In a trailer playing before this week's top film, The Grey, Sony finally merged its studio product with that of its consumer products division. It's the kind of thing that would make Jack Donaghy pee his bespoke pants with excitement.
The trailer begins as a "This is my life" commercial for Sony's range of handheld tech products, including phones and tablets. But then it seamlessly morphs into a trailer for the fifth installment in the Resident Evil franchise, due out in September. It's the boldest move yet by a brand that has been loading its on-screen business with its on-the-shelf one.
Sony Pictures' product placement nepotism is something we've looked at numerous times over the years. For exmaple, the Sony-made James Bond film Quantum of Solace was littered with Sony.
In 2011, Sony Pictures managed to give its consumer electronics major roles in a number of films the studio produced. These included, just a few:, The Smurfs, Battle: Los Angeles, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Roommate, and 30 Minutes or Less.
This blending of its consumer product division with its movie promotion business was hinted at less than 12 months ago. In the run-up to the release of the 2011 Sony action film Priest, Sony enlisted Maggie Q, one of the film's stars, to promote a "trailer challenge" on the Sony Facebook page under the banner "Sony. Believe."
Sony is even enlisting the big stars in its studio-to-products marriages. For 2011's Sony Pictures film Just Go With It, Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston appeared in a number of promotional videos where the stars more or less stared at a Sony Vaio laptop and talked about the film.
It's noteworthy that Resident Evil already had a deep product placement relationship with Sony before the latest trailer. In 2004's Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Dr. Ashford works out the fate of the world with, what else, his Sony Vaio.
Programming note: Brandchannel has published the annual Brandcameo Product Placement Awards since 2004. On February 13, we will announce the Product Placement Award winners for 2011. Please participate: take our short, annual reader survey on product placement (and stay tuned for the awards on Feb. 13):