Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, July 16, 2021

Product placement in movies makes good business sense — until it curses your bottom line. Current release The Devil Wears Prada, which as you’d expect is laden with luxury fashion goods, seemingly has put a hex on the financial performances of the featured companies:

The share prices of brands that got placement in the movie have almost all slumped more than the wider stock market in recent weeks — possibly reflecting a new caution about discretionary spending among American shoppers.

Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. (owner of the Calvin Klein brand), jeweler Tiffany & Co. Inc. , coffee chain Starbucks Corp. , steakhouse chain The Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group Inc. and bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. all got their moments in the movie — and all have had moments to forget in the stock market…

Among the “Devil” brands, shares of Philips-Van Heusen and Smith & Wollensky have declined about 20 percent since May 1, while shares of Tiffany & Co. have fallen 11 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has dropped 5.3 percent in the same period.

Barnes & Noble shares have lost more than a quarter of their value since May 1.

Even a high flyer like Starbucks has not escaped the Prada curse — or at least was not helped by placement in the movie. Shares dropped 11 percent in the past week after it announced June sales growth of 6 percent at coffee shops open at least 13 months, against expectations of as much as 8 percent.

That’s a bitch, huh? Ironically, over a movie about a bitch. At least Anne Hathaway looked cute in it.

This is reminiscent of what happened to some formerly high-flying companies that anted up for facetime in Blade Runner. The situation is referred to as The “Blade Runner Curse” (edited for clarity):

Someone once noticed that a number of the companies whose logos appeared in BR had financial difficulties after the film was released:

- Atari had 70% of the home console market in 1982, but faced losses of over $2 million in the first quarter of 1991.

- Bell Telephone lost its monopoly in 1982.

- Pan-Am Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection in 1991.

- Coca-Cola released their much-hyped “new formula” New Coke, resulting in losses of millions of dollars. (It is interesting to note that since then, the Coca-Cola company has seen the biggest growth of any American company in history.)

- Cusinart filed for bankruptcy protection in July 1989.

Quite the graveyard. Starbucks better hope it doesn’t end up a dearly-departed Trivial Pursuit footnote.

I would present all this as a cautionary tale. But the Blade Runner bad mojo didn’t stop the product placement trend from gaining steam, so I don’t expect this Devil slump to change marketers’ minds.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/16/2006 09:34:43 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Movies
| Permalink | Trackback |

1 Feedback »
  1. BLADE RUNNER BUILDING-BOARDS COMING TO LA…

    The future is arriving for Los Angeles, in the form of those skyscraper-sized video ads that opened the dystopian cityscape of Blade Runner. Inspired by that very movie, businessman Sonny Astani is planning to include such ads on a 33-story condo he’s…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 01/27/2008 @ 10:26:56 PM

RSS feed for feedback on this post.

Leave a comment


PLEASE NOTE: Various types of comment moderation may be triggered once you hit the "Say It!" button below. Common causes for this are the inclusion of several hyperlinks and/or spam words in the comment field. Please do not hit the "Say It!" button more than once. If you feel your comment is being blocked without cause, feel free to email me about it.