‘Product Placement’ in Batman Film

On something of a whim I saw the new Batman movie last night. For those curious or otherwise inclined to see it I would recommend the 2.5 hour film. But during the movie there were two items of a “product placement” nature that jumped out at me. One was, I’m sure, actual paid-for product placement, while the other I’m just calling “product placement.”

The first was a very iPhone-like Nokia device that appears in the movie (prominently branded Nokia). The interesting thing is that the phone doesn’t actually exist. It appears almost identical to the iPhone but with Nokia branding. Nokia is reportedly developing the “Tube,” an iPhone like touch-screen device that will be out at some point next year. Accordingly, Nokia seems to be trying to create an association or impression (unconsciously) in the consumer mind that is unjustified at this point by its current phones.

The second item is the appearance of a yellow pages phone book with “Gotham” on the spine. (Gotham in this film is played by Chicago.) I’m sure there was no commercial effort to put this book in the film and most people won’t notice it, but I did. The thick yellow directory is placed on the mayor’s desk, with its spine facing the camera: Gotham (as opposed to “Gotham City). It may be something of an effort to establish the credibility of the location in the midst of a very clearly recognizable Chicago.

I was just in Chicago so the cityscape and backgrounds screamed “Chicago” (not Gotham) at me as I watched the movie.

All that aside, if you can stomach the intensity of the movie it asks some powerful philosophical and moral questions in our post 9/11 era of “ends justify the means.” Morgan Freeman’s head of Wayne Industries resigns his position when he discovers Batman is spying on Gotham’s cell-phone communications (hmmm). But the film has no political slant per se; it just asks tough questions in harrowing situations.

Heath Ledger is great BTW.


7 Responses to “‘Product Placement’ in Batman Film”

  1. Tim Cohn Says:

    Great catch…. Vaporware Product Placement and Branding?

    Who’d have thought it was possible?

    Only in Tech and Hollywood…

  2. paul Says:

    thought i saw a dell monitor in there too

  3. Greg Says:


  4. Tim Cohn Says:

    Does the Chicago River count as product placement too?

  5. martijn Says:

    Here in Barcelona I recognized they changed the film poster of (john) hancock! At the film poster, in the left part of the glasses, normally you would see a city skyline, somewhere in the US ( I assume ). Here, it’s the Sagrada Familia ! I will go and take a picture of it today. How would you call this?

  6. Alastair Binnie Says:

    Did you miss the whole Lamborghini thing? ridiculous. I’m pretty anti the film and i think it has quite a republican political edge, i mean imagine showing kids the supposed hero of a film dropping a guy from a height that’s not going to kill him to get information. Yes now I see why guantanamo is a good idea. not.
    I have more beef with the film i don’t want to get into but there is some in hancock too, dysani, america today, youtube. But city placement, that’s pretty cool martijn! do they change the name of the city too? and how about on the roadsign in the film? it would be cool if they did but it’d ruin the whole eagle symbology which was pretty heavy handed.

  7. Nokia ‘Batman’ Device Revealed « Screenwerk Says:

    […] Device Revealed By Greg Sterling Recall that when the film the Dark Knight opened I posted this: The first was a very iPhone-like Nokia device that appears in the movie (prominently branded […]

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