Guest Post by: The Popcorn Reviewer
Are big gaming companies behind casino-themed films? This is a question that has been posed by many marketing experts for years. Just like product placement in films, some believe that the major players in the casino industry have integrated the rewards of gambling into some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters so that they can add symbolism to films that can embed gaming in viewer’s brains which in turn stimulates them to gamble.
It’s a conspiracy that has done the rounds for many years, and if we are brutally honest it’s just another way of marketing – albeit it a rather sneaky one at that. By presenting an endless stream of stimuli in a film, the brain processes this information and stores it in their short-term memory. The information is stored as “a post-it note that is readily available” and it stays relevant in the person’s thoughts. Therefore, if someone is thinking about something that they’ve just seen and are influenced by it, there’s a good chance that they’ll show a willingness to partake in the pursuit within the next 24-hours studies show.
In this particular film, Wild Card, Jason Statham plays Nick Wild, a hardman-for-hire who is ex-special forces. Throughout the film, Statham flirts with the glamor and glitz of some of Las Vegas’ most luxurious casinos while still coming across as just another average man to the audience – which, in turn makes Wild relatable and realistic.
Wild is chasing his own version of “the American dream,” and this is what the film focuses on throughout. Regardless of Wild’s inability to gamble, his journey is interspersed with an insurmountable amount of luck along the way. This symbolism is presenting the viewer with stimuli that suggests anyone is able to fulfill their dreams at casinos with a bit of luck. It’s a cunning technique that casinos have used to their advantage. You only have to reference the music that casinos use within their gaming establishments to see that this has a huge affect on patrons.
A recent study by the NCBI found that high-tempo music in casinos intensified the amount of bets per minute. Thus, many casinos use high-tempo and upbeat music to encourage patron’s brain to bet more aggressively. So, it’s easy to see how attracting forms of product placement, of any kind can initiate human reaction and the desire to live out the stimuli they are seeing onscreen especially if it’s accompanied by high-tempo music.
With many casino-related films flopping of late such as major Hollywood-productions like Runner Runner starring Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck, industry hacks have questioned the motives in releasing films that’s genre shows little return on investment. Hence, experts feel that there are hidden motives and concealed content integrated into the films as a form of product placement. Let’s face it; Wild Card has arguably been the flop of 2015 so far with the film only making $129,000 from the Box Office worldwide. Remember, this is after it costing £30 million to make.
So, where did Wild Card get its funding for a film that has a mediocre cast list and subpar story line? Could it possible have been funded by global brands to bankroll, this anything but exciting movie? It’s entirely possible that this could have been the case. Because when has anyone ever entrusted a film where Jason Statham is the lead, a $30 million budget? Yes, he’s had relative success but only when accompanied by a slew of credible actors, and this isn’t the case in Wild Card.
Is it possible that some of the casinos featured in the film helped bankroll Wild Card? Again, this is quite possible, too. Casinos are always looking to widen their reach so using a film with, what is considering as a Hollywood star fronting the film, it could be classed as a marketing ploy to entice new customers to Las Vegas and its plethora of high-end casinos.
Regardless of the studies that show amateurs play with little thought or logic when processing thoughts about the cards in front of them, the film uses Wild as a figurehead to show how casinos in fact, can make you rich regardless of your experience. It’s a story that symbolizes the Vegas lure in its most refulgent and attractive nature. Look at the way James Bond has helped portray casinos as establishments that are frequented by the most sophisticated and wealthy. Winning is showcased to be realistic in these films, and the sight of money usually makes people think: “what if I could win enough to make me rich?”
Do you think Wild Card was bankrolled by some of Vegas’ biggest casinos? We are interested to know what you think, and if product placement has caused you to impulse buy or participate in a certain pursuit.
Exclusively submitted to Jay’s Analysis
by The Popcorn Reviewer