Films

The 9 most blatant uses of product placement in film

Movie characters are just like us. They drink Coke, eat Big Macs, buy IKEA furniture and wear Nike trainers. But unlike us, they're getting paid to do all of it. Lucky them.

While certain smart-alec types have managed to insert products subversively into their plot (30 Rock, please stand up), others have accepted the cheque, signed the contract yet failed to read the toe-curling Ts & Cs.

Here are the most embarrassing.

Mission To Mars (M&Ms)

Legendary director Brian De Palma is mostly known for directing classic movies like Carrie, Scarface and The Untouchables. He's thankfully less known for this saccharine space opera which gave him an all-time career low. The lowest low of this low was when astronaut Jerry O'Connell used M&Ms to represent DNA. It worked perfectly until Gary Sinise ate a few. You can almost feel the Oscar nominee cry internally.

The Terminal (Burger King)

A film set inside an airport terminal is bound to include some major brands and it's more preferable than having invented ones instead (like KFB or Starchuckies) but in this scene, Spielberg pushed it somewhat. Saving up to get himself a Whopper meal, Tom Hanks finally lifted the inaccurately well-dressed burger to his mouth as the music heroically crescendoed. Success! For everyone but us.

Mac & Me (McDonald's)

In this shameless E.T. rip-off, no-one comes out unscathed. Once referred to as "more of a TV commercial than a movie" by Leonard Maltin, the film sees the central alien eat only Coke & Skittles while in this scene, he begins a horrifically extended dance routine in McDonald's. Also along for the ride is Ronald McDonald himself, the patron saint of cholesterol. The harrowing sugar crash which took place after the number is wisely kept off-screen.

Shooter (Google Maps)

In the Mark Wahlberg action movie, FBI agents are shown as worryingly under-equipped and cash-strapped as they try to deal with a rogue assassin. Ultimately, they're forced to utilise free web tool Google Maps to track him. That's right, the same service that normals like us would use. Except we probably wouldn't make such a point of name-checking it, would we?

Superman II (Marlboro)

If there's one thing Superman loves it's peace. If there's another thing he loves then it's probably Lois Lane. If we had to pick a third, at gunpoint, we probably wouldn't choose the endorsement of Marlboro cigarettes. Yet in this fight scene, he's quite content for the action to revolve around a branded van. If Kryptonite is his only weakness, does that mean he can smoke without the danger of lung cancer? That could explain it.

Green Lantern (Hot Wheels)

Although the below video is actually a commercial, the footage used is, believe it or not, a scene in the movie. 'Inspired' by his nephew's Hot Wheels, Hal Jordan creates his own version in a key action scene later on. Of course, you can also buy your own emerald-coloured set once you've left the cinema.

I, Robot (Converse)

Will Smith likes wearing Converse. Other people like him wearing Converse. Everyone just damn well likes Converse. That's what we got out of the film I, Robot. Oh and something about evil androids. In a number of cheeky scenes, shown below, we see the Fresh Prince sport some "vintage 2004" trainers as the film, set in 2035, was released in 2004. Get it? Cool, now go get yourself some Converse.

Happy Gilmore (Subway)

As the official sponsor of the Adam Sandler comedy, you'd expect perhaps a couple of scenes where a sub is being enjoyed in the background but you probably wouldn't expect the lead character to star in an in-film Subway commercial and then get decked out in head-to-toe branded gear. You probably wouldn't expect to feel totally nauseous the whole way through either.

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The Island (EVERYTHING)

Apparently Michael Bay (aka Hitler if you're Megan Fox) used products so blatantly in his failed sci-fi offering to make it seem more realistic. We don't quite know what he classes as reality but we definitely don't want to live there. Puma, Xbox, MSN, Nokia and others all manage to get a shout-out in this montage. In what we think is a first, and pray is a last, Scarlett Johansson watches a Calvin Klein ad with her starring while the same ad ran in the real world simultaneously. Barf.

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