Product Placement in Movies and TV Shows

Have you ever been really engrossed in a movie, only to have its spell broken by a blatant advertisement? You sit there thinking, “Why would the director have this big emotional moment playing out in front of a Coca-Cola billboard? It’s all I end up seeing in the shot.”

In that case, it’s possible the director did not have a choice. As the costs of making movies and promoting them continue to rise, movie studios are looking for ways to save money. One recent boon has been tax credits. Areas like Georgia, Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia offer tax credits—sometimes quite substantial ones—to encourage production in those areas. Depending on the size of the production, than can mean millions of dollars in savings, while also leading to much local hiring and economic stimulation. So, win-win, even though it means Toronto having to sub for New York City yet again.

However, Hollywood has spent more time relying on the quick and easy savings that come from product placement. In the early days of the practice, having someone eat Kentucky Fried Chicken onscreen might mean a few days worth of free chicken for the cast and crew. However, the rewards have expanded considerably in recent years. Depending on the movie and the product, millions of dollars might change in hands in order for James Bond to wear a certain type of watch or a drink a certain brand of alcohol (Daniel Craig’s 007 infamously broke from tradition of Vodka Martinis by drinking Heineken beer in SKYFALL).

Do you find it distracting to see name brands appearing in movies and TV shows? Producers argue that this adds to the realism, but if you bought a ticket (and are already sitting through ads before the movie or during the show), haven’t you already done your part?

Daniel Craig and a certain brand of laptop in SPECTRE. Courtesy MGM/Sony.


Spend Less and Have More

Many people hold the view that the more that you have, the better your lifestyle, and the happier you’ll be. The search of “the good life” includes the pursuit of a faster car, a bigger house, and the latest technological gadget in an effort to reach the most comfortable lifestyle one can possibly attain. People soon get caught up in this rat race, always needing to earn more to get more. While trying to maintain this materialistic, consumerist lifestyle, they become stressed out, burned out, and just plain unhappy. When material wealth becomes the measurement of one’s success, consumerism has become a trap where a person cannot make real choices any longer.

This is the powerful influence of consumerism. Consumerism is a cultural phenomenon that is intricately woven into our society. The economical wealth of a country is often measured by its consumer economy. The theory is that a country that consumes goods and services in large quantities will be better off economically. Ideally, as more goods are produced, so are more jobs, wealth, and comforts for a better way of living.

However, it has become a system where consumer demand for goods is influenced and manipulated to increase sales. Advertising and promotion of new technologies and luxury items are so strong we are often driven by want over need. It can create false desires and sometimes-unattainable aspirations.

A Product’s Lifecycle

“They don’t build them like they used to!” This is something you hear pretty often these days. Many products are built to last for a limited period of time. This built-in obsolescence is a way to increase sales. When the option to have an item repaired is so high, it becomes easier to replace it with a new one. This creates the new problem of dealing with all the waste that is generated.

More, Newer, Better

Who doesn’t want the latest coolest technology? For many, a functioning smartphone is not enough. If a new iPhone is released they feel compelled to buy it. Screens and monitors are getting bigger and better all the time. Household appliances are getting shinier, slicker in design and more colorful, but not necessarily more efficient.

Buying is Easy

We are told that we are headed into a cashless society. This may seem smart and convenient. But keep in mind; credit cards make it easier for us to spend money that we don’t have. This leads to a larger debt load, further driving the stress and the need to earn more to keep up. While debit cards seem like a better alternative, it gives us access to more money than we carry.

Negative Impact

If we continue down this consumerism path, we need to become aware of its impact on our lives, our environment, and the future of our planet. Globally, this lifestyle is unsustainable and destructive to the environment in the long run. Natural resources are being depleted and our natural habitat is being constantly destroyed to create more goods and buildings. Global warming and industrial pollution will eventually lead to more health problems.

