The 10 most blatant film and TV product placements

Looking to get your products on screen? Here's how NOT to do it.

by Ollie Smith
Last Updated: 23 Oct 2014

1. Wayne’s World

In at number one is this satire from Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. ‘Wayne’s World’ is the Saturday Night Live-inspired story of two live-at-home youths who present their own basement television show and are exploited by a gaming corporation. Well aware of the culture of product placement, they decided to spoof the shit out of it, with Pizza Hut, Doritos, Reebok, Nuprin and Pepsi all appearing very deliberately (and in that order) in this 1:39 minute clip.

2. The Thomas Crown Affair

In at two because it did exactly what Wayne and Garth were attacking, but seven years later, 1999 hit film ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ features this scene, in which Pepsi One is, well, milked.

3. Hawaii 5-0

MT didn’t expect Subway to be a culprit for awful product placements, but they feature more than once in this list - first and foremost for this gem from series ‘Hawaii 5-0’, in which actor Taylor Wily played both his character and everyone in the marketing department. ‘The best thing about it: they make it any way you want it.’

4. Shooter

2007’s double-cross thriller ‘Shooter’ sees Mark Wahlberg’s character framed for the attempted murder of the US President. He is chased by the FBI, whose best tool in the hunt for the presumed culprit is, er, Google Maps.

5.  Skyfall

Number five could legitimately be titled ‘every Bond film ever’ but, let’s be honest, it’s the more recent additions to the franchise that have been the worst. Things are now so bad that companies are placing Bond in their adverts. Take this Sony ad, in which James Bond appears no less than 34 times.

6. Dirty Harry

Back to the classics, and it’s sixth for Clint Eastwood’s iconic .44 Magnum film ‘Dirty Harry’, which features the much misquoted line ‘you’ve got to ask yourself one question: do I feel lucky? Well do you punk?’ If it’s no longer the most powerful handgun in the world, the .44 certainly remains the most famous.

7. Zombieland

Number seven goes to modern apocalyptic comedy ‘Zombieland’ which, among other things, features a gun-toting Texan hell-bent on retrieving ‘the last Twinkie’. After a hiatus, Twinkies are now back on our (American) shelves, so the film may still be helping to promote the brand.

8. Happy Gilmour

Subway is back with this cringe worthy placement in 1996 Adam Sandler film ‘Happy Gilmour’, in which a conversation in the afore-mentioned restaurant segues into one of the worst adverts we’ve ever seen.

9. You’ve Got Mail

Tom Hanks’ and Meg Ryan’s 1998 romantic comedy ‘You’ve Got Mail’ used the AOL log-in voice from the late 90s. It’s not only a blatant merging of film title and product, but an embarrassing glimpse at computer technology of old. Dialup? What the hell were they thinking?

And for those eager to relive those dulcet dialup tones, they can be heard here (ear plugs recommended).

10. Castaway

Tom Hanks again. Against the sandy and watery background of the film ‘Castaway’ is carved (in our imaginations) the word FedEx. FedEx never actually paid to have their branding included in the film, not even the bloody enormous plane which bears the company’s logo. In fact, they were reluctant to have it shown plummeting into the sea. But in the end it was all for a good marketing cause, and the company’s shares never suffered as a result.

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