Simpson’s Film ‘Reverse Product Placement’

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 I’m calling “reverse product placement” at 7-11s across the country. While the deal hasn’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 KrustyO’s cereal, Buzz Cola and iced Squishees, each of which is a product that’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 know…).

Honestly, I’d kind of like to see boxes of the Japanese laundry detergent that featured Homer’s ugly mug, but I think that’s probably a niche product that no one else would possibly consider purchasing. It’s the Long Tail, though, folks! Stock it!

I’m digging this reverse product placement thing, though. Refitting a real world space to appear to be one from films or television isn’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 I’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. We’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, I’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.