Viewer Miffed Over Enron Documentary Product Placement


Adrants reader Ed Misley wrote he just saw the documentary movie, "Enron: The Smartest guys in the room," and noted a prominent Coke product placement he thought quite odd. He writes, "During many scenes of Jeffrey Skilling testifying before congress they digitally edited a Diet Coke can (with the logo prominently facing the camera). Now because of how they cropped the scene, the coke can was almost the size of his head. Now I watch a lot of C-Span and I don't remember a time when I saw anything other than glasses and pitchers of water on the tables of those testifying. Why would Coca Cola Crop pay good money to have their product next to the bad guy?"

He continued, commenting upon a second product placement, "I also noticed a more subtle product placement of a water bottle, which I think was "Spring Hill" due to the green label but it was turned in such a way as to not see the label entirely. Was this a ruse to divert attention away from the suspicious coke can? This was during an exchange of words between Barbara Boxers and Jeffrey Skilling. Skilling had the blatant coke and Boxer had the subtle water bottle. The coke can appeared almost every time you saw Skilling testifying. I am not anti-adverting I just can't figure out why this would help either Coca Cola or the filmmakers."

Well, unfortunately, Ed, it's all about the money. While we haven't seen the movie and can't comment directly, we suspect somebody needed money, Coke had money, transaction happened.

by Steve Hall    May-25-05   Click to Comment   
Topic: Product Placement   

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I directed the film, "Enron: the Smartest guys in the Room." No product placement by the filmmakers. Perhaps JEff Skilling made a deal with Coke but we didn't.

Posted by: Alex Gibney on May 25, 2005 11:44 AM

This hasn't been your best week, has it Steve? :)

Posted by: Dan on May 25, 2005 12:43 PM

"Why would Coca Cola Crop pay good money to have their product next to the bad guy?"

Maybe it wasn't coke's idea. maybe somebody made a deal with Pepsi, instead! Bwa ha-ha-ha.

Posted by: name on May 25, 2005 3:56 PM

Idea....any tv signal broadcasts can be altered at any time to fit any audience....some like coke in the south and some like Pepsi in the northeast. There will be seperate messages being broadcasted to seperate areas...depending on audience....for the exact same tv event.

The same "show" will have different products that fit area demographics all at the same time because of the ability to delay the tv signal.

American idol had a coca-cola screen imprint during the show last nite. Coke wants the cola broadcast in NYC....and exactly at the same "time" will have Dasani Water shown in LA....instead of Coke.

I hope one day the shows are going to look like the Bloomberg Network because of all the ads that will be on the screen during the show.

Posted by: kab on May 25, 2005 6:38 PM

This post and the responses are a good example of the new business world that you tirelessly promote on here Steve. Even the New York Times rarely has it's errors critiqued so quickly by those affected. A quick and honest defense of the product by it's manufacturer when it is falsely challenged is something that more companies need to be able to do. While your story is ill researched, it's still testament to how far Adrants has come and the possibilities going forward that we're having this conversation. Congrats.

Posted by: Tomiwa Aladekomo on May 25, 2005 10:52 PM

Iím not sure if it was product placement or not, I suspect not, but it was definitely the largest Diet Coke can in cinema history.

Posted by: R. Josh Quarles on May 26, 2005 10:40 AM

It really happened. Skilling placed that can himself. There was an article written in PR Week in March of 2002 about this, three years before the movie was released. Here's the link:

Posted by: Greg, NY on August 5, 2008 11:57 AM