Here’s the third part of the Top 40 product placements of all time. It’s my personal and very subjective list. You can check placements from positions 21 to 30 here: Top 40 Product Placements of all time: 30-21 and positions 31 to 40 here: Top 40 Product Placements of all time: 40-31
No. 20 – Pizza Hut, Pepsi, Reebok, Nuprin and Doritos in Wayne’s World
Benjamin: Wayne! Listen, we need to have a talk about Vanderhoff. The fact is he’s the sponsor and you signed a contract guaranteeing him certain concessions, one of them being a spot on the show.
Wayne: [holding a Pizza Hut box] Well that’s where I see things just a little differently. Contract or no, I will not bow to any sponsor.
Benjamin: I’m sorry you feel that way, but basically it’s the nature of the beast.
Wayne: [holding a bag of Doritos] Maybe I’m wrong on this one, but for me, the beast doesn’t include selling out. Garth, you know what I’m talking about, right?
Garth: [wearing Reebok wardrobe] It’s like people only do these things because they can get paid. And that’s just really sad.
Wayne: I can’t talk about it anymore; it’s giving me a headache.
Garth: Here, take two of these! [Dumps two Nuprin pills into Wayne’s hand]
Wayne: Ah, Nuprin. Little. Yellow. Different.
Benjamin: Look, you can stay here in the big leagues and play by the rules, or you can go back to the farm club in Aurora. It’s your choice.
Wayne: [holding a can of Pepsi] Yes, and it’s the choice of a new generation.
Wayne’s World is an American comedy from 1992 with Mike Myers (Wayne) and Dana Carvey (Garth) in the leading roles. Product placement in Wayne’s World is hilarious. It’s not the proper product placement, but more like promotion of five brands in a satirical way. In some ways it’s a prediction of things to come in the movie industry.
No. 19 – Bubba Gump Shrimp in Forrest Gump
It’s very rare that a fictional brand from the movie goes into mass production or in this case into restaurant business. Forrest Gump was a major box-office success in 1994. One of the stories from the movie was Forrest’s investment in shrimp boat and later in shrimping business. The Bubba Gump restaurant was named after Gump and his friend Bubba.
The first Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant opened in 1996 in Monterey, California by Viacom Consumer Products (its parent company Viacom is also an owner of Paramount Pictures, the distributor of Forrest Gump). Today there are 32 Bubba Gump restaurants worldwide.
The Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant chain is a fantastic example of the power of movie industry. The producers first created a fictional brand and then with the help of movie success moved the brand in the proper business. They succeed there too. Fantastic!
No. 18 – Omega in James Bond
Omega’s first appearance in the James Bond movies was in 1995 in GoldenEye, where Bond wore the Omega Seamaster Quartz Professional. Since then he’s been wearing various Seamaster models. Before GoldenEye Bond had worn the Rolex Submariner, but in the 1990s Omega was eager to participate in high profile movies through product placement, something that Rolex generally avoids.
According to Jean-Marc Lehu Omega wanted to be permanently involved in the series, so they agreed a partnership with Film Media Consultant. Omega’s obligation was a media investment of $7–8 million per film. With that deal they can use the image of James Bond’s actors for its communication. Thanks to this partnership Omega has benefited from sales peaks of 35 per cent after the release of each of the films.
However, sometimes producers abuse product placement and include the brand in some weird situations. That was the case with Omega in the movie Casino Royale. When Bond and his colleague Vesper Lynd were travelling by train she asked him about his watch: “Rolex?” Bond replied: “Omega.” Vesper finished this short conversation about the watch with one word: “Beautiful.”
Ok, the watch might be beautiful, but that was the obvious case of product placement prostitution and we (moviegoers) don’t like that!
No. 17 – Mini in The Italian Job
The original movie The Italian Job is a 1969 British caper movie with Michael Caine in the leading role. In 2003 F. Gary Gray directed an American remake with Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron and Edward Norton. Both movies are very interesting from the product placement point of view: they both include Minis.
British movie featured the “original” Mini and director Peter Collinson admitted that the car’s maker BMC only provided a few Minis for the shooting and the movie production company had to buy the rest of them. BMC’s decision was somehow strange, because the movie received a lot of attention and publicity. In 2004, Total Film even named The Italian Job 27th greatest British film of all time.
American remake includes new Mini models, which were integrated in the story perfectly. The use of Minis seemed absolutely normal for a robbery, since t Mini is a very compact and mobile car. It is believed that BMW didn’t pay for the placement of Minis, but provided 32 vehicles matching the specific requirements of the production. Product placement was apparently very successful. BusinessWeek reported in 2004 that sales of the Mini in 2003—the year in which The Italian Job was theatrically released—had increased 22 percent over the previous year. Product placement certainly helped.
No. 16 – Junior Mints in Seinfeld
Sometimes product placement can be so well done that it can get a brand name in the title of a TV episode. One of the best cases of such placement was in TV series Seinfeld: in the 20th episode of the Season 4. The episode is called The Junior Mint.
Junior Mints is an American candy consisting of small rounds of mint filling inside a dark chocolate coating. Their role in the Seinfeld episode was hilarious, but also very well done. It included all three types of product placement: the name of the brand was mentioned several times, the product was visible for a few seconds and one of the main characters (Kramer) has even eaten the candies.
