(A Red-Band screen comes on with the print saying “The following PREVIEW has been approved for RESTRICTED AUDIENCES ONLY)
(A quick logo representing that of a studio you know as Warnermirafox Works rolls across the screen)
(A flourishing yet terrifying score by Trevor Rabin plays underneath the action as we hear a narrator speak)
NARRATOR: Every month in the small town of Bluebells, Nebraska . . .
(A CHILD rings the bell on his bicycle)
A Psychopathic killer rampages for seven days . . .
(QUICK SHOTS of maniacal eyes, stabbing motions, and women screaming)
MAX: They say he pours his victim’s blood into the river.
AMANDA: Monster! Doesn’t he know that the town’s dam already takes about as much pressure as it can handle.
MAX: Amanda, sometimes you just can’t REASON with a psycho.
(Shots of a DAM. It slowly creaks and begins to crack. QUICK CUT to people panicking as blood fills their streets in one direction and a knife-wielding killer chases them in another)
POLICE CHIEF: I honestly don’t know what to do. Do we stop the 7-DAY KILLER or do we prevent this RIVER OF BLOOD from drowning our town?
AMANDA: Maybe I can help.
(AMANDA reaches into her purse and pulls out a TAMPAX ™ Tampon)
NARRATOR: This summer . . . From the master of terror and gore Rob Zombie . . .
(A BURLY MAN is stranded on top of a bus with the 7-DAY KILLER creeping toward him)
NARRATOR: Jason Schwartzmann
MAX: My God, how long can this damn DAM bleed for?!
NARRATOR: Sherri-Moon Zombie
AMANDA: I never leave home without my TAMPAX ™ or my AK.
(Pulls out a large f*cking rifle)
NARRATOR: HEAVY FLOW!
So… If you missed our conversation from yesterday, that trailer description went over your head. But what we’re talking about is corporations making movies. Not just being sponsors, no, we’re talking about big wigs writing, directing, and producing movies. And though the trailer described above is not an actual movie (if Zombie is reading, we call dibs, so back off), I believe that’s what a corporate-sponsored movie trailer would appear to be like.
It’s unrealistic to believe that a corporation will ever make an entire movie, but that’s not to say that they haven’t had a huge influence over the years. Even as recently as Sex and the City we see films that are just littered with product placement. Just look at Brand Channel which lists movies and all the product placements, as well as how they translate to box office success. The adventures of Carrie Bradshaw and her gal pals featured over 80 PRODUCT PLACEMENTS, ranging from Hello Kitty to Vera Wang. I mean, that’s no surprise considering that these ladies are a bunch of goods-seeking Manhattanites. But even mega-hit Iron Man had over 40 placements and had as many as the slightly less successful 21 with Kevin Spacey.
Chevy paying big bucks to make sure the Transformers are their brand is a bit over-the-top, yes. But at least you’ll recognize it. At least it’s creative. Would you watch Jodie Foster’s The Brave One and say to yourself, “Man, I really need a Mike’s Hard Lemonade?” My guess is no, and Mike’s probably paid a hefty sum of money to get their brand in that film. Will you be tempted to buy the Saab Aero-X when you see it turn into a giant f*cking robot? Umm, yes. Don’t even lie. Maybe you won’t actually buy one but you’ll go online and calculate by which year you could have it paid off.
Like I said before, as long as the brand decisions are made and placed carefully into the film, there’s really no problem with endorsements, products, or name drops. It’s the part of making movies that has to exist so that films can prevail.
So without further ado—Here are my favorite product placements of all-time:
The Talk Boy in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York—When I saw Kevin McCallister pull a fast one over the hotel staff using this playback microphone I became entranced. I needed this toy. My mom, the fickle beast that she is, would not buy it for me. So when I finally got my hands on one owned by my much more pampered cousin I learned three things: one, the playback quality sucks; two, it does not record your voice favorably; three, there’s no way this device would trick the likes of Tim Curry and Rob Schneider.
Wonder Bread in the Talladega Nights poster—For the first half of 2006, nothing tickled my funny bone more than the image of a cocky Will Ferrell standing tall, with the “Wonder Bread” logo spread across his chest. Well, that year I ate Wonder Bread, but thought Talladega Nights was mediocre.
The Sponsor Montage in Wayne’s World—No better way to endorse and make fun of your sponsors than by satirizing them. “Nuprin. Little. Yellow. Different.”
Apple iPod in Blade Trinity—This one takes the cake for me. I thought it was ridiculous that Jessica Biel would put on her ear buds and listen to some trax while kickin’ some vampire ass. But alas, I bought an iPod that year, and realized that what was more ridiculous is that she actually got the ear buds to STAY IN HER EAR as she moved around. Those pesky bitches always fall out of my head.
The entire runtime of The Wizard—There’s nothing I can say about this that hasn’t already been covered by The Angry Video Game Nerd (AVGN). That movie made me want a vagina so that it could be moist by the idea of Mario Bros 3 hitting my NES.
Sorry about that imagery.
What is your favorite product placement in film history?