Episode 282
December 9, 2022

Our Favorite Product Placements in Film

If only there was a directory where we can find out concise information about CPG and also a directory of agencies for brands to find. Well there is! Listen in as Phillip and Brian discuss the CPG world with Andrea Popova and also find out what some of their favorite product placements in films are and why the future of feature is different.

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this episode sponsored by

McCallister Money 

  • CPGD is a wealth of information for leaders in the CPG world and a great resource for connections and was a huge lucky moment for Andrea
  • TikTok is just not the same as it was in the beginning of its reign, and it’s a lot harder to go viral there now
  • There are some really interesting product placements in films that actually lead to the product being more like a side-character, and there are some brilliant examples
  • Back when Phillip was 14, the Tampa Bay Times wrote an article about a specific product placement that actually made a lasting impression on him that still impacts him today
  • “The whole premise behind celebrity back brands and how this is becoming more of a thing is because now the power has shifted towards the brand actually needing the financial support of the celebrities to grow.” - Andrea
  • Why have some celebrities starting brands gotten backlash and others have been accepted? 
  • If Brian ever gets famous, look for his sweater brand
  • There's some regionality and the awareness of the allure of such a thing based on where you happen to be and the feasibility to get it that can effect the way product placement in a film makes an impact
  • When you populate the world of a film or show with consumer brands that are vestiges of certain eras, it gives it some authenticity, so how can that translate to now with the explosion of DTC brands and what does the future of features look like for them?

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Brian: [00:01:20] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about the next generation of commerce. I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:27] I'm Phillip. And today we have a very special guest. The astute and storied Founder of the Consumer Packaged Goods Directory, of which I am a loyal subscriber. Andrea Popova is joining us on the show today. Welcome to the show.

Andrea: [00:01:45] Why thank you. Great being here.

Phillip: [00:01:48] And if you're not subscribed to CPGD, what are you even doing? You need to go do that right now. It's how you find out about all of the best things in the world that are happening in the CPG space. Tell us a little bit about CPGD and yourself, Andrea.

Andrea: [00:02:03] Sure. So CPGD stands for the Consumer Packaged Goods Directory and it's an online directory of consumer brands. It was one of the first to be started, founded by David, who's a designer, and then I sort of took over a couple of years ago and now run the entire business. And I write a newsletter about brands. I add more features to the website to make it easier for brand founders to find things that they want to find, like agencies and working with amazing people like you guys. So it's just been a lot of fun.

Phillip: [00:02:34] Woohoo! And we're going to have some fun here today. We've got a few things teed up where we're going to talk about our favorite product placement in movies. We'll have that a little bit later. And for now, I thought maybe we could kind of get into this a little bit. We've come through a season, maybe even an era. An era, Brian? A couple of years now of product launches that happen, multiple product launches happen a week. It seems there's a constant barrage of new consumer brands and new products from brands. How do you keep up with all of it, Andrea?

Andrea: [00:03:12] New consumer brands. Yeah, I feel like there's a new product launch every day.

Brian: [00:03:17] At least.

Andrea: [00:03:18] At least. I mean, I keep up on various news sources, the most esteemed news source of which is TikTok, obviously, and Twitter. And yeah, definitely following all my favorites there. Reading newsletters. I basically get all of my CPG news, or 90% of it, from newsletters and LinkedIn, and things like that. But yeah, I feel like those are really the places that I go. Plus friends.

Phillip: [00:03:44] You told me at some point, as you've become more renowned, people are coming to you now and looking at you as an authoritative source to launch news and people are coming to you and telling you, "Hey, I'd love to be featured." How does that work?

Andrea: [00:04:01] I definitely do get a lot of brand submissions through the website, so to be featured on CPGD, you can submit your brand on the website and I get most of my submissions through there actually. And then any time someone has a product launch or a brand launch, a lot of PR reps will reach out to me on the brand's behalf, or the brands will reach out directly and let me know that they're launching a new product or a collab and then I'll feature it in the newsletter.

Brian: [00:04:23] Nice. You've reached that momentum, that tipping point now, where people are just hitting you up. That's awesome.

Andrea: [00:04:29] It is wild. I have my dream job I feel like.

Phillip: [00:04:33] Are there trends that you've noticed? What's sort of hot right now? What are the things that are sort of de passe? What's kind of happened? What's come and gone recently for you?

Andrea: [00:04:44] In terms of the way businesses function as a trend, I feel like, I was just telling someone this morning, there's just been this focus towards profitability over growth necessarily. So maybe more short-term focus versus long-term. And I think that's just because of the fact that funding has never been harder, not never been harder, but fundraising is really hard right now. So a lot of brands are focusing more on what they can accomplish in the short run as they're sort of seeing capital dry up. And I honestly think that TikTok, we're starting to see a shift away from in terms of brands seeing that virality is like maybe not a given on that platform anymore. And so maybe focusing their efforts more on things that have more of an immediate return than something like TikTok, which is more of a black box.

