Sscreengrab from trailer via YouTube

12 of the most shameless film product placements of all time

Yes, The Great Gatsby, we’re talking about you.

WHAT IS MOST memorable about Baz Luhrman’s movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby?

The lavish parties? The silk shirt scene? Or is it the multitude of product placements that pervade the film from beginning to end?

For marketers who invested heavily in the blockbuster, it is the latter. For film connoisseurs, probably not so much.

While most of the products featured in the film are organic to the scenes containing them – the Brookes Brothers menswear, the Prada womenswear, Tiffany’s jewellery, and The Plaza Hotel to name a few – many of the shots showcasing Moët & Chandon champagne did not seem particularly natural. For some reason the film’s producers felt no shame about introducing unrealistically humongous bottles of the high-end bubbly, their labels pointing directly to camera.

To be fair, Moët isn’t the only brand guilty of the artless product placement. Take a look at some other companies who have perpetrated the same crime.

1. Cast Away

The appearance of FedEx branding in the 2000 drama Castaway starring Tom Hanks is technically not a product placement since the courier company didn’t not pay for the screen time. After the film’s release FedEx saw a significant increase in brand awareness in Asia and Europe where brand recognition was low.

(Image: Film still)

2. Wayne’s World

The 1992 film “Wayne’s World” shows Mike Meyers hawking a Pizza Hut pizza while declaring proudly, “I will not bow to any sponsor.”

(Image: Film still)

3. Toy Story

Toy Story’s inclusion of an Etch-A-Sketch boosted sales by an amazing 4,500 per cent. Mr. Potato Head sales saw an 800 per cent increase.

(Image: Film still)

4. GoldenEye

It cost BMW $3 million (€2.3 million) to place their BMW Z3 Roadster in the James Bond 1995 blockbuster, GoldenEye. The German automaker saw $240 million in advance sales alone.

(Image: Film still)

5. Risky Business

The 1983 hit Risky Business saved Ray-Ban’s Wayfarers from obscurity. 360,000 pairs of the sunglasses were sold the year of the film’s release.

(Image: Film still)

6. The Italian Job

One reviewer of The Italian Job remake in 2003 said that “the real star… is not a person but a car”. The placement of BMW’s Mini Cooper yielded a 22 per cent increase in sales the year of the film’s release.

(Image: Film still)

7. Lost in Translation

Sofia Coppola’s 2003 hit Lost in Translation shows the filming of a Suntory Whiskey ad staring Bill Murray. According to Suntory’s marketing department the product placement gave the whiskey brand international recognition.

(Image: Film still)

8. Top Gun

Tom Cruise made another Ray Ban line – this time it was Aviators – a top seller for the sunglasses brand in the 1986 Top Gun. Aviator sales increases by 40 per cent soon after the film’s release.

(Image: Film still)

9. Back to the Future

Michael J Fox popularises a special lace-free pair of Nike runners in Back to the Future. Unfortunately, Nike did not capitalise on its investment – it only released 1,000 pairs of Hyperdunks, the runners resembling those featured in the film.

(Image: Film still)
10. Sex and the City
The Sex and the City film unapologetically promoted 67 brands. The Louis Vuitton Motard Firebird bag was one of them.

(Image: Film still)

11. Home Alone 2

The 1992 film home Alone 2 featured the parent-outwitting recording device Talkboy – a gadget that did not actually exist. It took Tiger Electronics an entire year to recognise the demand for the item and produce a retail version.

(Image: Film still)

12. The Hangover Part II

Louis Vuitton sued the makers of Hangover: Part II for what the designer brand described as an offending product placement. Apparently, the bag was a fake.

(Image: Film still)

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