Talking tech since 2003

As far as weekdays go, yesterday was a pretty relaxing day.  Being my day off, I plopped into the lazy chair in the living room; remote and phone on a side-table, dog and laptop on my lap.  And for the better part of the day I remained a fixture in this spot while watching a handful of movies and television shows, cleaning off the DVR to make room for television shows next season.  While the genres of the films and series that I watched varied pretty significantly, one thing I found whilst catching up on my entertainment was that there was one thing that kept popping up in just about every production.  Apple products.

Be it iMacs, MacBook Pro notebooks, iPhone handsets, or iPods it seemed that Apple products had somehow made their way into every program.  After a while I began to wonder just why this was so, and initially I simply guessed that Apple had paid off producers to show their products in movies and TV series; a strategy that I for one thought was or would be very ingenious.

More intrigued, I did a quick Google search that lead me to a Washington Post article from 2006 where Apple’s presence in entertainment was discussed.  What really surprised me, though, was the fact that “Apple said it does not pay for product placement and would not discuss how its products make their way into television and films.”  More intrigued, I did a bit more searching and found that even more recently it hasn’t been apparent that Apple has been paying for product placement.

So why are their products everywhere?  Well, knowing that many film makers, producers, and editors take advantage of Apple products (predominantly the Macintosh computer) to assist in the production of on-screen entertainment, the thought crossed my mind that many producers were possibly using Apple products as props because of the fact that they could make use of their own equipment without needing extra props.

To an extent this makes a bit of sense, especially looking at independent (“indie”) films where the only props available to low-budget filmmakers are the items that they themselves own and have quick and easy access to.  In the independent film “The Lionshare” I took note of an Apple Mac Pro and pondered the possibility that the same computer was potentially a key component not only in the scene, but in the editing and coordination process as well.

But even as much as this aspect makes sense, I’ve seen countless series and films where computers sported very Apple-esque designs  – including glowing fruit figured emblems – but were clearly not real Macs.  The simple fact here is that in these cases producers are quite obviously making real efforts to utilize the Apple appeal without using their products.

And really, I think that’s just it.  When it comes down to it, I think the appearance of the products are meant to help better illustrate scenes and ultimately help distinguish characteristics in the works.  Think about it.  With relatively low market share and what many see as over the top pricing, Apple has managed to make their brand appear as a premium line; something that many like myself would agree with.  With this in mind, I think that it makes sense that Apple products are used, at least in some situations, to express a sense of perceived professionalism and cleanliness to certain characters and groups in films and television series.  As the same WSJ article that I mentioned earlier pointed out, there are series like “24” (Fox) in which the “good guys” sport Apple gear and the “bad guys” run around with more generic-looking equipment.

Have you noticed this trend?  Share your input in the comments!

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