Phillip: [00:05:33] Wow. This is now six years, Brian, we've been doing this show. And every single time over that period, ever since we've been putting our thoughts out into the world, it seems like we go through the same cycle of the hype cycle of people saying, "This is it, this is changing everything. It's the new thing. Everybody go quick." And then when everybody herds into a new platform very quickly, the thing that made it special is not necessarily gone, but it's incredibly diffuse across a very large audience now, especially a lot of newcomers. And so it used to be with TikTok, you would see people launch on TikTok and one of their first four or five videos would just go mega-viral. It would be like millions of views. That just doesn't happen anymore. And it's in that long tail now of engagement that it's increasingly hard to stand out.

Andrea: [00:06:28] I mean, does anyone remember NFTs? I feel like... Similar lifecycle. I mean not to put down... I myself am an NFT holder but yeah it's definitely seen its hype cycle through.

Brian: [00:06:41] We're in that trough of disillusionment right now, I would say. What's a product launch that you, I'm not going to say your favorite of the last six months but what's one that really made you say, "Oh that was a good one."

Andrea: [00:06:57] Well, I love the way that Deux, the cookie dough brand, does their launches and their brand launches. And that's an example of a brand actually that does really well on TikTok. And they basically do these drop models where they partner with another brand and then they create these sort of collab products. So I think every one of their flavors, well, most of their flavors now are collab products, so they'll collaborate with an existing newsletter or a new influencer, and then they go viral and TikTok for making this product, and then they sell out. So I just yeah, I think they're really cool. They made a chapstick recently with DedCool that's cookie-flavored or cookie-scented. So I think that's just such a smart brand.

Brian: [00:07:38] So cool. Yeah. Anything having to do with cookies is a win. But that dough, in particular, is super cool.

Phillip: [00:07:46] I've been trying to... I've been doing it in the DMs, but I feel like I need to just shift to public shaming and trying to get people. If you do things in public, then they have to respond, I feel. Or you have to guilt people into responding, but I've been saying I would love for us, Brian, to partner with Birthdate Candles, for instance. I've been saying for some time the Archetypes in particular in that there is a quiz to find your Archetype, right? So you sort of you find out what is your Archetype. So I'm The Lover. Wouldn't you love to have a candle that has your Archetype on it? Like that's the thing that should exist, right? And yeah. John, Man, you've been real quiet on me. We got to. Got to rekindle this, this. You know, conversation. Call me. Call me Bubbie. {laughter}

Andrea: [00:08:39] That's a great idea.

Phillip: [00:08:43] I think it is. When you're looking at the next few months, what are some sources of growth? You mentioned agencies pretty recently. That's a new opportunity for you. I think you've just launched a new directory. Is that right?

Andrea: [00:09:00] Yes. We launched a directory of agencies. So now you can filter for different agency types, which this has kind of existed in different forms on different platforms. But we already had a community that was asking me, "What's the best agency to go to for PR or for package design?" And it's just a way for me to consolidate all of them in one place and answer that in a scalable way. So the next iteration of that is going to be making it easier, even easier to vet for the right agency based on your budget, and your company size. There's going to be a whole membership attached to it, but for now, you can just upload your agency or find them through filtering.

Phillip: [00:09:37] Is there a matchmaking process that you can help facilitate, or is this a result of having done that for so long?

Andrea: [00:09:45] I mean, that will be... The V2 will be more matchmaking heavy, so you'll input all of your desires into one form, and then it'll spit out results that are matched specifically for your needs. Excited for that. It just all takes tech and tech is expensive.

Phillip: [00:10:04] You're telling me.

Brian: [00:10:07] True.

Phillip: [00:10:07] Yeah, it's so true. Especially when it's such well thought through and such differentiated design. I think that having something like CPGD.xyz... Is that the is that the domain? You've really put a lot of work into that. And so I think having to maintain and keep that up over time requires a lot of thought and process and planning.

Brian: [00:10:33] And relationships really actually.

Phillip: [00:10:36] Oh for sure.

Brian: [00:10:36] You mentioned friends send you a lot of things. I feel like your network, Andrea, is huge and I'm curious. You said this is sort of you're living the dream. How did this become your dream job and where did you get your start going into all of this?

Andrea: [00:10:54] You know, it's crazy, but I didn't realize that when you provide resources for free, you're not really seeing the gains in the short run by any means, but it means you're in a position where you're at this intersection where everyone wants to also help you and learn from you and also teach you things. So people are always reaching out from all ends. So brands reach out, investors reach out, agencies reach out, and they all want to set up these calls to just talk about learnings and cross-collaborate. Because I'm not an agency, I'm not asking people to do work, although now we're actually building out sort of an agency arm. But because I wasn't doing that before and I'm also not a brand, so I'm not selling a product and I'm not an investor, so not giving capital, I'm at this point where I'm not really asking anyone for anything, but I'm just absorbing as much as I can. And then I'm connecting the dots and connecting people to other people. So just by starting to do that, little by little, I've been able to grow the network into what it is now, which is thousands of people in CPG. And I've been able to connect founders with buyers and investors and agencies and probably lead to I mean, definitely lead to actually hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of investment deals and retailer expansions. So it's been exciting.

