Sat. Sep 24th, 2022

One of the most shocking things about movies of the past few decades, to me at least, is the heavy product placement that comes with the price of admission. You know the kind of thing: a shot that unnecessarily lingers on a beer bottle label or car decal before moving on to the actual drama of a scene. Sure, the product gets before the eyes of the public, but it often ruins any suspension of disbelief that was going on at the time. But on Wednesday, Audi gave us a peek at the other side of that equation by posting a Q&A with Kai Mensing, the head of international product placement.

Mensing has been fulfilling his role for a decade now, during which time we saw Audis pop up in, among other things, Transformers: Age of Extinction as well as several Marvel movies (including the Iron Man movies, in which Tony Stark drives various R8 supercars) and (to my surprise, because I have not seen them) the various fifty shades movies.

But the car company has been helping filmmakers with cars for much longer – Mensing points out ET the alien as the first, to see an Audi 5000 sedan sharing a little screen time with the brown wrinkly alien and his young costars. The company also supplied a first-generation S8 sedan for what may have been the last really good car chase movie – John Frankenheimer’s Ronin† (Frankenheimer was a true petrolhead and director of the 1966s Grand prizeso the guy knew how to film things on four wheels.)

Perhaps surprisingly, Mensing says Audi never wants filmmakers to change their story to show a particular car. “We adapt to the story,” he says. “If the script calls for a sporty car, we’ll supply an Audi R8, for example, or one of the RS models.”

Action movies show cars in action

We see a lot of Audis in action movies, Mensing says, because the filmmakers can “integrate the cars in a more dynamic way” instead of just having a stationary car parked. As for why the four rings appeared in all three? fifty shades movies? That depends on the source material.

“Audi cars are mentioned several times in the books, so it made sense that they were in the movies as well,” he says. “None of the scenes in the film featuring the Audi will raise eyebrows, so we didn’t hesitate to cooperate.”

That’s not always the case—when Jurassic Park first made the leap from novel to movie, the book’s Toyotas became Jeeps and Ford Explorers, but for the sequel (The Lost World), they were replaced by Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUVs, thanks to a product placement agreement with the latter automaker. And who can forget the Pierce Brosnan era bond movies that were heavy with BMWs because of a multi-movie deal between the producers and that German automaker?

While companies like Audi put their vehicles in movies because it’s an easy way to show products to tens or even hundreds of millions of people, those cars aren’t always models the brands want to sell. BMW’s concept cars have appeared in Mission Impossible movies, and both Audi and Lexus have created special concepts especially for movies like I robot and Minority Report

“The process usually starts with a detailed briefing by the film studio,” says Mensing when asked how those concepts come about. “Then Audi designers can give free rein to their creativity. They put their ideas on paper and those sketches then go to the studio for approval. Our CAD designers convert the selected sketches into a virtual model, which already looks very realistic. That design is then reviewed by the film studio’s creative team and adapted to the film’s aesthetics and artistic guidelines. That design then goes back to Audi for review, going back and forth a number of times until everyone is happy with it. the result.”

List image by Audi

By akfire1

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