AdAge has released the 2011 list of America's biggest-spending advertisers. Topped by Procter & Gamble
Except this perennial head-scratcher: How can Apple
Let me clarify my bewilderment. TV ads for Apple are few and far between, unlike the marketing blitz that established the iPod and iTunes brands so long ago. Billboards? Also few and far between -- too gauche. There's a smattering of magazine ads, but hardly a massive campaign.
But have you seen a movie lately?
That's where the Apple action is.
For example, Viacom's Paramount gave plenty of product-placement screen time to several paying partners in the current box-office champ, Green Lantern. That includes a duo of Macs for the hero's love interest, prominently placed in an important scene. What makes Green Lantern different is that some characters actually don't use a Mac. I'm told there are Dell
Starting in 2006, Apple adamantly claimed not to pay Hollywood for product-placement opportunities. Yet it's come to this: If major characters use anything other than Apple computers, it's going to be a Sony
I'd understand if Walt Disney
It wasn't always like this, even if you wanted to avoid the Windows trademark. Jurassic Park featured generic Unix computers, and the computers in The Matrix are so vanilla that I can't figure out the brand of Neo's office desktop. But Macs are everywhere now.
So what's going on? Is Apple paying studios big bucks under the table? Are film directors just using Apple stuff as a proxy for the good guys and the cool kids? It's either the greatest cover-up operation in marketing history or the finest free ad program I've ever seen.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Procter & Gamble, Apple, Walt Disney, and AT&T and have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.