Little, Yellow, Different.



Please raise your hand if you instantly knew where those phrases began.  The 1992 film, Wayne’s World, is a spin-off from NBC’s sketch comedy, Saturday Night Live. The rock music lovers broadcast from on public-access television in Aurora, Illinois out of the basement of Wayne’s mom’s house. The comedy film takes a stab at actors and musicians who “sell-out” by being spokespeople for consumer products. The blatant and obvious use of product placements can be seen in the scene below, between Wayne and Garth, with the questioning of sponsorship ethics aimed at their band manager, film co-star, to Rob Lowe.



Pizza Hut, Doritos, Reebok, Nuprin, and Pepsi were all highlighted in Wayne’s World, complete with taglines with blatant jab at the marketing tactic. All of the products chosen fit the target market for typical Wayne’s Word movie-goers. Product placement in movies can prove to be effective. For example, automaker BMW and their car placement in James Bond, Tomorrow Never Dies, was a huge success for the company.  Ray Ban tripled their sales after Tom Cruise sported their sunglasses in the movie Risky Business. There are many reasons a company may decide to advertise their products in a film. One reason is that a very large number of people go to the movies annually giving them a very large reach. After their run in the theaters, films are then sold at retail locations as DVDs which in turn moves the product from the big screen  into the consumer’s home giving the advertising a longer lasting effect. Also, the product may be featured in the film’s maim story line therefore increasing the frequency of exposure and driving sales for the company. Viewers will often have an emotional response to the film’s characters so aligning your product strategically can be a very effective way to increase revenue.

However, not all brands or products want to be included in this type of advertising. One downside is that the intended audience may not even notice that the product was which would lead to a no return on advertising investment. Another risk of placing your product in a film is that the company who is trying to advertise has no control over  things such as the filmmaking process, the release date, or the location where it will be shown. The lack of analytics and tracking measures makes it difficult for an advertiser to therefore make informed financial decisions about where, and where not, to place their products.

You can’t fully appreciate the finesse of good product placement without recognizing the egregious flip side. According to website, here are the 

The 15 Most Shameless Movie Product Placements Of All Time

#15 – The first film to include products was the in 1927’s “Wings,” a silent film.

#14 – FedEx branding in the 2000 drama “Castaway” starring Tom Hanks. Interestingly enough, FedEx did not pay for the placement but saw an increase in brand awareness after the movie’s release. What a deal!

#13 – “E.T….phone home.” The Reese’s Pieces candy by Hershey’s saw increased profits by 65% after the film was released.

#12 – And as I highlighted in detail above, The 1992 film “Wayne’s World” shows Mike Meyers with Pizza Hut pizza as he sarcastically claims, “I will not bow to any sponsor.”

#11 – If you were alive in the 1980’s you surely owned one of these: an Etch-A-Sketch. “Toy Story” made the old-skewl toy popular again by including it with the cast of talking animated toys. In fact, the company boosted sales an astounding 4,500%. That’s not a typo.

#10 – What can you buy for $3 million? The right to place your BMW Z3 Roadster in “Goldeneye,” a James Bond movie! (I’ll take two please!) It paid off because the car-make saw $240 million in ADVANCE sales alone. Much wow.

#9 – We are back to the 1980 with the hit “Risky Business.” No one had heard of Ray-Ban’s Wayfarers but after star Tom Cruise donned a pair in 1983, the company sold 360,000 pairs!

#8 – Who starred in “The Italian Job?” I don’t know either but it is claimed that “the real star of ‘The Italian Job’ is not a person but a car.” Finishing with a 22% sales increase the year the movie was released was quite profitable for the placement of BMW’s Mini Cooper.

#7 – Bill Murray is seen with Suntory Whiskey in 2003’s “Lost In Translation.” Are you familiar with Suntory? Me neither, but I’m not into whisky. Apparently some people are because they claim that the movie launched international recognition.

#6 – What is up with Tom Cruise and his Ray-Bans?? He popularized the Aviator style in the 1986 movie, “Top Gun.” The company saw a jump of 40% in Aviator sales shortly after the film’s release.

#5 – Michael J Fox creates a buzz with the lace-free pair of Nike’s in “Back to the Future.”

#4 – A whopping 67 brands promoted in the “Sex and the City” movie.  Included in the list was the Louis Vuitton Motard Firebird bag.

#3 – An example of showcasing a product that wasn’t even on the market was from the 1992 film “Home Alone 2.” It featured a recording gadget called Talkboy. After the film’s release, it took one year for Tiger Electronics to respond and produce a real version of the prop.

#2 – Popeye’s Chicken found its way into the 2000 Adam Sandler comedy.

#1 – And coming in at the top spot on  Business Insider’s top 15 Most Shameless Movie Placement Products is from the movie,  “Hangover: Part II.”  Apparently the bag shown in the film was a fake so Louis Vuitton proceeded to sue film claiming they were offended by their product placement.

As you can see, you can make big bucks by choosing the right film to introduce or showcase  your product. Which brands do you remember most from movies?


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