Brian: [00:12:17] Wow.

Phillip: [00:12:18] Huge. Very exciting. Do you have a background in this world? What sort of led to your, I don't want to say hostile takeover? I'm sure it was very friendly. {laughter} When did you come into the picture at CPGD? What was the impetus that sort of led to that decision and what were you doing before that?

Andrea: [00:12:39] It was such a crazy coincidence and lucky story. I mean, my background is in eCommerce and analytics and retail, so I did start a couple of brands. One was a pop-up cocktail bar and I would actually sell to different offices door to door. And then I also worked at Walmart.com, I worked at Prose, which is the hair care brand. But it all kind of happened when I got this random cold DM from a guy named Henry, and he didn't know me and he said, "Hey, I bought this website called CPGD, would you want to run it? I saw that you're someone in consumer and you might be interested." So I was like, "I'm already a subscriber." So I took over the next month and the rest is history. It was just kind of the luckiest thing that's ever happened to me, honestly.

Phillip: [00:13:27] Wow. Someone literally asked you to do it. Brian, nobody ever asked us to do this. That's probably, that's been the disconnect.

Brian: [00:13:34] {laughter} Yeah, I think maybe if someone had asked us to do it, it would have been a lot faster...

Phillip: [00:13:38] If somebody, literally anyone desired for us to do this, we would have some success.

Brian: [00:13:42] We had the opposite of product market fit. It was like product market force.

Andrea: [00:13:51] You've made your own market. You'll always fit...

Phillip: [00:13:52] Yeah, we are. We've made our own market over time. I have said for many years who wants tactical content? That has such a short shelf life. What we need is more strategic, visionary, and thoughtful how to think rather than what to think kind of content. And that sounds really good in theory, but what everybody actually wants is tactical content. {laughter} And so it's really hard to make people care about thinking at the next level of not necessarily what we're doing or what we should be doing in order to court customers, but why we do it a certain way or why customers behave the way they do. If we could understand that it's the teach a man to fish. But nobody wants to learn to fish, let's be honest.

Brian: [00:14:41] Speaking of super strategic visionary content, I feel like we should take this moment to jump into some of that and talk about, well, really what this episode is really all about, which is what our favorite product placement in film is. Super visionary.

Phillip: [00:15:04] But I think this will spur some really interesting content. So here's what we're going to do. Yes, we will each we're going to go round the horn twice.

Brian: [00:15:13] Twice?

Phillip: [00:15:14] Maybe twice. If we have time for a third, we could do a third time. If we have time, we'll save time at the end for some honorable mentions, if you will.

Brian: [00:15:24] I'm super excited because I have one that neither of you know about that is actually my favorite of all time.

Phillip: [00:15:29] Of course, you're going to pull some rogue thing that we didn't talk about in the pre-show.

Brian: [00:15:32] No, not at all. Definitely.

Phillip: [00:15:34] Very on brand for you.

Brian: [00:15:35] It's easily my favorite.

Phillip: [00:15:36] So here's what we're going to do. We're going to each take a turn. We're going to go around and we're going to each pick and talk about a film released in the United States of America that most people presumably could have seen that features a product placement either intentionally or unintentionally. Features a product placement that's somewhat notable, that people would see as like a cultural touchstone, and then why you picked it. And we'll go that way. Would it help if we start with me doing it or Brian, do you want the first whack at it or should we give Andrea the first go?

Brian: [00:16:16] I am open to going first, but I am also open...

Phillip: [00:16:19] Go. Go first. You seem very excited.

Brian: [00:16:21] I am. I am excited. I don't want anyone else to steal the one I have now that we haven't talked about it, which is easily the best of all time. Pendleton in The Big Lebowski.

Phillip: [00:16:33] Pendleton in The Big Lebowski.

Brian: [00:16:35] I am actually literally wearing Pendleton at this very moment, which is why I remembered it. I'm wearing... I don't think it's the westerly, which is what the dude's sweater was, but the dude's sweater, which is iconic. I mean.

Phillip: [00:16:49] It's an iconic sweater.

Brian: [00:16:51] Does it get much more iconic as far as sweaters go than the dude sweater in The Big Lebowski?

Phillip: [00:16:57] And the main factor of which is Pendleton.

Brian: [00:16:59] Pendleton, correct. Yeah. I am a huge Pendleton fan and definitely that influenced me. It did. And it's such an organic, like perfect, it's part of his character. I'm sure as we get further into this, it's like good product placement is part of the story. And I feel like that is one of the best examples that I have of something that's truly part of that character.

Phillip: [00:17:34] This is so on-brand for you, too.

