Top 10 Movie/TV Product Placements
By Tom Ganjamie Posted Sep 17th 2009 04:03PM
Judging from the trailer, 'The Road' is likely to be the feel good post-Apocalyptic movie romp of the holiday season. What is not readily apparent, though, is just how the filmmakers can cram egregious product placement into a film about surviving a bleak, unforgiving Hellscape. According to Seth Abramovitch at Movieline, the characters drink Vitamin Water and other Coca-Cola products with labels clearly pointed at the camera, then wink and give a thumbs up (ok, maybe not those last two).
So how did we get to this point? How did we get so desensitized to product placement in movies and TV shows that a film like 'The Road' became a go-to spot for subliminal advertising? Let's take a look back at some of the greatest (and most blatant/shameless) moments in product placement history!
Spielberg Makes Peanut Butter History
While making 'E.T.,' Spielberg originally planned on using M&Ms as the iconic candy used by Eliot, but the company declined (presumably because the executives were scared of aliens). Instead, rival candy Reese's Pieces was given a starring role in the film and they made a huge bicycle-basketful of money. Mmmm, peanut butter.
'Wayne's World' Mocks It
'Wayne's World' was among the first to make fun of product placement in entertainment. Whether or not Reebok and Pepsi really paid to be the in movie, most of us were laughing too much to care (while Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey laughed all the way to the bank).
Tom Hanks Delivers for FedEx
Sure, the movie 'Castaway' seems like a well-crafted film that took the audience on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, but really it's just about a FedEx employee delivering a package. FedEx didn't even have to pay for use of their brand, plus they saved on paying an ad agency to come up with an idea for a Superbowl commercial years later.
Sandler Plays Both Sides
Early in his film career, Adam Sandler was clever about product placement use. 'Happy Gilmore' had a great bit where he needed quick money and endorsed Subway. It was funny and integral to the plot. Just six years later, however, Mr. Sandler and co. seemed too (money) hungry for square burgers and Frosties to be bothered with coming up with a good reason for showing Wendy's:
Jim Carrey Gets Clever
In 'The Truman Show', Jim Carrey mocked the very idea of integrating product placement in to entertainment, all without using any real brands. It was witty and smart and everyone sure did learn a lot.
The Brilliance of 'Harold and Kumar'
The only way there could be more product placement in the title of 'Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle' is if they called it 'White Castle is Where Harold and Kumar Go to Buy White Castle.' But hey, I hear they got pennies compared to what the Guantanamo Bay people paid for the sequel.
When you make a movie about Nascar, it's pretty tough to keep any shred of integrity regarding the use of brand names. The sport itself is basically a newspaper circular section on wheels to begin with. At least the makers of 'Talladega Nights' just swallowed their pride and went for it on all cylinders.
Sometimes ratings-starved comedies like '30 Rock' and 'Arrested Development' attempt a 'Wayne's World' style wink at their own use of product placement only to have fans shaking their fists and calling them "sellouts." However, you can't fault those shows for trying. Viewership was so low for 'Arrested Development', their partnership with Burger King probably just kept the show in frozen bananas for one more week.
Last season on '90210,' producers apparently tried to introduce Dr. Pepper as a sexy new side character based on the amount of times it was mentioned in one episode. If the Dr. Pepper can got any more screen time, Shannon Doherty would have kicked it.
Whether it's the cups, the sponsored contests or the outtake segments, Coca-Cola is on 'American Idol' almost as much as Simon Cowell. In fact, now we know why every time we listen to Carrie Underwood we get surprisingly thirsty.
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