The spookiest lipbalm ever!
January 14, 2002 9:01 AM   Subscribe

The spookiest lipbalm ever! Check out the prominent plug for ChapStick in the new film "The Mothman Prophecies." You'll find it in the full trailer, not the "teaser" trailer. Product placement isn't anything new, but this is pretty blatant.
posted by CosmicSlop (38 comments total)
Is it really blatant? Isn't Chapstick like Hoover or Xerox or Kleenex -- a brand so widespread and dominant its name has come to be synonymous with the object described?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:06 AM on January 14, 2002

That commercial cracks me up. Richard Gere gets all freaked out by a dude whispering the word "Chapstick." Is there anything less frightening than Chapstick?
posted by etc. at 9:11 AM on January 14, 2002

There's a Mothman Prophecies film!? Wow... cool.
posted by rodii at 9:11 AM on January 14, 2002

There's a Mothman Prophecies film!? Wow... cool

What's the story behind "The Mothman"? After seeing
the site I assumed it was just an attempt to reemploy
the artificial myth angle that worked so well for "The
Blair Witch Project" . . .
posted by ryanshepard at 9:18 AM on January 14, 2002

I think it's blatant because it's in the TV commercial and the trailer, both of which will be repeated thousands of times. I saw it three times in a single evening of channel surfing.

And it's not a passing, quick edit of an iMac, BMW or a Rolex. It's a clear, lingering shot of the ChapStick tube and the spooky voice saying "ChapStick!" (which is funny by itself..)

If I'd only seen it in the film itself, the ChapStick content wouldn't stand out so much. Prominent placement in the adverstising makes the difference.
posted by CosmicSlop at 9:25 AM on January 14, 2002

You know, I didn't think about it when I saw the commercial the other night, but I agree -- I can't think of a more blatant piece of prod placement in the widely distributed trailer/commercial itself: the fact that they both show and name the product within the 30-sec commercial is kind of amazing. Anybody remember another occurence of this sort of thing?
posted by BT at 9:40 AM on January 14, 2002

I would question why a company would want that kind of product placement. But it is absolutely the most hilarious thing you've ever seen. When the "scary" voice on the other end of the phone goes "chaaapppssstiiicckkkk" I almost wet my pants. My brother and I started trading additional "scary" lines: "the baallmm that makes your lliiipppsss sssmmooothhhh" and "cherryyy flaaavooor, my faaavvoritteee."
posted by pardonyou? at 9:44 AM on January 14, 2002

The ad came one last night right before The Simpsons, where one of the first lines was "Bart, your Mountain Dew is getting flat." At the next commercial break, BB King was doing ads for Burger King, and Garth Brooks was pitching Dr. Pepper.
posted by cell divide at 9:45 AM on January 14, 2002

I guess I agree with the previous poster, "ChapStick" is like "BandAid" or "Kleenex". I just think that Gere's reaction shot is hilarious. He should go to Nic Cage "8mm" hand biting school.
posted by McBain at 9:45 AM on January 14, 2002

I guess I agree with the previous poster, "ChapStick" is like "BandAid" or "Kleenex". I just think that Gere's reaction shot is hilarious. He should go to Nic Cage "8mm" hand biting school.
posted by McBain at 9:46 AM on January 14, 2002

Sorry, I am new. Forgive me. Anyway to delete?
posted by McBain at 9:50 AM on January 14, 2002

Eerily chanting "Chaaap Stiiick" has become the new make-you-laugh code phrase between my girlfriend and me. It supplanted Penelope Cruz' ducklike delivery of the line "You will come beck to me?" from the mercifully unseen Corelli's Mandolin.
posted by Skot at 9:50 AM on January 14, 2002

McBain: It happens to the best of us.
posted by jpoulos at 10:31 AM on January 14, 2002

McBain: It happens to the best of us.
posted by jpoulos at 10:31 AM on January 14, 2002

At the end of the TV ad, the voice over says "based on true events." Does that mean a real boogieman actually guessed that it was 'chaaaapstick' in somebody's hand?

