Perhaps you’ve read about Budweiser’s complaint over their appearance in the latest Robert Zemeckis’ movie Flight, starring Denzel Washington. If not, here’s a short recap: Anheuser-Busch (the owner of Budweiser brand) has asked Paramount Pictures to obscure images of Budweiser beer in the movie, because it was seen in the hands of an alcoholic pilot.
Denzel Washington is Captain Whip Whittaker, an experienced airline pilot, who somehow manages to crash land his plane after a mid-air plane malfunction and at the same time saving almost all of the 102 passengers on board.
After the crash, he’s hailed as a hero, but as the subsequent investigation shows that he had alcohol in his blood …
According to Reuters’ report Robert McCarthy, the vice president of Budweiser, said in a letter to production company Image Movers and Paramount, that Anheuser-Busch had “no knowledge of the use or portrayal of Budweiser. We would never condone the misuse of our products, and have a long history of promoting responsible drinking and preventing drunk driving. It is disappointing that Image Movers, the production company, and Paramount chose to use one of our brands in this manner.”
Well, in Flight
we could see numerous brands of alcoholic drinks, e.g. Budweiser, Corona, Smirnoff, Bushmills, Jim Beam … You can check more brands from Flight on Brands & Films’ Facebook page.
We can hardly say that it was product placement – brands were used to portray alcoholism / Whip’s addiction. I haven’t got a feeling that Zemeckis’ and crew were trying to show Budweiser or any other brand in a negative light. There could be any brand used.
That leads us to another movie – it’s probably the worst movie I saw in 2012. It’s Adam Sandler’s latest movie That’s My Boy. The movie should be avoided by all means, because it’s crap. Honestly, the story is absurd and Sandler’s jokes are pathetic.
However, it looks like Budweiser sponsored the movie, because there were countless scenes with Sandler drinking Budweiser.
For example, in the first scene of the grown up Danny Gruber, we see him driving an old car and opening a can of Budweiser.
So, Budweiser, why bother being seen in Flight? If you question the exposure of your brand in the hands of an alcoholic, then why is it ok to be involved in the movie such as Adam Sandler’s terrible That’s My Boy – easily one of the worst movies that I’ve seen in the last few years, not only in 2012. The movie has a score of 5.5 on IMDB and 21% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
To be honest … it’s easy to be pissed off at using your brand in a movie about an addict, but at the same time brands must use product placement in a smart way. For me seeing Budweiser in the hands of an addict is not problematic, but seeing Budweiser in Adam Sandler’s hands is clearly the sign of a bad taste and questionable use of product placement.