Product placement is when a movie shows a product, or set of products, in return for a fee or payment in kind from that product’s manufacturer. It happens all the time, as Morgan Spurlock’s new documentary, “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,’’ makes plain. Spurlock blows the whistle on product placement the way his “Super Size Me’’ did on fast food in 2004.
Product placement belongs to the realm of commerce and advertising. Really, what’s product placement but a commercial by other means? Related to product placement, but quite different from it, is something you might call product emplacement, which belongs to the realm of entertainment and imagination. That’s when a particular product is so integral to a movie that it becomes part of film lore. No money changes hands. What changes is movie history.
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