always been incredibly promotional, but last night's edition hit an all-time low -- I barely remember which movies were up for awards, so much focus was put on promoting current and upcoming releases...films geared directly at the MTV demographic, and championed throughout the awards "ceremony" by their stars. For example, as Salem writes:
Barely 30 seconds into last night's MTV Movie Awards, homeboy host Mike Myers dropped a plug for his upcoming comedy, Love Guru (opening June 20). There was another less than 30 seconds later, and yet another almost immediately after that, with the title Love Guru (opening June 20) projected behind him in great glowing letters at least 10 feet high.

And really, that first minute-and-a-bit laid bare the mercenary heart of the youth-skewed audience-voted awards show: "Free advertising," as Will Ferrell put it so succinctly soon after...


Of course, Hulk co-stars Ed Norton and Liv Tyler were there to present, as were Will Smith, Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman from Hancock (opening July 2), Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson from Get Smart (June 20) ... essentially, anyone with a mass-market movie coming out in the next 100 days.

Using falling anvil "irony" as feigned reflexivity, the embedded advertising included some pretty hilarious sketches (the making of a "viral" video for Tropic of Thunder was especially awesome) -- which just makes it all the more awful, really, because now, even though viewers know the product placement was over the top (and know that the producers know they know), I'm sure many of these clips have already inundated the youtube, facebook, etc. pages of the target demographic.

Promotional content for some movies was particularly intense...and checking into these films' production company credits today, I wasn't too surprised to find that many are produced by MTV's parent company Viacom (or through one of its holdings). For example, Love Guru, Kung-Fu Panda, Iron Man and Transformers 2 -- all of which were featured heavily during the awards show -- are all produced by Paramount (which is owned by Viacom). Another example is Get Smart, produced by Village Roadshow Pictures, which frequently partners with Paramount. Not that the advertising was all in-house of course...many of the films featured were Time Warner or Sony productions, who surely paid dearly to be included in last night's marketing frenzy. *sigh*

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