How did a movie that uses copious amounts of food manage to not have product placements abounding in every other scene? It’s ironic that not many animated films (other than the “Toy Story” franchise) bother to do much product placement when there’s such ample opportunity for it. We’re more apt to see it in very non-subtle ways for live action movies where brand names know the covered 18-34 demographic are watching. The fact that most animated movies attract under 18’s may be one reason why we don’t see it there often.
Regardless, imagine the pay dirt food products would have had if they paid for the “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” franchise to include their products. You also have to imagine what it could have done in controlling the eating habits of children when you consider some of the foods featured in the above movie’s sequel aren’t all found in the snack aisle.
Yes, it might be a little surreal for even a child to see different fruits and vegetables turned into living creatures as if on the island of Dr. Moreau. It also might be more of a challenge to promote a name brand behind fruits and vegetables when most produce is sold locally and not as national brands. Perhaps it explains why most of the foods seen in the “Cloudy” sequel are ambiguous without being associated with a brand.
That doesn’t mean there wasn’t a missed opportunity here to incite kids to eat those healthier foods to help the slow victory against obesity. Seeing some of the healthiest food come to life might have freaked out enough young astute minds to the point where they may fear killing a piece of produce if they eat it at home. Or, we can only hope that even more astute young minds got a hunger pang for something other than meatballs falling from the sky as in the first “Cloudy” movie.
Whether intentional or not, the unhealthiest foods were mostly the villains within all the food/animal hybrids. If you’ve seen the movie, you saw cheeseburgers turned into shark-like creatures, a cheese spider, and tacos turned into crocodiles. Most of the healthier foods were harmless by far despite being a little wild. But it’s hard to imagine all that being beyond coincidence and perhaps part of the more astute vision in America in trying to turn the obesity tide around.
There’s no telling what the backlash would have been, though, had “Cloudy 2” been full of product placements. It’s a miracle product placement still exists at all when it’s usually done in such obvious ways that grate on viewers rather than being natural brand integration. We’ve seen more than enough scenes in movies just in the last five years that show a brand name product strategically placed in a camera shot. Sometimes it’s as deliberate as one of the actors holding the product up to the camera so it’s plainly seen.
Let’s give some kudos to Sony Pictures Animation for not taking a movie concept about creating food and letting corporations put their stamps all over it. If product placement is on the wane now, then perhaps corporations can be subtler and place their products in a movie without showing the name brand. With audiences much more observant to details, it’s probably going to be obvious anyway what that product is.
In the meantime, expect kids who just saw “Cloudy 2” to officially adopt fruits and vegetables off your local grocery store produce shelf. They may eat them eventually once giving those strawberries and bananas a good home.