Brian: [00:17:36] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:17:36] It's interesting because they don't hit you over the head with it. If I didn't know and I did not know, the manufacturer of the sweater of the dude in The Big Lebowski, a movie from 20 plus years ago, if I didn't know that, I would be googling for it or can we search TikTok for this real quick? Because this is the thing that I always hear is that you can find everything via TikTok. You know, it's like that's what the kids do these days.

Brian: [00:18:03] I mean, you can definitely Google it. If you Google the dude's sweater, it's really, really obvious. But yes.

Phillip: [00:18:09] I do the sweater brand, I'm looking at one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. All I see is five sweaters for every guy who needs the sweaters in the fall. That's all. It's all affiliate link content.

Brian: [00:18:25] No.

Phillip: [00:18:25] Yeah.

Andrea: [00:18:26] Wow.

Brian: [00:18:26] That's on TikTok or on Google?

Phillip: [00:18:28] That's on TikTok right now.

Brian: [00:18:29] Oh on TikTok. Yeah. If you Google it...

Phillip: [00:18:30] On TikTok. No, no. Google gave me the answer immediately.

Brian: [00:18:33] Immediately. It's because Google is a better resource for most things.

Phillip: [00:18:37] The Big Lebowski sweater.

Andrea: [00:18:40] Was that like the OG, the things that go viral and TikTok? Things would kind of go viral from a movie.

Phillip: [00:18:47] Yeah, it's that TikTok has become this resource for Gen Z to displace Google as a place for them to find authoritative information. And I have all kinds of theories as to why I think that could not happen. It's impossible.

Brian: [00:19:01] Right. It's impossible. It's true. It's true.

Phillip: [00:19:02] It's impossible to replicate the information density that you get in text and the rank and hierarchy of that distributed creation of that information across disparate sources over dozens of years to somehow reach that same kind of density in TikTok, a platform that's a scant five years old that people can only create and upload in a single platform within video and then have contextual relevance. That's a whole other situation. But the point being...

Brian: [00:19:31] We should flip this around. I feel like YouTube is that. Actually, if you look at Gen Alpha, Gen Alpha loves YouTube.

Phillip: [00:19:38] Oh yeah.

Andrea: [00:19:38] For search?

Brian: [00:19:38] Oh, for search. For everything.

Phillip: [00:19:41] I don't know for search. Gen Alpha shouldn't be searching for much of anything at this point. Mine's locked down in this house. You don't search. You don't search in my house.

Brian: [00:19:49] True. Yeah. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:19:50] Well, that's a good one. That's a good one, Brian. I did not know the manufacturer of the sweater. You've enlightened me as to something. I will say this. It reminds me of a tweet that I saw. I can't remember who said it, but basically pointing out the coat that the dad wears in Home Alone is Burberry.

Brian: [00:20:08] Oh yeah, it was Nate Polen.

Phillip: [00:20:12] Oh, Nate Polen. @DigitallyNative on Twitter. And he pointed out that Burberry makes this coat, and he doesn't have McCallister Money and Home Alone featured...

Brian: [00:20:22] Well, it's also not available anymore and I agree that is a sweet coat. I would totally wear that coat.

Phillip: [00:20:27] A sweet toggle coat. All right, Brian, that was a good one. I liked it.

Brian: [00:20:30] Thank you. Yeah. And it is on brand for me, especially because I literally, I'm not even kidding you. I bought my wife a Pendleton sweater for Christmas right before we got on this. That is not a joke.

Phillip: [00:20:40] If we all take as long as you did on this one or as long as I did trying to prove that TikTok is a bad place to search for things then we're not going to get through this.

Brian: [00:20:48] True. Google wins.

Phillip: [00:20:49] Andrea, you're up next. Favorite product placement in a film?

Andrea: [00:20:53] Oh, I love that. Mine is a little less or it's more overt. So mine is Wilson in Castaway. So Wilson The ball.

Brian: [00:21:03] Yeah.

Andrea: [00:21:03] I just love that product placement. I feel like it just centered the entire movie on this one product. And it wasn't just like one feature. It was truly, as you said earlier, a side character throughout the whole film. So I thought that was just really brilliant.

Phillip: [00:21:17] The Best Supporting Actor award to a brand, the only one I could think of...

Andrea: [00:21:54] I wonder also whether they went through other products when they were deciding on that and whether they just went with whatever product would pay them the most, basically, because the movie just wouldn't be the same if it was like a jar of milk or something else, like a bottle of lotion.

Phillip: [00:22:11] {laughter} We're all sitting here talking about how Lubriderm gave us all the emotional films as as these screaming at the bottle of Lubriderm. That would have been a very different movie.

Andrea: [00:22:23] Very different.

Phillip: [00:22:24] Castaway with a bottle of lotion. Very different movie.

Brian: [00:22:25] That's a multiverse scenario right there.

Phillip: [00:22:30] Counterfactual thinking. FedEx also is in that movie prominently.

