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I will come out on record now: I never got caught up in the SATC trend back in the late 1990s. Yes, we had HBO at the time. Yes, I was a female 20-something. But I just never bothered. I was too busy watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Charmed. (Those shows — and the fact that we were in full-on going out to clubs mode — were the main reasons we got a TiVo when it first came out.) But as always, I digress.

Anyway, didn’t watch the SATC television shows. Didn’t see the first movie. But tonight, when a few friends wanted a girls’ night out, I agreed to see SATC 2. It was a LOOOONG movie. I am an antsy person. Ask my husband. He will tell you that watching movies with me is tortuous. I get up. I go to the bathroom. I make him pause all the time. I don’t like to sit in one place. Sometimes I fall asleep. Maybe it’s because I sit in front of this computer for hours and hours at a time, but I am almost incapable of sitting through a two-hour movie. But tonight I made it through the entire 146 minutes in that theater.

It was a pretty good movie. I knew the characters. (Is there anyone in the world who doesn’t know them?) I knew the back story. (I love reading Entertainment Weekly, which has — over the years — reported on the SATC trend ad nauseum.) I can honestly say I enjoyed the movie. But my biggest take away: there was too much product placement in the movie.

Again, maybe it’s because I write about advertising and marketing (among other things) for a living, but I kept being pulled out of the story by the very obvious-to-me placements. A Cuisinart coffeemaker wakes Carrie up one morning. She gives Big a gorgeous Rolex watch their anniversary. There’s a giant HP logo on Samantha’s monitor. The girls hold up Pringles cans on the private jet. And Carrie even SAYS the brand’s name! In another scene, Samantha finds her Hermes Birkin bag acting as a pivotal plot point. And screams the brand name out loud. In the middle of a market.

What’s my biggest problem with the placements? They were too and obvious to me. I understand why they are in there. The movie is going to make a ton of money. Lots of women are going to see it. Women admire and love the franchise and the characters. So of course marketers want to link their brands to the movie and the franchise. But people, people, we’re not idiots. We really don’t need to pan that long on the coffeemaker and the Cuisinart logo, do we? We get it, we get it. Carrie and Big own a Cuisinart, so we should go buy one, too. (And I have nothing against Cuisinart. I actually WANTED that model way before I saw the movie.)

I think there is a very fine line between integrated, integral product placement and pure huckstering. And to me, lots of what I saw fell into the second category. Still, the movie was really good. It was a whimsical way to spend a Friday night. Even if I did have a big problem with the Aiden/Carrie plot line. I won’t say any more since it’s a big-time spoiler…

How’s your weekend going? Stay safe, and stay healthy!

One Response to “Sex and the City 2: Commercialism at its Finest”

  1. Robin B says:

    Karen, if you can, rent the SATC HBO series. You’ll see that product placement pretty much WAS the show. In fact, in certain episodes, it was the plot line…like the episode where Carrie gets mugged for her Manolos. Or the episode where Samantha is caught with a fake designer bag (forget which one, but it sure as heck was mentioned…a lot!). SATC wouldn’t have been SATC without its blatant commercialism. It was what the girls lived for.

    In fact, I’d urge you to rent the TV series if only to see how great it was and how much the movies pale in comparison. As a writer, you’ll appreciate the incredibly tight, clever writing that was a hallmark of the series. That was one of the reasons I never missed an episode. The writing. It was that good. Really.

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