Posted by: ckckred | November 24, 2013

What Do You Think Of Product Placement in Movies and TV Shows?

Arrested Development Burger King

Recently I read an article about product placement, particularly in film and television, and why many studios use it.  So this inspired today’s question: what do you think of product placement?

I’ve always disliked product placement and while I know that many producers use it for budgeting, it makes it no less excusable.  It’s particularly glaring in many big studio films, from many of the Marvel movies to the recent Man of Steel (where Superman plows through an iHop and 7-Eleven before reigning destruction on all of Metropolis) and particularly in Michael Bay and Adam Sandler movies.  But I’ve loved when people parody product placement as well.  Arrested Development had a great bit where Tobias goes to a Burger King to meet Carl Weathers (see above) and Stephen Colbert regularly and jokingly talks about Bud Light Lime on The Colbert Report.

But what do you think?


  1. I’m in the same boat. I don;t like when a product jumps out at me in the middle of a story. It is cool when something like this is well parodied though.

    • Yeah, product placement is just really distracting. I’m sure that many movies don’t even need it for the budget and just want extra money

  2. I do find it jarring when I’m watching a clearly fictional movie and all of a sudden a brand name shows up right out of nowhere. Is it that hard to make up a fake name? On top of that, do sales from those companies actually increase after someone sees them in a film?

    • I agree, it is really jarring. It can be somewhat understandable, but when a company’s logo stands out I don’t find it acceptable.

  3. It’s situational. If it’s used in a way where it feels like I’m suddenly watching a commercial, such as in Sears Presents: Man of Steel, or something like Blade Trinity, then yeah, it’s a bit distracting. But then, in something like, say, Real Steel (or an actual sports film for that matter), where you see products plastered around the arena, yeah, it’s there, but it also makes the world feel legit in those situations, because that’s how it’d look in real life, so it doesn’t bug me nearly so much.

    Another example of the type that doesn’t bother me would be when the product actually becomes an integral part of the story, such as Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, or Twinkies in Zombieland. It’s played up for laughs and feels self aware in the ridiculousness in such cases, so I’m certainly able to roll with it on such occasions.

    So yeah, it really just depends on how it’s used, though I would always prefer it to be excluded if at all.

    That said, bad as product placement can be in movies, it’s something that sticks out like a sore thumb in books even worse. There’s nothing that takes me out of a story quicker than suddenly reading our character using some big brand name item that could have just as easily been given a generic name of some sort. Stuff like that doesn’t make your world appear real, it makes it appear like I’m suddenly reading an advertisement.

    • Nice point. I can understand it being used in sports movies, but some of the action ones I feel it’s unnecessary. Also, I agree product placement is even worse in books. Now there’s nothing worse than that.

  4. I think it’s at its worst in some of the Bond movies, particularly Casino Royale, where Vespa comments on Bond’s cool watch, or takes a picture with a Sony camera and holds it in the centre of the screen a fraction too long for a nice close up. Like Chris says above, it can be good when used a certain way, but mostly I find it distracting.

    • Good point about the Bond films, usually they’re big offenders. I like it when it’s parodied as well, but typically it’s used for extra money.

  5. As long as it doesn’t get in the way I don’t care 😀

    • Yeah, I can tolerate it when it isn’t glaring, but when it is, it’s very distracting.

  6. In general I am not a fan of it especially if it is really bad and obvious (like the Marvel movies you mention. I remember in The Avengers there is one car in the middle of the frame and it was so obviously shot. I Robot and The Island are two other examples.

    Recently in The World’s End there was very obvious product placement for a specific car (Opel Ampera/Chevy Volt) and it featured almost in every background, sometimes even 3 or 4 of them. Don’t know if it was used as a joke, but it is something I kept noticing.

    • I agree, it’s typically really bad and obvious. I noticed that as well in The Avengers and it was very glaring in I Robot. I actually didn’t remember that part in The World’s End though.

  7. I’m normally pretty oblivious to these kind of things unless it’s blatantly obvious and then it just pulls you right out of the film. However, if it’s not obvious then I’m not bothered. Films rely on advertising for money so if they have to use a certain product here or there I’d rather than than films not get made.

    • Nice point. When they’re subtle, I don’t mind as much, but when they’re obvious, it’s very bothersome.

  8. I really don’t like it. It’s always obvious and really distracting, like in the latest James Bond (Heineken, Sony…)

    • The James Bond series has been very blatant with product placement. I remember the many Heineken references in Skyfall.

  9. Honestly I don’t care at all, unless they make a point to make it obvious, which rarely happens. It’s way too picky to complain about something so trivial

  10. Reblogged this on Advertising Movies.

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