Brian: [00:22:36] Oh. FedEx is very good in that. Man.

Phillip: [00:22:40] It's very overt. But it's not the first thing you think of. In fact, the whole premise is kind of based on FedEx.

Andrea: [00:22:50] Also not about how FedEx was bad and they lost all these packages and people died on the plane.

Brian: [00:22:55] Yeah. That's true.

Phillip: [00:22:56] I mean, maybe that's how you're remembering it. I don't think...

Brian: [00:22:58] It's true. You're right. I just watched this like last year, rewatched it and FedEx does not have a good look there.

Andrea: [00:23:05] Oh no.

Phillip: [00:23:05] I don't know. How did they get away with that? That doesn't seem right. I think that we're... I might be misremembering it, but it does sound right. That sounds right. That can't possibly be right.

Brian: [00:23:15] But it also plays into the really sweet ending as well.

Phillip: [00:23:20] I'm too cynical. I'm too cynical to believe that they thought, "You know what? We really need to approach Wilson to see if they'll partner with us on this." I think you're right, Andrea. It's like they had to have shopped this around to some degree.

Andrea: [00:23:37] Because it could be any inanimate object.

Phillip: [00:23:38] It could be.

Andrea: [00:23:38] Different vibe. So yeah.

Brian: [00:23:40] I don't know. I kind of had to be a head-like shape for the ball.

Andrea: [00:23:48] That's true.

Phillip: [00:23:49] Could be, you know it's actually quite sad in the modern era, first of all, three-hour-long movies are incredibly commonplace now. Movies are pushing 2 hours 40 on the regular. So the fact that Castaway was kind of like an anomaly at the time, I think would probably go over a little better today. But he would be acting with a CG stand-in because they wouldn't have finished the licensing deal by the time they got to production.

Andrea: [00:24:18] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:24:19] You know that's true. So it's like there's a cut of the movie somewhere where they were pitching and it was a bottle of Hennessy or it was... There are all kinds of things that could have been.

Andrea: [00:24:32] So true.

Brian: [00:24:33] We're going to get a little further in here. I have an observation about Castaway, but I'm going to relate it to, I think, some more stuff we're going to see here in a minute.

Phillip: [00:24:43] Okay. All right. So I guess that leads it to me. Best product placement in a movie. You know, I'm going to make a sort of a really strange pull here, as it's my first one. The one that sticks with me the most or the one that I think of the most when I think of product placement in a movie is I think it was a little more on the subliminal side. It wasn't as overt as what Andrea just mentioned. So it is Red Stripe Beer in the 1994 film The Firm starring Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman. And there is a scene where they go to the fridge and they crack open a couple of Red Stripes. And the reason I remember that so much was there is actually a write-up in the Tampa Bay Times from when I was 14, and I read this feature in a newspaper that talked about the importance of product placements to help finance the making of films because movies are becoming much more expensive and people like Tom Cruise are demanding higher pay. And there is something that clicked in my brain when I read that that has stuck with me all these years. It speaks so much to how things work in the world and that we don't have James Bond without Aston Martin because financially that tie isn't just for fun. It has to financially make sense to make the world work. And when you recognize that and when you understand that, you start to see it everywhere. And it made such an impression on me as a young kid that I'm still doing that for work today. I would be the guy writing the piece in the Tampa Bay Times today.

Brian: [00:26:42] Don't have James Bond without an Aston Martin, except for in the one film where he...

Phillip: [00:26:48] Where he didn't have an Aston Martin. {laughter}.

Brian: [00:26:48] Yeah, yeah, yeah. He had a BMW.

Phillip: [00:26:50] Well, you know why. Because they paid more money. That's why. Right?

Brian: [00:26:55] And actually like the worst example of product placement of all time is the Heineken in Skyfall, right?

Phillip: [00:27:05] Yeah. Oh, and people hated it. Everybody except for the producers who got that sweet, sweet, sweet cash. All right, Brian, back to you. We're going to go around one more time. What is your number two favorite product placement in a film?

Brian: [00:27:22] In a film. So I'm going to go back to one that made an impression on me in high school, which was the Mini Cooper in the Italian Job. When that movie came out, the Mini Cooper wasn't really a thing in the US, and it was almost like a product drop. Like the movie itself was a product drop.

Phillip: [00:27:47] The 2003 Italian Job.

Brian: [00:27:48] Yes. The remake. The remake of the 1960s classic. And I feel like honestly, the Mini Cooper made a huge splash. Mini Coopers started showing up everywhere after that. It was their entrance or re-entrance into the US market or maybe entrance in general. And I just remember thinking it was super cool and the stunts that they did in the movie, I feel like you couldn't have really done in many other cars. It was like they were built for a little, tiny, really maneuverable car like they had. And I just thought it was at the time, I remember being really impressed by it as a high schooler, like, "Oh wow, this is a really cool way to enter the US market."