While people are running around trying to keep up with their needs and wants, they fail to strive for the things they really need for happiness: relationships, spirituality, and personal development, time for children and for reflection.

What You Can do About It

We need to care less about materialism and live more, by refocusing on the things that really matter and bring true joy and happiness.




Rising Energy Costs Putting Additional Pressure on UK Businesses

Are you doing business in the UK? If so, you are probably facing the same pain as many others when it comes to rising energy costs.

While it is easy to believe that you don’t have a choice, nothing could be further from the truth. Despite the fact that you may be faced with this headache right now, making a few changes in the future could put you in a better position sooner rather than later.

A recent story by Guardian News – Energy bills push UK inflation to nine-month high – discusses this problem in great detail. As you can tell from the title alone, there are two problems here.


First and foremost, companies are being hit with rising energy bills. Consequently, their bottom line is suffering. In an economy that doesn’t need any more bad news, this is never a good thing.

Secondly, energy bills are contributing to the rise in UK inflation. The Office for National Statistics has reported that inflation measured by the consumer prices index increased to 2.8 percent from 2.7 percent last month. This may not seem like a big increase, but it pushes inflation to the highest it has been over the past nine months.

Believe it or not, officials have blamed the increase on recent increases in domestic energy tariffs from the UK’s major suppliers in correspondence with a rise in petrol prices.

What Now?

With all this in mind, business owners often times feel that there is no way out. Fortunately, this is not the case.
Every company has the right to choose their own energy provider. Although sticking with your current provider is your right, it may mean you are spending more money than you have to on gas and electric.

Switching to a cheaper energy provider is easier than ever before. In fact, it only takes a few minutes, and the website, to compare plans from leading providers including npower, EDF, Shell, Gazprom and others to get yourself on the right path.

With this type of online tool, any company, regardless of industry, can compare commercial rates from local energy providers.

If you realise that your current provider is cheapest, you don’t have any options for a change at the present time. However, you may be lucky enough to find a company that is able to provide you with the same service at a lower monthly rate. This is what you are looking for.

With rising energy costs, UK businesses are dealing with yet another financial setback. If nothing else, you owe it to yourself to compare providers with the hopes of saving money.


More than half of the Spanish feel ‘overqualified’

64% of the Spanish feel ” overqualified ” for his current job and believes that training and experience are above their job duties, a fact that puts Spain on top of the European ranking, second only to the perception of Greek professionals (69% of respondents).

This is reflected in the third wave of the Randstad year on the job prospects of workers, noted that Spain stands 24 percentage points above the EU average, which places them far from countries like Denmark (25%), Netherlands (32%) and Germany (43%), among others.

On the corporate side, 45% of companies suffer finding professionals overall, opinion ranging between 53% of Germans and 51% of French and 33% of Italians, who occupy the last place . In the case of Spain, 35% of professionals surveyed hold this view, which puts ten percentage points below the European average.

Forecast for the coming years

The study also claims that four out of ten Spanish (43%) within three years will be short of skilled workers in the company, which puts them in the middle of the ranking of European countries, leading Germany (52%) and Sweden ( 51%). On the opposite side are placed Netherlands (33%) and Denmark (34%).

As for the interest that companies have regarding training , the report stresses that more than half of Spanish professionals, 55%, replied that their company is investing in a way, so scale percentage point above the European average (54%).

Leading the ranking placed Belgium (65%), Switzerland (60%) and Germany (59%), while on the opposite side are Greece (32%), Sweden (50%) and Norway (50 %), as the countries where companies invest less in training, according to its workers.


The Government is considering reducing margins on fuel oil and petrol stations

The government “will consider measures” that allow lower profit margins earned by operators in the price of fuel , and this could apply to “tax measures” being passed on businesses and not consumers, announced the vice Government, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, after the Council of Ministers.

Alongside this, the government is “studying contracts flagging service stations with distributors” in order to proceed to liberalize and thereby “allow easier changes” and “remove barriers to entry,” he said.

