Chart-Topping Ringtones — ads people pay for

In a thoughtful piece in the The New York Times, A.O. Scott, film critic, — listed as “a chief film critic” for the paper, but that’s another blog — tells about movie patrons who rebelled against the encroachment of ads on their movies. Not previews, mind you, but real commercials for products like Coke ™, Fanta ™, or Cingular ™ cell phones.

They had had enough. Advertising is everywhere but the savvy viewer or reader can mute its impact with new technology. Skip through those truck spots on TV with Tivo ™. Get premium cable channels that run movies and never show a kids’ cereal spot. Or even hook up a pay satellitte radio, and get music without radio pitchmen.

The protest worked a little. In New York, Loews agreed to tell patrons when their movies actually start, not when they start showing the previews and commercials. That means you’ll have be in your seat by 7:10 for the 7:10 movie. No stragglers.

That won’t stop movies themselves from featuring products, though. The recent movie The Island prominently displays Puma ™ sneakers, Aquafina ™ water and GM ™ cars and trucks. Then too, I’ve already mentioned the recent product placement champ: Herbie Fully Loaded.

But people do pay for some advertising. Cell phone ringtones are topping some pop music charts. Crazy Frog Axel F topped the British charts earlier this summer.

But amazingly, a tune designed to promote a cellphone is a major product on its own. In South Korea, Samsung’s ring tone Anymotion sold three million copies. Triple platinum.

That popular tune was written to sell a Samsung’s cellphone that costs $600. Better get the insurance.