A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan.  Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, I present one of McLuhan’s observations and talk about its relevance today.  300 ideas. 300 days.  300 posts.

What the ads learned from the movies.

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52).  Of course, it’s obvious  …

“When the movies came, the entire pattern of American life went on the screen as a nonstop ad.  Whatever any actor or actress wore or used or ate was such an ad as had never been dreamed of.  … The result was that all ads in magazines and the press had to look like scenes from a movie.  They still do.  But the focus has had to become softer since TV.”

Me (October, 2010, age 58). Yes or no?

Today the focus has softened so much that the ad has been re-woven into the movie.  It’s called “product placement.”  Instead of Clark Gable taking off his shirt to reveal an undershirt and everyone runs out to buy one, and the movie makers are surprised, Brad Pitt opens the fridge and guess what’s sitting there – a coke.  And what do you order later on at the refreshment stand because you’re feeling thirsty?  A coke.

And nobody’s surprised, least of all the movie makers who charged Coca Cola a sizable fee for coke’s appearance in the scene.  Despite its historical roots in the movies not everyone is a fan of product placement.  The director John Lynch for example:


Cordially, Marshall and Me



Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, p. 231.

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Michael Hinton Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Business, Communication, Technology, Vol. 1 1 Comment

1 Comment to What the ads learned from the movies.

  • >The director John Lynch for example

    I think it s/b ‘DAVID’ Lynch !!!

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