This article was submitted by a contributor, and is for informative purposes only. Any views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Christian Movie Connect.

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Product Placement In Popular Media Isn’t Going Anywhere Anytime Soon

Product placement in television and movies is certainly no secret. In fact, it seems pretty clear that product placement has infiltrated every aspect of media, from behind the scenes interviews to gossip magazines.

Peyton Manning’s post-Super Bowl 50 interview left no doubt in viewers minds that Budweiser was definitely what they should be drinking to celebrate the victory.

The blatant use of Apple products in films, an actor’s casual sip of Coke — these subtle advertisements, also known as embedded marketing or brand integration, can be traced down to the earliest moving pictures.

Arun Jain, a Samuel P. Capen professor of marketing research at the University of Buffalo, cites James Dean’s seeming affinity for Levi’s jeans on screen. A classic example of the success of product placement, Levi’s solidified the iconic image of their jeans.

Today, the same technique is used and is just as effective. Whether it’s Beats by Dre headphones in a music video or a bag of Doritos in a sitcom, the marriage of a product with the mere idea of a specific lifestyle, icon or personality does wonders for sales. Jain points to the whooping $45 million Heineken is said to have paid for Daniel Craig’s James Bond to sip a beer in “Skyfall.”

The “Entourage” movie, a film adaptation of the hit HBO show, has been noted recently for its particularly high rates of product placement. With an impressive 65 products placed, Entourage beat “Spectre,” another James bond flick, and last year’s “Jurassic World.”

With online purchases only a click away and global e-commerce sales generating $1.2 million every 30 seconds, product placement can influence buyer’s to do a quick search on Amazon and click just once to place an order.

However, experts note that another field might soon fall prey to the lure of the funding provided by corporations for the strategic placing of their products: podcasts.

As this new media form gains more and more popularity, services and companies will pay for an on-air mention.

MailChimp, the email marketing service, won attention when it was mentioned on the hit podcast “Serial” and will be mentioned in three separate episodes of “Fruit,” which airs exclusively on Howl.

It is first mentioned in the second episode — a character says to her agent: “Can you go over the mailing list from MailChimp for next month’s fundraiser?” The small mention is designed not to interrupt the flow of conversation.

This classic, sneaky, suggestive marketing method looks like it will be adapting with the times.

Why Are International Chinese Students Filling Up Christian Churches?

It’s not at all uncommon for international students to come to America for an education. But according to the Christian Examiner, in recent years there has been a substantial influx of Chinese students flocking to America’s top universities and graduate schools in record numbers.

In fact, as many as 300,000 Chinese students are currently enrolled in American colleges. What is most strange about the increase in Chinese students is that the vast majority are transferring to Christian schools.

Foreign Policy magazine stated that besides the rush of new students, what is “less widely known is that at the secondary level, most Chinese attend Christian schools — even though they come from the world’s largest atheist state.”

The large numbers of incoming Chinese students enrolling in secondary schools has long been a point of controversy with some residents objecting that public funds are being used to educate students whose families are paying no school taxes.

However, principals often want the students regardless of their citizenship status because they often raise a school’s academic profile and test scores.

Because many Christian schools are technically private institutions that depend solely on independent tuition, any international students who can afford the $25,000 to $35,000 yearly tuition can attend without controversy over the source of funding required to support their education.

“According to data obtained by Foreign Policy from the Department of Homeland Security via the Freedom of Information Act, 58% of the F-1 visas issued for Chinese high school students in 2014 and the first three months of 2015 were for Catholic or Christian schools,” Foreign Policy claimed.

In order to facilitate the move across seas, Chinese parents typically purchase homes in their children’s school districts, where the students often live with adult relatives or a “house mother” while they complete their education. And considering that around 92% of people now use the internet when searching for new homes, it is much easier for Chinese parents to find suitable housing for their children.

As it would appear, Christian Today reports, these Chinese students are picking up much more than an American education after attending school in the U.S., with a growing number of them converting to Christianity while attending college.

While there are no definite figures of how many Chinese students have converted, Gregory Jao, the national director of campus engagement for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, claims his organization works with 1,800 overseas Chinese out of the total 5,000 international students involved with the organization.

“One day I was walking on campus, I just felt like there are waves of Chinese students walking past me,” said Duncan Szeto, a volunteer at the Mandarin-speaking fellowship at Columbia. “It just hit me that there are so many Chinese students. I know each of them has a soul that God values.”

Part of what initially attracts Chinese students to the Christian community is a desire to feel that they belong and simply to socialize in American culture.