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8 Of the Most Ridiculous Product Placements & Cross-Promotions In TV & Movie History

By Vivian Kane | Lists | February 16, 2016 |

By Vivian Kane | Lists | February 16, 2016 |

8. The Martian

So this wasn’t exactly product placement— more like after-the-placement product cross-promotion. Earlier this week, this photo of some brilliant, if odd, marketing went viral.


Most people assumed that this was the work of some bored, clever grocery store employee who wanted customers to associate their potatoes with Matt Damon’s poop. But not so. Actually, Albert Bartlett, the UK potato company, has partnered with the movie to sell potatoes and DVDs.


7. Castaway
While the obvious endorsement here is for FedEx,

FedEx didn’t actually pay for product placement in the movie. Neither did Wilson Volleyballs, but that didn’t stop them from producing special bloodface balls and seeing a huge boost in sales.

6. New Girl
I don’t want to be too hard on New Girl. (I do that enough on a regular basis.) This should maybe be regarded as a stand-in for the way car ads are so horribly incorporated into most television shows. (Does anyone know if they ever actually said the word “car” on Heroes? That show’s most effective drinking game was a shot every time “Nisan Versa” was uttered.) Still, they might have topped every other example with this commercial scene in a Ford Fusion.


Or this near-entire storyline based around the Fusion.


5. Baskets
If you’re watching Baskets (YOU ARE WATCHING BASKETS, RIGHT?), you might assume that Costco (and Arby’s!) is a major sponsor. If you haven’t watched it, know that this show is basically obsessed with Costco. But no money has actually changed hands there. Neither company even ran ads during Basket’s premiere. (I can’t say for sure about later episodes, but I would assume the same.) Instead, the creators just wanted the authenticity of real brands, without having to pay for each individual one. Add to that the Bakersfield Americana of a giant surplus store, and Costco was a perfect fit. The store lets them use pretty much whatever they want, but it’s not paid advertising.

4. Man of Steel
Did Superman destroy more buildings or endorse more products? Hard to say, but both were exhausting to watch.

3. Wayne’s World
Look, these guys just aren’t going to bow to any sponsor, okay, evil Rob Lowe? It’s like people only do things because they get paid. And that’s just really sad.

2. The Wizard
Look, it’s got Jenny Lewis, Fred Savage, and it came out when I was basically a toddler. I don’t care if it’s a 100-minute commercial for Nintendo, I love this movie.

1. Community
Subway has a tendency to overpower TV shows with its advertising (ahem *cough—
—ahem*), so what’s a quirky little sitcom to do if they want those big sandwich dollars without losing the integrity of the thing it’s become? Why, you make that sandwich chain a disturbing 1984-style corporate-human-hybrid character, of course.