Phillip: [00:28:35] Did you ever shop for a Mini Cooper?

Brian: [00:28:39] You know, I think there was a time when I was like, "Man, that that'd be a cool car to have someday." But no, not really. I have four children. I cannot have a... Someday, maybe when I'm old and...

Phillip: [00:28:51] Brian's got enough kids to actually pull off the Italian Job.

Brian: [00:28:55] Yes. I can get each one of my children their own Mini Cooper. And then we can actually do like a heist. I think it could work. {laughter}

Andrea: [00:29:03] That's the dream. I love Mini Coopers. I think they're the best car.

Phillip: [00:29:07] I'm not Googling it. They're owned by BMW, aren't they?

Brian: [00:29:12] Correct. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:29:12] Okay. So it's interesting. What we haven't seen a whole lot of and this might be something that's worth sort of taking a bunny trail for is when do we start seeing small direct to consumer brands... Almost said blands by accident That's a Freudian slip. When do we see them finding more featured roles in film and television? Because I think that that must be the next logical step to brand building, right?

Brian: [00:29:42] Did Gooder make it into Wonder Woman 1994? They didn't make it into the movie.

Phillip: [00:29:49] No. They weren't in the movie. It was a licensing deal through NBC Universal for their Sci-fi TV.

Brian: [00:29:56] That's right. That's right.

Andrea: [00:29:57] Well, I think that [00:29:58] the money always flows through osmosis, so from whoever has more financial power and there's just never been a longer tale of consumer brands. Before, it was kind of these big, huge conglomerates that had so much money that they could fund these movies. And now we're looking at actually a shift towards I mean, that's this is the whole premise behind celebrity back brands and how this is becoming more of a thing because now the power has shifted towards the brand actually needing the financial support of the celebrities to grow. So yeah, I don't know if we'll see even that happen much or at all with the long tail of brands that are growing. But I could be wrong. There could be something there. [00:30:38]

Phillip: [00:30:41] It's interesting. If we do see more celebrity brands, let's say the one everyone likes to bring up is Casamigos, right? So let's say that Casamigos, when does that feature prominently in a George Clooney vehicle? What's the over/under? Are we a year away or are we five years away from that? Is it never going to happen? Because isn't the vehicle for the brand... If the celebrity's on the screen, they don't need the product because they are the product. The brand is the souvenir of the celebrity. Right, Brian, or no?

Brian: [00:32:43] Maybe. I think you're on to something there. I need to think about that a little more.

Andrea: [00:32:50] The Kardashians placed their own product in their show, which is kind of like a meta thing. They'll be drinking...

Brian: [00:32:57] Vertical integration. {laughter}

Andrea: [00:32:58] Yeah, vertical integration. So yeah, they need to be in the show to grow their own brand, to grow the brands that they then create.

Phillip: [00:33:11] I just found out, you know, Brad Pitt launched a skincare line earlier this year, right? Is that right?

Brian: [00:33:21] The much maligned.

Phillip: [00:33:25] Yeah. There was an open letter from the CPG, like the DTC world, saying please stay away from our industry that we work so hard to cultivate.

Andrea: [00:33:38] Why was he the one that pushed us over the edge? It had been happening for so long and suddenly Brad Pitt comes in and people are like, "No, this is too much." {laughter}

Phillip: [00:33:47] We will not. "Travis Barker was perfectly acceptable, but we draw the line at Brad Pitt. I'm so sorry." That's where we are. And it's a wine-inspired skincare line, Brian. That's the one that blows my mind.

Brian: [00:34:06] I'm just surprised he didn't go with, like, a food brand. I feel like Brad Pitt always has food in his mouth. At least one scene in every one of his movies. I feel like he's always chewing in a movie in at least one scene in his movies. Maybe like every scene.

Phillip: [00:34:23] He also apparently has a luxury cashmere brand. This never stops. This has recently come to light. For me. God's True Cashmere, I think is what it's called.

Andrea: [00:34:37] No way. Gigi also has a cashmere line. I believe so.

Brian: [00:34:41] Who?

Andrea: [00:34:42] Gigi Hadid.

Phillip: [00:34:43] Oh, really?

Andrea: [00:34:44] Yeah. Interesting. I didn't realize that was a growing niche. Is cashmere growing in popularity or something?

Phillip: [00:34:51] You know, a lot of people are chalking it up, or should I say, mocking it up to how Chamath Palihapitiya keeps repping Cashmere on the All-In Podcast. I think he has an in. But anyway.

Brian: [00:35:10] Well, if I ever get famous I won't start a cashmere brand, but I'll definitely have a sweater brand. I'm in.

Phillip: [00:35:22] I mean, Chamath has Lauro Piana. You and I could do Kirkland. No big deal.

Brian: [00:35:28] Kirkland sweaters. I like it.

Phillip: [00:35:29] We'll rep Kirkland.

Brian: [00:35:29] Okay, hold on. Let's make sure we get two rounds in here. Andrea, you're up.

