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Apple products are very prevalent in TV shows and movies, but the company doesn’t pay for product placement. Apple is more than happy to provide MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones to studios, but there is a unique stipulation.

How does product placement work?

First, let’s talk about product placement. You’ve probably noticed product placement on a lot of things. Sometimes it’s quite subtle in the background, other times it’s embarrassingly obvious.

Product placement is simply when a business pays to have their products and logos appear in the media. Basically, if you see a brand logo, there’s a good chance the company paid for it. The reverse can also be true. If a logo is hidden, it may be because the company No pay for placement. Why display a brand for free when you could get paid for it?

According to BloombergApple doesn’t pay for product placement, at least not with money. Instead, it provides its devices to studios for free as accessories. Apple even provided Modern Family with the first iPad before it was available. It appeared in an episode two days before people could buy it.

Apple Product Placement Rules

While Apple doesn’t pay for its devices to appear on TV and in movies, the company clearly wants them to. However, the free devices come with a couple of requests from Apple.

First of all, Apple doesn’t want bad guys using iPhones. Director Rian Johnson revealed this when talking about his film knives out. He talked about how you can sometimes use that information to figure out if a character is a villain or not:

Apple, they let you use iPhones in movies, but, and this is very important, if you’re ever watching a mystery movie, the bad guys can’t have iPhones on camera.

Apple has never specifically said that “bad guys can’t use iPhones,” but its official guidelines say that an Apple product should “show only its best.” Interestingly, he also asks that references to Apple not “create a sense of endorsement or sponsorship.”

What can we deduce from all this? Apple wants its products to appear naturally in movies and TV shows as a normal part of everyone’s life. Paying for placement and putting the Apple logo front and center would ruin that illusion. And, if people associate iPhones with the “nice guys,” it doesn’t hurt either.

So the next time you see a mystery, pay attention to the phones the suspects are using. It could be the best clue in the movie.

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