I've never heard of "based on true events" before. When are events not a story? Does anybody know the background to this movie?
posted by zpousman at 10:43 AM on January 14, 2002

the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette did a neat little bit on the mothman-silver bridge story in January 2001. there has been enough coverage of the story background to make it a "real" legend rather than a blair witch kind of thing. the silver bridge really did collapse and ppl really did report sightings of the mothman but as far as I know he never terrorized anyone by telling them they were holding "chaaaaapstick" in their hand.

i wonder if the film will have the MIB or asian dwarfs in it too...?
posted by s.carrier at 11:11 AM on January 14, 2002

I agree that it's one of those common kind of everyday things that it's not really a plug. He could have been holding a pen or a lighter or a knife... but "kniiiifffe" doesn't have the same ring to it as "chaaaaapstiiick."

The Simpsons, where one of the first lines was "Bart, your Mountain Dew is getting flat."

I think that was a subtle jab rather than a product placement. It's not like they didn't do any other jabs at Mountain Dew before...

> We have crab juice, and Mountain Dew.
> Homer: Eeeeeeeeewwww, ahhhhh, blech. I'll take the crab juice.
posted by mkn at 11:54 AM on January 14, 2002

"Based on true events" basically equates to, "there was a guy named Richard Jones a few years back who used Chapstick".
posted by Danelope at 11:57 AM on January 14, 2002

(Or whatever his name is.)
posted by Danelope at 11:58 AM on January 14, 2002

Does anyone else remember the product placement in Schindler's List? Schindler is making preparations to woo the Nazis with an expensive dinner, and he tells his servant: "We'll need cognac ... the very best" -- and then there's a lingering closeup of a bottle of Hennessy. I'm still stunned that no one challenged Spielberg over that one.
posted by argybarg at 12:22 PM on January 14, 2002

MKN sez: "it's one of those common kind of everyday things that it's not really a plug. He could have been holding a pen or a lighter or a knife..."

Indeed it could have been a pen, a knife, a dollar bill, a paperweight, a pancake, or damn near anything, really. But it's not. The decision was made to use ChapStick(tm), show the product, with the logo nice and visible. It's a 100% genuine product placement plug.

I think ChapStick does fall into the almost-generic name category (like Kleenex, Xerox, Tupperware, etc.) in many consumers' minds, but I'll guarantee it doesn't for the people trying to make sure you buy ChapStick lipbalm, and not some other brand. Having your brand-name become the generic term for a product isn't always a good thing. Makes people think any brand will do, while you still want them buying the real thing. Blurring of your brand identity is bad. A nice fat appearance like in this movie combats that blurring.
posted by CosmicSlop at 12:35 PM on January 14, 2002

"What do I have in my hand?"
"meeeedicated liiiiiip baaaaaaaalm"
posted by fuq at 12:54 PM on January 14, 2002

Here's a background piece I linked on my site a while ago. The mothman is a classic case of forteana, not at all like manufactured "true horror" like the Blair Witch.
Whatever one thinks of the validity of Keel's claims, there's no arguing the horror of what happened next. Keel had begun to be given "prophecies" by the entities he was dealing with in Point Pleasant, one in particular that said that "when President Johnson turned on the Christmas lights at the White House, the whole northeast was going to go into a blackout." However, by that point, Coleman says that Keel had "started to get fooled by the phenomena.

"On December 15, John Keel is in his apartment in Manhattan," Coleman continues. "[Waiting for the blackout] with his bottled water and his batteries, and nothing happens. About six minutes later, on the TV set across the bottom: 'Bridge collapses across Ohio River.' And he just freaks out."

Keel "freaked out" because the bridge in question was the Silver Bridge, which crossed the Ohio River between Gallipolis, Ohio, and – you guessed it – Point Pleasant, West Virginia. "67 people fell into the river. 46 died. They found 44 bodies," says Coleman. "Several people who died were related to witnesses of Mothman."

The collapse of the Silver Bridge has been seen as the climax of Keel's Mothman experience, but Coleman is quick to say "I don't think it stopped. What I think is that it has continued on but people did not report it. It never got to the fever pitch of, say, a Roswell."
posted by skallas at 1:09 PM on January 14, 2002

The Mothman Prophecies, is, as skallas says, a classic of Forteana. It's always been dear to my heart because I have family in Gallipolis and Point Pleasant. Robert Anton Wilson also discusses it at length in Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati.
posted by rodii at 1:53 PM on January 14, 2002

How is it that an animal (or devil, or alien) that hangs out in the woods and has eyes in its chest (yeah, that'd work) phones up free-lance journos and tells them stuff? I mean, at least the Blair Witch made SENSE! Wtf?

