The advertising side of movie production is just as important as the revenue that it rakes up via theatre screening. Merchandising in movies has become more of a norm ever since Star Wars kicked open the doors of commercialization in the 1970s. This paved the way for well-thought-out product placements in movies, which became a popular way of subtly getting a brand name into the public eye.
But while many movies are made with a firm grip on the advertisement aspect, some are also made to purely benefit cross-market sales. However, indulging in excessive product placement, to an extent where it becomes too blatant, can also have a negative influence on the overall perception of the movie with the audience perceiving it as a feature-length advertisement.
So, if you are associated with the marketing side of movie production, this blog will help you understand how not to over-advertise a brand in movies. So, here we are with 5 movies that turned out to be the most blatant and excessive examples of product placement.
1. Happy Gilmore (1996)
The 1996 American sports comedy movie Happy Gilmore was rated R for the abusive and violent behavior of Happy Gilmore, the lead character of the movie. However, that’s not the only thing this movie is remembered for as it sought to take product placement to a whole new level of ‘excessive marketing’.
In a scene, Happy Gilmore is showcased enjoying a sandwich from Subway. What begins as Happy casually enjoying his sandwich quickly transforms into a full-blown Subway advertisement. The scene further morphs into a mini commercial with a Subway t-shirt, sandwich, and a happy endorsement for Subway.
2. Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)
This 2004 stoner-comedy seems to have been produced purely with the intent of product placement; I mean the movie has “advertisement” written all over it- a mere glance at the movie’s title will prove it!
The excessive product placement of the movie can also be explained by Harold and Kumar’s visit to the fast-food chain White Castle where they go to overcome their weed-induced hunger. The art of subtlety seems to have truly been lost to this movie’s advertising team!
3. The Lego Movie (2014)
The 2014 computer-animated adventure comedy film The Lego Movie was primarily one lengthy advertisement with every character, building, and essentially the entire world made up of little plastic building blocks.
The only reason why I probably watched this movie was because of the little yellow cute and entertaining characters. Otherwise, the entire movie is a product placement!
4. Zombieland (2009)
Zombieland, the 2009 movie starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, made no pretensions regarding its attempts at brand endorsements.
In one scene that featured the actors in a grocery store, you can identify products everywhere. From Pepsi soda to Tide laundry detergent, the store is loaded with well-known brands. But in case, you think that a grocery store scene necessitated the presence of such recognizable brands, the scene where Tallahassee constantly searches for Twinkies should give you some insight into the excessive product placement in this movie- unless you think that fighting off killer zombies could get you pretty hungry!
5. Castaway (2000)
And here’s my favorite! But while the 2000 movie Castaway engaged in some overt product placement, it also ensured that it turned out to be iconic later- at least from the point of view of the multinational conglomerate FedEx.
For instance, a FedEx plane was the main catalyst of the events that take place in the movie. Also, the FedEx package, which ‘saved’ Chuck Noland’s life in the movie was another blatant example of product placement. Thankfully, the movie plot was so intriguing that instead of focusing on the package, the audience was more concerned about what was inside it. And of course, who can ever forget Chuck’s buddy on the island, the Wilson Volleyball?
And that was a wrap of some of the movies with excessive product placement. While it’s always good to have some degree of brand endorsement in your movies, subtlety is the key. Overtly advertising a product or a brand may only make the entire film feel like a lengthy feature-length commercial.
We’ll be back with more awesome commercials for you. Until then, stay tuned!