In the episode the funny moment occurred when Jerry and Kramer observed the surgery of Elaine’s friend Roy. Jerry refused to take Junior Mints from Kramer and somehow the latter dropped it into the patient. Soon after the surgery Roy’s condition deteriorated, but eventually improved. The doctor thought that the reason was “something from above.”
Apparently the opportunity for product placement was turned down by M&Ms and Lifesavers (among others). “Some companies didn’t want to see their candy falling into the cavity of a patient: They overanalyzed it and lost the humor in it,” recalls Patricia Ganguzza, owner of AIM Promotions, the New York City-based agency that placed the candies on TV. Some reports from the web also stated that no money exchanged hands between Tootsie Roll (Junior Mints’ parent company) and Seinfeld.
The candy was also included in several conversations among the main characters. The funniest line came from Kramer who stated: “Who’s gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It’s chocolate, it’s peppermint; it’s delicious!”
No. 15 – California wines in Sideways
Sideways (2004) is an American comedy-drama, directed by Alexander Payne. It follows two forty-something year old men Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church), who take a week-long road trip to the wine country of Santa Barbara. The movie became a huge success, both at the box-office and with the movie critics. It won an Oscar for the best adapted screenplay and 4 other Oscar nominations.
Wine is a central element of the movie screenplay, and tasting sessions often provide the opportunity for a central close-up on the bottles and brands. In the movie Miles often spoke fondly of Pinot noir, but he didn’t like Merlot that much. Following the movie’s release in October 2004, Merlot sales dropped 2 per cent while Pinot noir sales increased 16 per cent in the Western United States. In the following months sales of Pinot noir rose by 22 per cent on the whole US market. Pinot noir brand Blackstone achieved even bigger boost – its sales increased by almost 150 per cent. The wine-growing valley of Santa Ynez in California also received a boost in tourism and at the restaurant ‘The Hitching Post’ which also appeared in the movie, business increased by 30 per cent.
No. 14 – Red Stripe in The Firm
This is one of the classic cases of excellent product placement. The product was visible, the brand was mentioned, it was included in a summer blockbuster with Tom Cruise and it was also very successful from the business point of view.
The placement of the brand occurred on Cayman Islands where Gene Hackman asked Tom Cruise to give him a bottle of Red Stripe beer. As you can see on the picture below the label wasn’t clearly visible on screen, but the choice for the specific product was spot on, because the beer is brewed in Jamaica. Within a month of the film’s release, Red Stripe sales in the United States had increased by more than 50 per cent. A few weeks later, company owners sold a majority stake in their brewery for $62 million to Guinnesss Brewing Worldwide.
No. 13 – BMW Z3 in GoldenEye
The BMW Z3 was the first modern mass-market roadster produced by BMW. It was introduced as a 1996 model year car, shortly after being featured in the James Bond movie, GoldenEye, in 1995.
GoldenEye was the first film of the BMW’s three picture deal. BMW decided to include its latest roadster Z3, even though it was featured in the movie months before its release. Z3 didn’t have much screentime and none of Q’s gadgets were used. However, it was the BMW’s multimillion-dollar promotional campaign that made the placement so successful. BMW ousted Aston Martin as Bond’s vehicle and created such a buzz that a month after the movie opened, BMW had received 9,000 orders for Z3.
“What made the Bond thing so terrific was that it was a brand-new car and a brand-new segment for us,” says Tom McGurn, general manager of retail and industry relations for BMW. “A very high percentage of the first year’s production was presold, and when the car finally arrived and was actually delivered to customers, there was a long waiting list.”
BMW entered the world of James Bond in spectacular style. According to Mary Lou Galician, head of media analysis and criticism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication the news coverage of Bond’s switch from Aston Martin to BMW “generated hundreds of millions of dollars of media exposure for the movie and all of its marketing partners.
No. 12 – Mac PowerBook in Sex and the City
Carrie Bradshaw is the main character of the American cable television series Sex and the City. The show was broadcast on HBO from 1998 until 2004, for a total of ninety-four episodes. The show was a huge success. Over its course of six seasons it won 7 Emmy Awards and 8 Golden Globes.
Carrie is the narrator and each episode is structured around her train of thought while writing her weekly column, “Sex and the City,” for the fictitious newspaper the New York Star. She works on her PowerBook in her apartment, writing a newspaper column focusing on the different aspects of her relationships.
Carrie used a variety of Powerbooks stretching from probably the first PowerBook G3 (Kanga) to the last Powerbook G3 (Pismo). You might also remember that her computer had an upside down apple logo, which was always very clearly visible.
Mac was Carrie most loyal partner and I’m sure a lot of people bought a Mac just because they saw Carrie Bradshaw using one.
No. 11 – BMW in The Hire
The Hire was a series of eight short films produced by BMW for the Internet in 2001 and 2002. All eight films featured famous movie directors (Wong Kar Wai, Ang Lee, John Woo, Guy Ritchie …) and Clive Owen as the ‘Driver’. The movies highlighted the performance aspects of various BMW cars, but even if you consider that they were paid ads, some of those short movies are in my opinion small masterpieces.
The Hire was a global success. “What began as a “big idea” grew into a cutting edge, first-of-its-kind entertainment event that was unprecedented in our industry,” said Jack Pitney, former Vice President of Marketing for BMW of North America. “We are proud that The Hire had more than 100 million film views.”
The Hire series is brilliant. If you haven’t seen it, watch it immediately. My favorite movie is The Follow: it was directed by the great Wong Kar Wai and includes stars, such as Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Forest Whittaker, Adriana Lima and BMW.