Product placement seems to be a standard thing over here in the United States, but back home in Britain there have been ructions over its introduction. Our version of Live With Regis and Kelly was the first show to have a product placement, which was a subtle coffee machine in the background.
However, there are some less subtle versions of product placement which have occurred on the big screen. This is where you cut away from the body of a story to see some weird nonsensical logo, without it being mentioned in any way, shape or form.
This was brilliant for the producers of Demolition Man. A film set in the future allows companies to try and set a trend. “Woah, it’s so futuristic! And they’re all eating X, drinking Y and buying from Z! We should do that, dude!” is the cry of stoners all over the land. So when they realised they needed to have some real-life futuristic restaurants, they set off a bidding war. Won by Taco Bell. Who got shots like this, which aren’t at all paid advertising:
What’s wrong with this picture above? Well, there are many things – not least that it looks like my dreams as a child of being gang raped – but the main one I’m going to focus on is the candy bar. It’s a Baby Ruth. The Goonies is heralded as one of the great films: people wear Truffle Shuffle t-shirts, for Christ’s sake! But really, it sold out to the man like everyone else.
I truly believe this is the corniest product placement in the world – and I’m not even sure that The Shins paid for it. Garden State is a cool film, I will give Zach Braff that. However, there’s a bit in the middle of it which really messes me up. Because it verbally fellates The Shins, taking audiences totally out of the storyline. I like The Shins – I did like them before this, too – but it made me less of a fan because of the way it was presented.
These are only the tip of the iceberg. I’m sure there are much worse. Which ones have you spotted in movies? Let us know below so that we can metaphorically burn them at the stake.