PETER YORK ON ADS; Mission PR: Tom Cruise says buy the book

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The Independent Culture
Product placement - sticking branded things in films to give them a famous favourable showcase - usually observes a certain discretion. You make the drop and ship in something for the producers, and then wait for the exposure to find its own level. Or you PR it, hoping to provoke, say, a fashion editor or a feature writer with space to fill to run with the news that Actor X wears someone's trainers in the big film and does it amount to a trend?

But Apple have really gone for broke with Mission: Impossible, selling the Apple Powerbook's central role in the film with big tie-in ads using long clips. "After you see the movie you may want to pick up the book," they suggest.

The clips are by now familiar, from burning fuse to Cruise, to the explosions and the stunts - Tom end-over-end on top of a train, Tom grabbing the helicopter's undercarriage, etc - and thence to the Interactive Age bits with Tom in specs bent over the book as Killer Preppie. Indeed the Powerbook appears to feature extensively; Tom updates files, searches, and appears to call up cameos of himself - and in full motion video, a sort of secondary movie in Cyberspace (all the reviews have remarked that it's the plot that's impossible).

The first two thirds of this commercial read entirely like an advertisement for the film - until we start to focus on the hardware and end on the almost 3-D impression of Tom bursting through the screen. It's then that we get the Powerbook message, the Apple logo and the e-mail address.

It's a very strong, very explicit tie-in aimed at moving the Apple brand out of its lingering first incarnation of the early-Eighties - dissident Modernism - into late-Nineties Mainstream Relevance with just a shade of irony (not from Tom you understand - he can only do two shades of feeling altogether - but from the concept as pitched).

! Video supplied by Tellex Commercials