Phillip: [00:35:36] Over to you.

Andrea: [00:35:38] I mean, going on the car theme actually, I'm going to go next with Alfa Romeo in The Graduate. Alfa Romeo has been in a ton of movies, but I just similarly find that interesting that they went from sort of the Italian market to the US market. I think back then they were in the US and then they sort of took a break and I just yeah, I think with cars that are not based in the US making their entryway through film is super interesting.

Phillip: [00:36:04] The Graduate, a film that won't be remade anytime soon.

Andrea: [00:36:10] Probably not.

Phillip: [00:36:12] We might see a prequel. {laughter}

Andrea: [00:36:17] It's a prequel, but it's unrelated to the story of The Graduate. It's just about their lives, like their upbringing. A normal story.

Phillip: [00:36:24] You know, how the upbringing of the makings of a future child predator. It's a Duetto Spider I guess in this film [00:36:37]. It's funny because it's iconic but the brand never really occurred to me. I wonder if there is this sort of disconnect of like, how does... Alfa Romeo doesn't really come to South Florida until like, say, 2005. Right? So there's some regionality and maybe even the awareness of the brand or the awareness of the allure of such a thing based on where you happen to be and the feasibility to get it. [00:37:09]

Andrea: [00:37:10] Yeah. I actually briefly worked at Alfa Romeo and that was a big hurdle for them to cross, which was that there was this regionality of Alfa Romeo and brand awareness that was not available everywhere. Especially with cars. It's a big investment, so people are not going to buy it if they don't feel really comfortable with the brand and they're not super aware of it. So yeah, definitely especially important with cars, which is probably why they do a lot of product placement.

Brian: [00:37:40] Yeah, they do. Actually, that was definitely a point I'm taking away. Car brands are all about that product placement because I'm just thinking about the most recent product placement I've seen. I just went to Wakanda Forever and Lexus was obviously in the first Black Panther and they came back for this one as well. And they did a really good job. Another really well-placed brand.

Phillip: [00:38:06] That has been egregious in times past in the Marvel Universe. There was Acura featured very prominently in Thor and Audi throughout the Iron Man franchise.

Brian: [00:38:19] That's right.

Phillip: [00:38:21] Those product placements are sort of pivotal, I think, also to getting the movie made. It's also an intrinsic vehicle.

Brian: [00:38:26] They have the scale. Car brands, they've got money.

Phillip: [00:38:29] That's true. Yeah, they've got the scale. That's true. That's true. I guess that's what we're coming down to. And it's alcohol and cars, but not together.

Brian: [00:38:42] And we haven't even touched on Coke. Coke is everywhere.

Phillip: [00:38:46] Prolific.

Brian: [00:38:47] Pepsi.

Andrea: [00:38:49] Have you seen Coke making a comeback on TikTok? Because people are romanticizing Coke and they're doing like how to romanticize Coke...

Brian: [00:38:55] Actually, we talked about that a little bit on our Romanticism episode of Visions. Yeah.

Andrea: [00:39:05] Oh very interesting.

Phillip: [00:39:06] That was actually... We didn't mention it. It was Grace Clarke who actually mentioned the fact that...

Andrea: [00:39:13] Oh, I love Grace.

Phillip: [00:39:13] Yeah, Grace is amazing. We'll actually link up in the show notes a link to that episode. It was Episode 3, I think, of the Visions podcast about Romanticism. But her point was Coca-Cola has had 100 years to create cultural moments around things that are cyclical in life. The polar bears or their Santa and holiday art being one example of many of cultural prominence. Of course, you equate Coca-Cola with the holidays, right? Why wouldn't you? They've had 100 years to cultivate that plus.

Brian: [00:39:57] I mean, especially the Elf scene where you just drains the entire bottle of Coca-Cola. The two liter. I remember that.

Phillip: [00:40:08] Yeah. I remember that. There's a lot of food in that movie. There's chewed-up chewing gum.

Andrea: [00:40:18] Right. Brad Pitt was not featured in that movie despite all the eating and the food.

Brian: [00:40:22] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:40:24] {laughter} Nice callback. All right, well, keeping with the food in the candy theme, I'll mention one I hadn't thought of and I think probably one of the also maybe could be awarded a Best Supporting Cast Member role is Reese's Pieces in E.T. That is a pretty iconic pairing. I don't know. You could certainly make that movie without Reese's Pieces. But the fact that it had to be that candy, which is effectively like a line extension of their other hero product, like the Reese's Cup. This was very obviously trying to broaden their offerings. This is a great marketing vehicle. The movie takes place during Halloween, so you have to have candy somewhere. So it seems like they probably also shopped that. I'd love to hear that story. I'd love to hear the story of who bid that and who worked that deal. That'd be amazing. That podcast should exist.

Brian: [00:41:34] Yeah, that should exist. That would be interesting. The story behind product placement and how it made its way in. And so we didn't get to.

