Apple products are extremely popular in TV shows and movies, but the company does not pay for product placement. Apple provides MacBooks, iPads and iPhones to studios, but with a unique condition.
How does product placement work?
First of all, let's talk about product placement. You've probably noticed product placement in movies or TV series. Sometimes they appear quite subtly in the background, and other times they stand out.
Product placement simply happens when a company pays to have their products and logos appear in the media. Basically, if you see a brand's logo, there's a good chance the company paid for it. The opposite may also be true. If a logo is covered, it may be because the company did not pay for placement. Why showcase a brand for free when you could get paid for it?
According to Bloomberg, Apple does not pay for product placement, at least not with money. Instead, it provides its devices to studios for free. Apple even gave Modern Family the first iPad before it was even available. Appeared in one episode two days before it goes on the market.
Apple Product Placement Regulations
Although Apple doesn't pay for its devices to appear in TV shows and movies, the company clearly wants the advertising. However, the free devices come with a few requests from Apple.
First and foremost, Apple doesn't want bad guys using iPhones. Director Rian Johnson revealed it talking about the movie Knives Out. Talk about how you can sometimes use this information to tell if a character is bad or not:
“Apple allows you to use an iPhone in movies, but – and this is very important – if you're ever watching a mystery movie, the bad guys can't hold an iPhone in the camera.
Apple said it didn't specifically say "bad guys can't use iPhones," but its official guidelines say an Apple product should "only be shown in the best light." Interestingly, he also asks that references to Apple not "create a sense of sponsorship".
What can we understand from all this? Apple wants its products to appear naturally in movies and TV shows as a normal part of everyone's life. Paying to put the Apple logo front and center on the screen would destroy that illusion. Now if people associate iPhones with the "good guys", that certainly doesn't hurt. Barely.
So the next time you're following a mystery, pay attention to the phones used by the suspects. It's perhaps the best clue to the film's villain.