the10:nike blazer mid|The10MostShamelessProductPlacementsinMovieHistory
We understand why movies have product placement. How are studios supposed to make money? You know, other than from ticket sales and DVDs. And merchandising.
The point is, if they have to show a Pepsi label now and then so Will Smith can keep the heat on in his home, we"re fine with that. But don"t rewrite the damned movie to work the product into the plot. Movies that disastrously stepped over that line include:
#10.E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: Loves Reese"s Pieces!
Visionary filmmaker Steven Spielberg has always been a step ahead, and his 1982 alien romp ET blazed the trail for modern day product placement. The film was to have a scene where a boy coaxes an abandoned alien into his clutches by use of a classic sex offender technique: leaving a trail of candy on the filthy ground.
But not just any candy. The choice was made months prior to production when Spielberg looked for a partnership with a candy company that would promise promotion for his film. The very droppable M&M"s were selected, but the suits at Mars, Inc. refused to have their treats associated with a creature whose appearance falls somewhere between stray dog with mange and syphilitic genitals.
However, the waddling little monster didn"t bother the people at Hershey, who were hoping to bolster their Reese"s Pieces line. An agreement was made to produce a million dollars" worth of advertisements for the film, and they plastered E.T."s face right on the candy"s packaging.
The same can"t be said for Coors Beer, which E.T. drinks in one scene, hilariously transferring his drunkenness to an underage Elliott via a psychic connection.
You know, between the innocent getting lured into a home with candy and a young boy getting drunk against his will, we can"t help but think Spielberg was working out some terrible repressed memories with this one.
#9.Little Nicky: Sell"n Chizicken, Fo Realz!Product placement tends to get a pass in comedies.
Product placement tends to get a pass in comedies. The movie takes itself less seriously and they"re free to joke about the product. But when the sloppy Adam Sandler project Little Nicky featured not one but two separate scenes devoted to Popeye"s Chicken, we had to draw the line.
The first was this exchange where a dog teaches Nicky (the son of Satan) how to eat from the prominently placed bucket:
BEEFY: Move your teeth up and down.
Nicky does. He chews for a long time.
BEEFY: Now you gotta swallow it. Tilt your head back and let the meat slide down your throat-hole.
Nicky does, and gets look of complete joy.
NICKY: Hey...Popeye"s chicken is fuckin" awesome!
BEEFY: It sure is. Now eat it up. You"re gonna need your energy.
The scene sort of makes sense in context, since only demon spawn would enjoy food from the third-rate chicken joint. But it only gets worse from there.
#8.The Thomas Crown Affair: I Fucking Love Pepsi One!
Catherine Banning is hot on the trail of debonair art thief Thomas Crown. Pierce Brosnan, who you may know from the several dozen products he sold in his role as 007, allows Renee Russo to upstage him this time in the product whoring department.
#7.Transformers: Robots in Disguise...
...As cars for sale at your local GM dealer.
When long time corporate stooge Michael Bay was selected as director for the live action Transformers, fans knew to expect overwhelming action with some nice close-ups of product labels thrown in. But, as with everything Bay does, he decided bigger was better.
So, with studio contract in hand, Bay went to every major auto manufacturer to see who would offer the biggest payday. He landed on GM after they offered $3 million.
#6.Minority Report: Horrible Ads of the Future (Today!)
In this Sci-Fi epic, Tom Cruise is trying to solve the case of a murder he"s destined to commit. To change the future he"ll need brains, guts and an endless amount of close-ups on an Omega watch. He can also hop in a Lexus prototype. And shop at the Gap.
Alright, so there"s a lot of product placement going on. But he"s just trying to survive this newfangled world of 2054, a place where the ads literally jump out at you, screaming your name.
#5.You"ve Got Mail: All You Need is Love, AOL and Starbucks
It would be easy to point to Cast Away as Tom Hank"s biggest corporate whoring effort, but FedEx never paid for it (they were worried about the plane crash sequence). No, for the real crime against cinema we present You"ve Got Mail, a remake of a crappy romantic comedy from 1940.
#4.I, Robot: "Vintage 2004"
Will Smith is trying to unravel a robot conspiracy but all anyone can talk about is his goddamn shoes. The product placement in this adaptation of I, Robot is just one reason it had Isaac Asimov spinning in his grave so furiously he accidentally created a wormhole in China.
First you have the Audi concept car that got 4 1/2 minutes of screen time. But he had to drive something, right?
#3.The Island: Michael Bay Tops It
We stand corrected. With The Island, Michael Bay just decided once and for all he"d find out where the line is on product placements (meaning "the line beyond which the audience rises up and burns down the theater"). This explosion-filled ad-fest featured no fewer than 35 paid-for placements.
Michael Bay staunchly defends his placements in the film on the DVD commentary, saying, "Let"s face it, guys. The world is focused on products. Products surround us. And for us to think, in the year 2019, that we"re not gonna still be focused, and still have products and labels flying at us from every different vantage point, is just unreal. It"s just not a true world."
So you see, it makes sense that an uneducated race of clones living in an underground society would be shown logos for Puma, Speedo, Aquafina and Xbox. Those moneyless organ donors are a very hot demographic.
#2.The Wizard: "It"s So Bad."
In the late 80s there was a screenwriter, who moved to Hollywood with big dreams. Then, one day he was told that Universal Studios and Nintendo had partnered to create a 90-minute theatrical commercial and that his job was to write a movie around it. Thus he sat down at his typewriter, probably surrounded by several cases of liquor, and The Wizard was born.
The finished product is a convoluted plot involving a boy (Fred Savage) who kidnaps his disabled half-brother and travels cross-country with him, Rainman-style. It turns out the boy has an uncanny talent for playing Nintendo games, and through a series of accidents they wind up competing in a $50,000 video game tournament which happens to be held at Universal Studios.
#1.Mac and Me: All the Evidence an Atheist Needs
We come full circle now, from the godfather of product placement, E.T., to this atrocious low budget rip-off that would represent the nadir of product placement, if the movie wasn"t so unintentionally awesome.
(Big) Mac and Me was completely backed by McDonald"s and Coca-Cola. Using the "more-is-more" strategy, this film features an entire family of aliens badly injured and stranded on earth. Somehow, their recovery is literally dependent on drinking Coca-Cola. Fortunately, since this movie was made by them, there"s plenty to go around.