Everyone by now has heard of “Twilight.” You have either read it yourself (meaning you are probably a woman); you’ve heard about it from your girlfriend, wife, or daughter; or you’ve seen it publicized on TV or the Internet. I admit, I am a die hard “Twilight” fan. I have almost completed the entire saga; I only have 300 pages left of “Breaking Dawn,” which I’m absolutely loving so far!
Contrary to what some critics said about the movie, I thought it was very well done and stayed true to the book. I had very high expectations for the film and especially of Edward Cullen in particular. Sure the screen writing could have been a bit stronger, but overall, the on screen passion between Edward and Bella felt real, and the beautiful, Northwest filmed cinematography was spectacular. Even my boyfriend, who is a film major, thought the movie contained some stunning outdoor cinematic shots. My favorite scene of the movie is when Edward is climbing (or more like running) up a 200ft tree with Bella on his back. At one point the camera pulls from a close up to a panoramic view and reveals them standing near the top of the 200ft tree. It’s remarkable camera work that you can tell was not green screened!
Since I am a PR major, my mind is often naturally thinking about public relations things, such as how I could creatively promote something, or how a company could promote something better. While I was in the theater thoroughly enjoying “Twilight,” I noticed some definite intended product placement. Can anyone guess what I’m referring to?
Well, I can tell you that it’s not Bella’s 1953 Chevy truck, or Edward’s Volvo S60 R, or even Rosalie’s BMW M3 convertible. I’m actually talking about Charlie’s and Billy’s drink of choice: Rainier Beer.
If you don’t know already, Rainier beer is a Northwest born and brewed beer. Stroh Brewing company has slacked local thirsts in the Georgetown area of Seattle for more than a century now! Once prohibition ended, the owners of the brewery installed a giant, red “R” neon sign (visible from I-5) that later became a local landmark. In the 80s, the climax of Rainier Beer’s popularity, the brand produced some of the region’s quirkiest and popular advertising, such as the running of the RainBeers (a herd of bottles with legs sticking out of them) and a motorcycle whose gears shifted to the whine of the product’s name. The brewery became the fourth largest in the world. In 1999, Rainier Beer was sold to Pabst brewing Company and soon after the famous “R” sign was taken down.
I thought it was very clever and refreshing to see the movie use a locally brewed and nationally recognized old-time beer favorite. Charlie, the protagonist’s dad, referred to Rainier Beer as “Vitamin R.” There were at least three scenes that showed Charlie getting back from the store with two, 6-packs of Rainier “tall boys,” or slugging down a can of Rainier Beer while listening to Bella talk. There’s even one scene where Bella says something like, “Here dad, have another one of your favorites,” referring to the beer. I found the product placement to be very appropriate. Obviously Pabst Brewing Co. had to give Summit Entertainment permission to use the beer in the film. You would also have to assume that they probably agreed on some financial arrangements for the beer to be used, because I can assure you that Rainer Beer was not incorporated into the “Twilight” books, written by Stephenie Meyer.
It’s interesting because Pabst Brewing Co. has not really invested in advertising in over 20 years. It’s also interesting that it is hard to find Rainier Beer these days. Many stores and restaurants do not even stock it anymore. I worked at a restaurant this summer, and we sold Rainier Beer… let’s just say on more than one occasion I made guys’ days because of that.
I would categorize this type of PR promoting as “guerrilla PR.” I don’t think the intention of Pabst Brewing Co. or director, Catherine Hardwicke, was to revamp the brand name of Rainier Beer, as so much as to honor the Northwest region by using one of its own products as a prop.
I wonder how the product placement of Rainier Beer in “Twilight” will affect (or not affect) sales. What do you think?
Even at a vampire movie my mind is still thinking PR. Is that strange?
If you have a minute you should definitely check out this old-school Rainier Beer commercial. It’s pretty darn funny.