I *loved* the early Blair Witch stuff. It was simple yet creepy, hard to disprove (I retained a small hope that Blair Witch was true until those Steak N Shake commercials with the main character came out) and was internally consistent. I'd love to find out about this mothman character, but it sounds so ludicrous it cancels out the suspension of disbelief. How does a blackout prediction turn into a collapsed bridge? And why would that freak you out? And what does Keel's caller id say when Mothman calls him up? "Mothman @ Woods"? Plausibility is integral to a really good urban legend.
posted by UncleFes at 2:34 PM on January 14, 2002

Keel's book (which came out in, what, 1969) is pretty up front about all that. Keel is no wild-eyed believer--weird things keep happening and he has this very "now what?" tone about them. Like: there are three very specific prophecies, but only one of them comes true in a straightforward way; one comes true at the wrong time and place, and one doesn't come true but something else does at the exact right time. Keel remarks on how weird and dreamlike it all is; he never quite buys in but he can't brush it off either. It's very Fox Mulder.

(The Mothman himself never calls anyone, if I remember it rightly.)
posted by rodii at 2:44 PM on January 14, 2002

Fes, the legend isn't really about a big-foot type creature making phone calls. I don't know how the movie is going to play out, but for the most part the story is about the various paranormal events that keep happening in those towns and how a journalist got mixed up into it. The mothman is just one part of the this very weird pie.
posted by skallas at 2:46 PM on January 14, 2002

Sorry, I was doing some Googling and found out some more. It's still so implausible as to be ludicrous, though.

Anyone know of a good site with these sorts of things?

I'm probably going to skip the movie and get the book. And a slice of weird pie :)
posted by UncleFes at 2:51 PM on January 14, 2002

Fes, decent write-up here with lots of links.
posted by skallas at 3:04 PM on January 14, 2002

hehe. i scared myself silly reading the official movie website a couple of nights ago. i'm dying to see this film, true or not. it really reminds me of the whitley streiber book, "communion", which was made into a film with christopher walken. (!) a lot of strange things he insists are true, but you kind of had to be there. he followed with the book "transformation". they were both creepy as hell and deliciously questionable.
posted by centrs at 3:46 PM on January 14, 2002

Damn, centrs! Now when I'm watching the film, I'll just be thinking, "Gere sucks! Walken would have really killed in that chapstick scene!"
posted by gimli at 6:53 PM on January 14, 2002

someone mentioned scary.. ack, scary (just stare at the doorway for a while.. you'll know what i'm talking about after a while.).
posted by lotsofno at 7:56 PM on January 14, 2002

Jesus, lotsofno, I nearly pissed myself! You gotta warn people about that sort of thing.
posted by UncleFes at 8:57 PM on January 14, 2002

What UncleFes said. Gah.
posted by diddlegnome at 9:53 PM on January 14, 2002

lotsofno, a good one...eck!
posted by trippyjazz at 10:35 PM on January 14, 2002

ah, sorry about that.. i was wondering if i should make a huge warning before putting it up, as the person who told me didn't, and i nearly jumped out my window when i saw it (it was 2 am, all my lights were turned off, and i was up real close to the monitor trying to see what was up with the door.). but, i thought the part with the link being on the word scary would be enough... and as usual, i was wrong.
posted by lotsofno at 4:09 AM on January 15, 2002

Caaaarmeeeeexx! Now that woulda been spooky.
posted by Nauip at 5:50 PM on January 15, 2002

I see chapstick...

In your dreams? While you're awake? Chapstick, like, the lip balm? In pockets?

[Cole Nods]

How often do you see Chapstick, Cole?


All the time!

I finally saw the Mothman preview today, and the placement is every bit as bad as you guys made it sound. Still, though, it has a long way to go before it beats Shadowkeeper's All-Time Fave Product Placement of Like All-Time: a scene in "Happy Gilmore" in which Adam Sandler walks out of a SubWay store (with the SubWay Sign filling the entire top of the screen) holding two SubWay bags (with the logos facing the camera) and says "Yo! I got SubWay!"*

*Note: As best I recall, which is not well, so absolutely none of this may be accurate. But I sure as hell ain't gonna watch "Happy Gilmore" again for the sake of verification.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 6:49 PM on January 15, 2002

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