Saw an interesting little piece on Kotaku today about the upcoming Simpsons flick and the great lengths the production is going to in order to create what Iâ€™m calling â€œreverse product placementâ€ at 7-11s across the country. While the deal hasnâ€™t been finalized yet, it looks like 7-Eleven Inc. will be refitting 11 stores across the country to appear to be the Kwik-E-Mart store that so often finds itself a popular locale in the Simpsons television show.
Customers will be able to pick up boxes of KrustyOâ€™s cereal, Buzz Cola and iced Squishees, each of which is a product thatâ€™s been included in the show (I assume it would probably violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to hire Apus to sling the Squishees at the Kwik-e-Mart, but you never knowâ€¦).
Honestly, Iâ€™d kind of like to see boxes of the Japanese laundry detergent that featured Homerâ€™s ugly mug, but I think thatâ€™s probably a niche product that no one else would possibly consider purchasing. Itâ€™s the Long Tail, though, folks! Stock it!
Iâ€™m digging this reverse product placement thing, though. Refitting a real world space to appear to be one from films or television isnâ€™t rare in places like Japan (which did something similar for one of the Ringu films, even going so far as to hold a mock funeral for one of the characters), but Iâ€™d like to imagine that this type of attraction, which has largely been the province of theme parks in the U.S., will soon spread out to other types of situations. Weâ€™ve already seen a marked increase in the amount of alternate reality games that are swimming around the net (including an amazingly cool one for Heroes that, I must admit, Iâ€™m addicted to). It seems like a natural extension of this to start creating real-world venues that feed into this type of gameplay. Sure, upkeep would be expensive, but imagine having to show up at a certain bar to get information to deliver to Jack Bauer. Priceless.