Phillip: [00:41:42] Chris, cut this whole section out. We're going to build that podcast. {laughter} That podcast needs to exist.

Brian: [00:41:50] That is... Who made E.T.? Oh, that was Steven Spielberg.

Phillip: [00:41:55] That's an Amblin vehicle, right?

Brian: [00:41:57] I think the thing that was catching my eye. So you brought up Castaway earlier. I'm really surprised we didn't bring out Back to the Future. The master of product placement is Robert Zemeckis who did Castaway and Back to the Future and a number of other movies where I feel like product placement is front and center. It's probably because he's so expensive. He charges... Forrest Gump. Forrest Gump. That's another one.

Phillip: [00:42:30] Huge. Yeah.

Brian: [00:42:31] Everywhere.

Phillip: [00:42:31] Huge in product placement.

Brian: [00:42:31] Yes. Again, he kills it.

Andrea: [00:42:35] Yeah. I mean you never really see product placement in an up-and-coming indie film that makes it big on accident. You always see it in the ones that were already going to be big, to begin with.

Phillip: [00:42:45] So the car into Titan... Anyway, sorry, that's a random reference. Okay, so you're making a really interesting point here. I want your thoughts on this, Andrea, before we wrap. And this has been amazing. Thank you so much for doing this. It's such a fun time. We'll have to have you back a bunch.

Andrea: [00:43:03] Thank you for having me.

Phillip: [00:43:04]  [00:43:05]The shows and the movies you just mentioned, Brian, all have a component of sort of nostalgia associated with them, in particular a story in Back to the Future. There are hallmarks of time periods, right? And in Forrest Gump are vignettes of time periods. And one way that you tell that story is through fashion and through set design and production design. But when you populate the world with consumer brands that are vestiges of certain eras, it gives it some authenticity. So I guess maybe to kind of bring this back to CPGD, the vestige of the modern era is this proliferation of direct to consumer brands. Do you see us ever, if they made a movie of the 2020s, I think that you can't make that movie with consumer brands without featuring the direct to consumer explosion. [00:44:05] Where do you kind of see that going in the next few years? So do we see a contraction of brands as time goes on, given the state of the economy and etc., or do you think that this is sort of the world as it is here to stay?

Andrea: [00:44:17] That's so interesting that you say these brands act as like a vestige of nostalgia in these old movies or even some recent movies, because these emerging brands inherently, even if maybe their brand narrative harkens back to some nostalgia, like Deux is cookie dough, and then Suckers is sort of like hard candy. But still, these emerging brands that are coming out today don't really have that same sense of nostalgia. So I guess I think their use in things, in movies, and in culture and media is more to bring a sense of like modern-day relevancy and trend-setting and placing your products in the modern era. So if I were to launch a movie today and then I feature 818 Tequila, it's because I want my movie to seem new and fresh and culturally relevant and trendy. I'm not really trying to tie it back to a brand that everyone knows and loves and contextualize it in history. So I guess maybe that doesn't fully answer your question, but I think [00:45:21] the way that brands will be featured now and in the future will change just by the fact that brands don't really have the same cultural historical relevance that they used to because there are more new ones than there ever were before. So it'll be more for trendsetting and seeming trendy and new and culturally relevant. [00:45:44]

Brian: [00:45:44] I think that modern brands did make an appearance in a recent movie. It's called Vivarium.

Andrea: [00:45:50] Vivarium?

Brian: [00:45:51] Yes. And it was a dig. That was a bit of a dig. So it's a movie starring Jesse Eisenberg where he gets trapped in a world where he just gets sent all these really millennial-looking brands in a box over and over.

Phillip: [00:46:09] Oh, is that really? Oh, I haven't seen it. Okay. The Future Commerce Film Club launches today. We're going to group watch Vivarium.

Brian: [00:46:16] But that was a really mean comment by me and a commentary on blands. But yeah.

Phillip: [00:46:21] Don't be so mean, Brian, as a way to end it.

Brian: [00:46:23] I know.

Phillip: [00:46:24] What an awesome time to have had you on the show, Andrea. Where can people subscribe to your newsletter?

Andrea: [00:46:30] You can go to CBGd.xyz and hit subscribe. It's really that easy.

Phillip: [00:46:37] It's that easy, and it's actually really useful and fun. And I look forward to getting it in my inbox and you're awesome. We should look forward to doing some more stuff in the future. I think we've got a couple of announcements coming not too far into the future. It's going to be really good. I'm excited.

Andrea: [00:46:52] I'm excited. Thank you guys so much for having me on the show. You guys are so much fun and this is the best.

Brian: [00:46:57] Thank you.

Phillip: [00:46:57] Thank you. Same to you. And thank you all for listening to Future Commerce. Hey, best way to predict the future is to create the future. We can create that together. And while you're subscribing to CPGD, go check out FutureCommerce.fm/Subscribe. You get on that one too. And thanks for listening to Future Commerce.

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