Slice of Life, Weekly Challenge, Chapter 14

(This is part of a weekly feature called Slice of Life Project)

You would think that the makers of a movie that has at its center the preservation of the Earth’s ecosystem would be more attuned to the concept of “junk.” But if you, like me, were one of the folks who saw Wall*E this opening weekend, you too probably got handed a plastic bag with a bunch of advertising crap (known as schwag in the industry) from the Disney/Pixar company.

A neighbor of ours warned me about this, and he may even write a letter to the newspaper editor about it, but I was still surprised to find myself with a throw-away watch with a blue plastic rubber band (sort of like Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong bracelets but without the meaning of giving and awareness), some tattoos and other little cards advertising yet another upcoming Disney movie about dogs.

The movie itself was fantastic and it was a nice summer outing with my three boys on a hot summer day. Much of the movie is without dialogue but the animation and action, and just pure scope of the screen, held us all in rapt attention as we watched the little robot single-handedly cleaning up the junkpile known as Earth falls in love with a robot probe looking for signs of life on the planet. There’s a real message here about taking care of the planet and about avoiding over-reliance on machines to run our lives. Plus, Wall*E is a cutie-pie.

So why did Disney pass out a handful of trash to everyone?

Clearly, the marketing department forgot to talk to the creative talent or never watched the movie previews. It would be offensive for any movie, in my mind, but to do this during a movie about saving the environment just seems so strange and reminds us that many (but not all) movies are not really about entertainment of the audience, but about money and marketing power of the corporations.

Peace (in the dark),

  1. It does seem that the eco-friendly message is lost in all of the hand out items you received. Unfortunately, the marketing people use lots of products to promote that are not friendly to our environment. I often worry about such things when I teach. As visual arts teacher, we create masses of work. How much is too much?

  2. It’s because “being green,” for a lot of companies, is not about values and genuine concern for the environment– it’s just another marketing ploy to them, and another way to make more money, because while we’ve all jumped on the “green” bandwagon, companies and consumers alike, only a small percentage of those people are actually committed to being “green” for the long-term and making changes in our lives. From this POV, it’s easy to understand the disconnect between the theme of the movie and the corporate promotional tactic.

    I hope you write a letter to the editor, and to Disney itself.

  3. You are right, Nancy, I am afraid to say. Welcome to the Free Market Economy, though. I guess we need to keep forcing companies to make the “right decisions” and we do that with our wallet, not through some generosity of spirit.

    Barb, I don’t have an answer to that question. One benefit of a virtual art project is that it does not take up “space” per se, but can live forever in a digital archive. You obviously lose something (tangible experience) when art goes digital, though.

    Bonnie: The movie is good. The marketing sucked. (hey — six word movie review)


  4. My kids and husband went to the movie this weekend and did not get the stuff. I just asked them. They are know curious about your free stuff. It reminds me of the handouts at presentations. Can I have a handout? Did you attend the presentation? No. But can I have a handout? It doesn’t matter if the stuff is good or not, you want the option to have the stuff.

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