Last weekend while doing routine grocery shopping, I stopped to get some bananas in the produce aisle. All over the bananas were stickers for Garfield: The Movie. Being an adgrunt, I took one of each version and placed them on my nanners.
This is nothing new. The Milk Board was putting "Got Milk" stickers on bananas years ago. But it seems a bit odd to put ads for this movie on the banana peels. My first thought was that they were trying to target the kids who might have banana in or with their morning cereal. But then the more I thought about it, it's really targeting the parents more, since most kids get the banana already peeled, especially if it's going in their cereal.
Here's the bananas and stickers:
A related article on Slate talks about how Jim Davis purposefully crafted the success of Garfield. Davis worked in advertising after dropping out of college where he was majoring in business and art. He's even been inducted into the Licensing Merchandiser's Hall of Fame.
From the beginning, Davis put as much energy into the marketing of the strip as he did into creating it. (It's telling that he's been inducted into the Licensing Merchandiser's Hall of Fame but not the hall of fame hosted by the International Museum of Cartoon Art.) In 1981, only three years after the strip's debut, he set up Paws, Inc., a privately held company to handle the licensing of Garfield products. Originally, Paws did only the creative work needed for product design, while Davis' syndicate managed the business side, but in 1994 Davis purchased the rights to license Garfield products from the syndicate for a reported $15 to $20 million.
All this does somewhat explain the amount of product placement in the movie as well. From the Palo Alto Online: "The product placement in Garfield is utterly shameful. Jon drives a Volvo, watches Wendy's television commercials and munches on Goldfish Crackers. But the worst transgression is that Garfield is partial to a certain type of lasagna, courtesy of Pasta Pomodoro."