Saenz de Santamaria said that the prices of petrol and diesel have reached “a peak in recent weeks” and that in the fuel sector of the energy price increases on international markets move quickly to the supplier, which does not happen with the decreases, so that prices “go up like a rocket and fall like a feather.”

The measures “not yet decided” and go to “speak to the sector,” said the Deputy Prime Minister, after explaining that the decision to study them has been adopted after the Council of Ministers on Friday a report analyze Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism on the matter.

In this report, he said, shows that the margins earned by operators in both petrol and diesel exceeds the European average and raise the price of fuel, although in Spain the tax burden is lower than the rest of the continent .

In fact, of the three elements of the fuel prices, which are the product cost, taxes and margin, the first is similar to the European average, while the tax burden is lower and the benefit to the operator is higher, he said.

“Spain is the eurozone countries that less gravel road and fuel tax, however, is one of the states where the margin, the gain is greater,” said Saenz de Santamaria.

Petrol and diesel.

To illustrate this fact, pointed are the Super 95 unleaded, in which the taxes in Spain are of 69.3 euro cents per liter, up from 66.9 cents in energy costs and 15 cents range.

As the area euro, taxes are higher for the same product, from 92.6 cents, while the cost is similar and the margin is less, from 13.3 cents. In France, the margin is even lower, at 9.8 cents.

In the case of diesel, the tax amounts to 58.5 cents per liter, compared to the area average euro to 71 cents, while the profit margin amounted to 15.1 cents, compared to 13.3 in the countries of environment.


Central Banks Won’t “Stack Up More Austerity” in Europe

Countries applying a program of buying bonds of the European Central Bank will not necessarily be at the request of making more cuts, as some governments have already taken solid steps in that direction, said Saturday Coeuré Benoit, a member of the governing council ECB.

In remarks that could allay some fears in Spain on ECB support request to reduce the performance of its sovereign bonds, Coeuré said the idea of the central bank’s program “is not stacking up more austerity”.

“The ECB’s intervention can only work if countries are on the way back to growth that will enable them to reduce their debt,” said Coeuré to France Inter in a radio.

“That does not necessarily mean more austerity. Certain countries, as we have already taken many steps in the right direction and therefore would not be necessarily more demands,” he added.

The ECB agreed Thursday to possibly launch an unlimited bond purchases to lower financing costs for members of the area euro in trouble, despite the resistance of the German Bundesbank , an announcement that triggered actions in European financial markets.

The ECB President Mario Draghi said the plan to buy short-term sovereign debt in the secondary market was subject to “strict and effective conditions” as that countries aspiring first request an aid program of rescue funds zone euro EFSF and ESM, which could involve further reform commitments.

This aggravated the debts over whether the government of President Mariano Rajoy, who is fighting a deep recession and unemployment of around 25 percent, would seek help. Rajoy has insisted that Spain has already taken the necessary and painful steps that were needed to restore public finances.

“This is a conversation that must take place not between Spain and the ECB, but between Spain and other eurozone members (…) It is a political decision,” said Coeuré.

The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, said that Spain will address the conditions that lead the ECB program with its partners in the area euro at a meeting of finance ministers of the EU to be held in Cyprus next week .

Coeuré said the ECB’s bond purchases will not solve the crisis of the block and that growth will remain weak in 2012 and 2013.

Reducing debt levels is a condition to return to growth, he said, but we also need policies to implement economies of the euro area, as the stimulus program of 120,000 million euros this year agreed by leaders of the region.

“Today we are in a situation in which the single market is no longer working, especially in the capital market,” said Coeuré, pointing also to fragmentation in the services and labor markets.

He also indicated that a pan-European plan Dole allow workers to move more freely through the region.

“There is a wide range of policies to restore economic dynamism in Europe that have not been explored enough,” he said. “It is urgent because this social crisis has lasted many months and the more you drag Europe into it, the worse the social and economic consequences,” he added.