Like most movies, the recently released novel adaptation FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (2015) is filled with Brands. Some of these featured in the original book, some are product placement, some are a bit of both and some appear organically.
Overall, Concave Brand Tracking recorded around 20 recognizable Brands in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (2015), which added up to over 16 minutes of screen time. Some Brands appear in the background without their logos being seen, some in close-ups. By factoring in the number of Brands, their screen time, their discernibility and their logo visibility, Concave was able to determine that the total Brand visibility in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (2015) is slightly more than in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012) and slightly less than IRON MAN 3 (2013). As the graph below shows, movies such as TED (2012) or FAST & FURIOUS 6 gave Brands far more exposure, while m
ovies such as X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (2013) or GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2013) provided far less.
Of all the Brands appearing in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (2015), Apple was by far the most visible. With over 60% less visibility than Apple, DG Flugzeugbau – the Brand of the glider flown by Christian Grey – follows as the 2nd most visible Brand. We then find Audi, Fazioli and Bose. You can see the 12 most visible Brands appearing in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (2015) in the graphic below.
Now we will take a closer look at the 5 aforementioned most visible Brands in the movie. We will discuss how they received their exposure as well as how they were portrayed.
With over 4 minutes of screen – through laptops, computers and Christian Grey’s mobile phone – Apple was by far the most visible Brand in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (2015).
Apple appeared throughout the movie both in Christian Grey’s office as well as at home, where MacBooks are used by Anastasia Steele and her housemate Kate. The resulting portrayal is one of all-purpose technology Brand. It is shown as professional and work-friendly but is also used more casually by the two lovers to communicate. Demographically, Apple sees itself associated with both male and female members of the young cast.
Apple was actually mentioned in the book, and the gift of an iMac also comes from the source material. However, the movie producers clearly embraced Apple as their electronics Brands of choice as no other computer or laptops are seen.
In fact, the only real exception to Apple’s dominance lies in the fact that Anastasia’s mobile phone was not an iPhone but rather an LG flip phone. This choice however, makes sense in that it contributes to portraying the character as not being very wealthy.
Apple’s presence in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (2015) is much more substantial than other notable appearances such as in I AM LEGEND (2007), or more recently CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER (2014). However, it is still not even half the exposure garnered in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL (2011) which infamously featured Apple products for over 6 minutes.
#2 DG Flugzeugbau
DG Flugzeugbau is the Brand of the glider used by Christian Grey to impress Anastasia Steele while they are in Georgia. The exact model is a DG-1001. With an entire scene dedicated to showing the glider off – amounting to over minute of screen time – as well as its name being clearly shown, we find that DG Flugzeugbau is the 2nd most visible Brand in the movie.
The Brand is associated with excitement, romance, fun and flying skill.
Despite having its name mentioned 16 times in the book this movie was based on, we find Audi as only getting the 3rd most Brand exposure. While their vehicles did receive almost a 1½ minutes of screen time, its logo was only seen in about 1/3 of this, some of which was merely in the background. For instance, the brand new Audi Anastasia receives as a gift only gets 7 seconds of screen time and is never identified by the Audi logo.
While Audi might not get as much exposure as Apple, it is still seen plenty and is very strongly associated with the main male character, Christina Grey. The Brand is hence highly assoicated with luxury. Audi also gets the opportunity of showing its vehicle range. When on business Mr. Grey is chauffeured in a 2013 Audi S8. When he visits Anastasia in Georgia and takes her flying he drives a 2013 S7. Audi’s Q7 is also seen, as well as the 2013 R8 Spyder.
Relative to other movies – as the graphic below shows – Audi’s visibility in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (2015) is equivalent to that which it received in IRON MAN 3 (2013).
With over 1½ minutes of screen time in Christian Grey’s luxurious apartment and its logo even shown in close-up, Fazioli is the 4th most visible Brand of the movie.
As well as with luxury and designer decoration, the grand piano is associated with sex and female attraction. Indeed, in the scene when Christian plays the instrument and in which it gets most of its exposure, a naked Anastasia Steele is drawn to him. She then proceeds to interrupt his playing in order to initiate another round of sex.
Apple, Audi and Fazioli all received high exposure by appearing in multiple scenes. However, just like DG Flugzeugbau, Bose appeared in a single scene but did so for long enough to be the 5th most visible Brand.
Bose headsets are worn by both Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey during their helicopter ride on their first “date”. The sighting adds up to almost 50 seconds of screen time during which the logo is very clearly seen.
In this appearance Bose is associated with helicopter flying. This portrayal is quite similar to the previous ones in MARVEL’S THE AVENGER’S (2012), THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2012) and most recently in NEED FOR SPEED (2014). All these appearances are clearly part of a Brand repositioning strategy by Bose beyond the realm of music and into aviation use.