Product placements: Whether you love them or hate them, they make the movie industry go ’round. While most producers trade blatant product placement for film financing and advertising weight, many scriptwriters intend the placement to be part of the joke. A little of both is included in the following list of the most gratuitous product placements in film history (see if you spot any favorites!):
In one of the most classic scenes in film history, Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey), hosts of the popular local television show Wayne’s World, resist some of the terms of their new corporate sponsorship contract while at the same time hilariously promoting a number of items outright. “Contract or no, I will not bow to any sponsor,” says Wayne, as he opens a giant Pizza Hut box and smiles while holding the slice up to his face and looking directly at the camera. He does the same with a bag of Doritos, before the camera slowly pans over to Garth, who is covered head-to-toe in Reebok. When told they can either play or leave — it’s “their choice,” Wayne replies “yes, but it’s the choice of a new generation,” while slowly drinking a can of Pepsi.
Josie and the Pussycats
The film Josie and the Pussycats, based on characters in the Archie comics universe, purports to be a parody of rampant commercialism, and does a great job of cramming as many products as possible into each scene. The plot involves the girl-group getting roped into a plot to influence the buying habits of teenagers with subliminal messages in their music. Product placements include Krispy Kreme’s, Coke, Target, Starbucks, Motorola, Puma, TJ Maxx,and the U.S. Army (in an actual, full-on commercial in the middle of the movie.)
Commercialism has always run rampant in Bond films, but this one nearly takes the cake for its lack of subtlety — manifest mostly in ads for Sony products (phones and electronics). Additionally, Heineken beer and Smirnoff vodka make appearances. In one blatant scene, Bond’s love interest Vesper Lynd looks at Bond’s watch and says, “Beautiful watch. Rolex?” Bond: “No. Omega.” And, of course, Bond’s Aston Martin is nearly always onscreen.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Besides the obvious NASCAR corporate sponsorship, Talladega Nights had Kodak, Wonderbread, Bud Weiser, Old Spice, Coca-Cola, and Perrier product placements, among others. A direct reference to Powerade is made during the dinner scene, and a complete Applebee’s commercial is shown towards the end of the film, during the car crash. Curiously, the companies didn’t pay for the advertising — Ferrell wrote them in to poke fun at NASCAR sponsors.
Michael Bay’s The Island featured so much product-placement that it was outright criticized by many film reviewers. A very small list of products include: Speedo, MSN Search, Puma shoes, XBox, Reebok, Miller Light, General Motors, Dodge Magnums, and Chrysler. One memorable scene involves Scarlett Johansson boxing in a heavily XBox-studded ring.
Surely I, Robot’s most gratuitous product placement manifests itself in the form of Del Spooner’s (Will Smith’s) love of “vintage” 2004 Converse sneakers. There’s a whole scene devoted to his opening the shoebox; another scene where his grandmother asks him about what he’s got on his feet and he responds excitedly with the full brand description; and a scene where Lt. John Bergin (Chi McBride) compliments him on his shoes. Oddly enough, the main vehicle used in the movie was created especially for it — the Audi RSQ. And it wasn’t just a prop with the carmaker’s logo — it was fully designed, interior and exterior. The carmaker worked with the film’s director to make sure it fully fit within the movie.