Tivo and Digital recording technology allows us to fast forward through commercials. Ad block plus and pop up blockers handle them on the net. Hollywood knows whats up, and have for years. And every once in awhile they will blatantly sell out just to show us that they can bend the entertainment world over and plunge their penis of advertising deep into our brains.
The Italian Job (The Remake) - Released May 11, 2003 The Italian Job is a movie about a gold heist. In a typical breach of criminal code, a thief steals gold from his fellow thieves. The remedy? Steal it back, of course! Using Mini Coopers.
How’d they do it? They (Includes Marky-Mark) modified three BWM Mini Coopers to be extra light, but carry a lot of weight. Then they drove them through all sorts of California roads, sewers, and various other tight spaces.
After the release of the movie, BMW reportedly saw a massive spike in Mini Cooper Sales. Looks like their plan worked. How did they manage to effectively have their automobiles cast as the stars (The cars saw over 30 minutes of actual screen time, more than Edward Norton, who played the badguy!) of the movie?
Here’s the tricky part, the reason it isn’t technically considered a commercial is the fact that no money traded hands. BMW reportedly donated 32 Mini Coopers to Paramount studios to use, wreck, modify, (and advertise) in the shooting of the movie. BMW has yet to respond to repeated requests of 32 Mini Coopers for our sequel to the movie, We want Mini Coopers Too!
Knight Rider (The remake) – As you may remember from the good old days of pre-drunken-hamburger-fit David Hasselhoff, he starred in a TV show called Knight Rider. The show featured a Pontiac Trans Am muscle car known as KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) that could talk, auto-pilot, had personality, and likely hid Mr. Hasselhoffs booze stash whenever pulled over. When the new series came out in 2008, it featured a 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR Mustang.
Why? Because Ford paid them. That’s right, the iconoclastic TransAm was replaced with a mustang.
We’re not saying it’s a bad car, we’re just saying one should be enough. Seriously, Ford, you paid and agreed with NBC to advertise the Ford Mustang. Did you really have to work KITT’s transforming into an F-150 4X4 pickup, an E-150 van, a Flex, and a Crown Victoria Interceptor, into the plot as well? In what was clearly a reach-around deal, , Ford also helped promote the series, while the series obviously promotes Ford. Is it any coincidence the Shelby GT500 is designated KR for the retail market? While many say no, we say “We’ll put you on the front page for a week if we can have one.”
Demolition Man – Ahh, Demolition Man. Who can forget the Sly Stalone movie you never knew whether to laugh or shake your head at. It was clearly laughable, especially when one is left to ponder the replacement of toilet paper by the ‘3 shells.’ Set in 2032, the movie is basically a pseudo Utopian society where violent crime is practically unheard of. Thus, when a famous violent criminal is released from cryogenic prison, no one is prepared for his escape and ensuing mayhem on the city. The product placement come’s about a third of the way through the movie. Still baffled by society, Sly wants to go on a date with Sandra Bullock (and seriously, who doesn’t?) so she suggests they go to Taco Bell. Sly looks hurt, and comments on how Taco Bell is, even by today’s standards, only borderline ‘food.’ Sandra then says, “After the franchise wars, every restaurant is a Taco Bell.”
That includes fancy Italian restaurants, Bistro, everything. Although, since anything bad for you is illegal (including alcohol, caffeine, contact sports, non-educational toys, meat, spicy and unhealthy food, table salt and tobacco). Considering that, one has to wonder just how that Taco Bell stays in business. And for all you non-American readers out there, all releases of the movie in countries other than the United States replaced Taco Bell with Pizza Hut.
Castaway - In Cast Away, Tom Hanks is a high ranking employee in a shipping company and on a fateful three hour tour delivery flight, his plane crashes into the ocean off course and he is the only survivor. Did we mention the name of his company? Don’t worry, the movie did it enough for us. (Try to youtube search a montage of every fedex/Wilson mention) Yeah, that’s FedEx. Mentioned countless times, countless logos, and even repetitions of their slogans dot the movie.
Then there’s Tom’s best friend on the island. Finally succumbing to curiosity and the need to survive, he opens the packages, save one, washed ashore from the plane (while muttering something about the FedEx integrity) and finds a Wilson volley ball. He names it Wilson after leaving a bloody hand print on it and giving it a face. Wilson gets almost as much screen time as Hanks (and far more than any other character) and eventually gets lost prior to rescue. Tom almost dies trying to save his volley ball friend, and one of the most well-known movie cries of all time was birthed in his cry for his lost friend. While we were unable to dig up payment by FedEx for their role in the movie, Wilson released this volleyball to capitalize on their ‘co-star.’ Then Fedex capitalized on the unopened package.
You’ve got mail – Do we even have to go that deep into this one? Anyone who’s ever used the internet and e-mail knows the charming glib ‘You’ve got mail’ that plays every time someone with AOL logs in and has new e-mail messages. It’s the title of the movie, the chime plays at least a dozen times throughout the movie. Arguably, it’s the best placement ever because they never ACTUALLY had to say the name of the product (AOL), but everyone recognized it immediately. While no money reportedly changed hands in the making of this movie (by Warner Brothers), less than 2 years later, AOL merged with Time Warner, the parent company of Warner brothers. This movie was likely the catalyst in that transaction. The movie did make one crucial mistake regarding the e-mails. In 1998, they were received immediately, rather than going through all the buffers, filters, servers, and providers, causing your e-mail to take just as long as snail-mail. That and the nerve racking SCREECH kshhhhhhh grrrrwarblewarblewarble of the internet connecting.
ET – Concluding our list for today is ET. It’s the movie about that alien who looked kind of like a heap of rumpled foreskins and liked Reese’s Pieces far more than any human should. Ok, so that’s not quite true. Reese’s Pieces are a heavenly mixture of peanut butter and colored chocolate shell we should all indulge ourselves in regularly. We can has moneyz nao?
Steven Spielberg approached Mars to try and place M&Ms into the movie, but they declined, likely stating they didn’t want their product associated with foreskin. He then tried Hershey, wanting to use Hershey’s Kisses. Probably realizing a squirming pile of foreskins trying to open Kisses repeatedly would make you vomit, they said to stick with the Reese’s Pieces, causing their product sales to jump nearly 65% immediately, according to the always truthful Wikipedia. Also, there was about a million dollars inked out in exchange for placement, which is like, a bajillion of today’s dollars.