MBA’s Nightmare.Posted: August 26, 2007
One of the great things about Superbad is that there is not a single product placement in it. It’s old school that way—just like the music the characters love. Instead of selling every square inch of movie-frame real estate to the highest bidder, as all other movies do today, Superbad does what movies used to do forty years ago. When there’s a can of beer in the shot (and there are many of these shots), the moviemakers have created a fictional beer with a mocked-up label that kind of looks like Miller High Life but not really. When there’s a bucket of detergent, it’s some fictional mocked-up brand that kind of looks like the illegitimate child of Tide and Era. I really liked the way the movie didn’t whore itself out to the pimps of product placement. (And there’s something funny, satirical, about the fake brands–their graphics seem to provide an additional level of commentary on the world these kids live in.)
I have two theories to explain the absence of real brands in the movie. One is that no manufacturer would allow its products within ten miles of a movie as unjudgmental about underage drinking as Superbad is. That’s my cynical theory. But I also have an idealistic theory. This is, that the makers of Superbad said, “You know what? This isn’t a costly movie we’re making. There are no stars and no expensive locations. We’re going to make a ton of money as it is. We don’t need no stinking product placement, gringo.”
It’s a subtle thing, but the decision to keep Superbad pristine this way contributes to the movie’s feeling as honest as it does in every other way. Hooray, makers of Superbad.