Blatant Cross-Promotion

Culture Warrior

Last week, we explored the concept of shoving products into movies, but there’s an equal and opposite marketing method where movies are shoved into product commercials – especially if the character is an iconic one. There’s a distinction to be made here about the difference between celebrities endorsing colognes and fictional characters doing it, although the line can definitely be blurred. Movie star endorsements are as old as the medium, whether it’s Buster Keaton slugging out the chalk for Simon Pure Beer, Charles Bronson going overboard with his self-sprinkling of Mandom, Arnold Schwarzenegger scream-laughing for a Japanese energy drink, or Abraham Lincoln selling us churros. And that doesn’t include all the normal, run-of-the-mill advertising where an actress loves a brand of make-up or a wrestler loves beef jerky. A human being selling out is one thing, but there’s something especially heinous about a character being used to market a product because it’s an element of art forced into a square hole of commercialism. Oftentimes its done without the creator’s consent (or consent is contractually taken away from the starting block). In most cases, the original actor doesn’t even have to be involved (for better or worse), especially if there’s a costume involved. In its rawest form, it’s the uglification of something we love. This list is light-years away from being complete, but it hopefully shows a well-rounded view of different types of movie characters in commercials throughout a few different time periods.

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It’s tough to parody something if it’s not iconic. That’s why there have been some truly brilliant Muppets trailer parodies and a few that weren’t all that fun. Spoof on the entire romantic comedy genre? Gold. Mocking a mediocre ad for a summer comedy that wasn’t all that dynamic? Not as golden. This new trailer (with its bass-booming send-up of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trailer that captured so much attention) thankfully fits into that former category. The gimmick is perfected, and they manage to work in a few more jokes on top of it. Inspired work that you really just have to see for yourself. It’s time to light the lights:

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