The Top 10 Most Egregious Product Placements in Film
By Jo Piazza Posted Apr 25th 2010 01:00PM
'Iron Man 2' is expected to be this summer's biggest blockbuster. While Paramount and Marvel Entertainment hope it will bring audiences into movie theaters, the film's marketing partners are hoping it will single-handedly boost America out of the recession. The Robert Downey Jr. action-adventure is part of a $100 million marketing bonanza, according to Ad Age, as brands like Burger King, Dr. Pepper, Audi, 7-Eleven and Royal Purple Motor Oil have signed on to promote the movie and shill their products through a variety of tie-ins and cross-promotions. Selling out has officially become the way to get movies made. And there isn't anything more American than that. In anticipation of this marketing madness, we bring you our list of top ten most egregious product placements of all time.
GM and 'Transformers'
When Michael Bay stepped in as director of 'Transformers,' he knew cars would play a huge part in the action-packed robot movie, so he shopped the vehicle placement around to car manufacturers looking for the highest bidder. GM emerged on top, offering $3 million. At one point in the flick, Bumblebee, the beloved little autobot, transforms into a sexy 2009 Camaro.
Audi and 'Transporter 2'
Sometimes it seems action movies were created simply as extra-long commercials for fast cars. The second installment in Jason Statham's 'Transporter' series certainly felt that way, as private chauffeur/ex-special forces agent Frank Martin transports dubious packages and people in his Audi A8 W12.
AOL and 'You've Got Mail'
Didn't think you could product place in a romantic comedy? You're oh so wrong. Even this movie's title was AOL-centric. It totally drove home a message to singles -- if you don't use AIM, you will indeed die alone ... just like you've always feared.
Apple and 'Mission Impossible'
Saving the world is easy when you're using a Mac. If Ethan Hunt had been using a PC, well, the rogue assassins would have won.
Taco Bell and 'Demolition Man'
In the American dystopia of 2032, Taco Bell remains the last fast food franchise standing after winning the "Franchise Wars." This blatant product placement allows futuristic ball buster Sylvester Stallone to consume much needed chalupas on the go. Important side note, the "Yo Quiero Taco Bell" chihuahua was not cryogenically frozen and therefore did not advance to 2032. Sad.
FedEx and 'Cast Away'
We've never been able to decide if this product placement was good or bad for the FedEx image. The FedEx plane did crash (not a good thing), but in the end Tom Hanks delivers the package (good thing).
American Airlines and 'Up in the Air'
Jason Reitman's much-lauded dramedy may never have been made had it not been for product placement and the various trades Reitman made with American Airlines to obtain filming locations in return for product infiltration.
TiVo and 'Tropic Thunder'
Matthew McConaughey's super agent Rick Peck will do anything for his client, Tugg Speedman, including hand delivering a TiVo into the Laotian jungle. Unfortunately, this hilarious placement hasn't saved the TiVo from being cannibalized by cable company-provided DVRs.
Reese's Pieces and 'E.T.'
This one is product placement 101 and everyone's favorite example of post-modern placement. When America fell in love with that adorable extra-terrestrial, we fell in love with those peanut butter filled chocolates, too. Sales for the candies shot up 65% the summer 'E.T.' was released.
Omega, Samsonite, British Airways, Finalandia, Norelco, Revlon and Kodak and 'Die Another Day'
The Bond franchise has always been known for its powerful product placements. It's Bond's little secret that his entire life is sponsored by various consumer goods. MGM enlisted more than 20 marketing partners, who contributed more than $100 million in promotional support for this movie. Feel dirty? Sip some Finlandia vodka whilst applying some Revlon lipstick and you'll feel much better.
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