Product placement in movies is nothing new. It's always been a very efficient way to make money and keep the film looking like it exists in the real world. But with movies getting more expensive, product placement is more necessary and brands expect more bang for their buck. A simple Subway sign in the back isn't going to do the trick. Some films stop just shy of having the stars chow down on cold cut combos.
Sometimes overt product placement fits, like in Days of Thunder or Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby because yes, race cars really do have sponsors. Or if the shameless product placement is used for comedy's sake, making fun of the very commercialization that's happening onscreen, like in Wayne's World or, well, Talladega Nights.
These are the movies with bad product placement that's so distracting, it completely pulls you out of the story, the movies with moments that feel more like commercials. This list runs through some of the most distractingly blatant product placement in movie history.
A Michael Bay film is likely going to be a commercial, especially when it's based on a property designed purely to sell toys. Audiences expected Transformers to be a feature-length car commercial, but when a Mountain Dew dispenser becomes a Transformer, followed immediately by Xbox and Cadillac Transformers, it's hard not feel a little insulted.
The Transformers movies are generally close to being two-and-a-half hour commercials already, but Age of Extinction crosses that boundary twice. First, Stanley Tucci uses an element that can take the shape of literally anything he imagines to whip up a Beats Pill speaker. Later, an action sequences ends with an alien spaceship crashing into a semi truck hauling several tons of Bud Light. Mark Wahlberg then picks a bottle from among the wreckage and takes a refreshing swig.
This comedy might as well been called "Google: The Movie." The two heroes go to work at Google while bragging about Google, using Google, and standing directly in front of the Google logo whenever possible. It's a story device, sure, but it's distracting on such a basic level that it arguably prevents The Internship from ever feeling like a real movie.
"Vintage 2004." Even in a movie that lovingly lingers on a futuristic mega-Audi, the moments devoted to Converse sneakers are flagrant. The direct sneaker advertising throughout I, Robot completely takes you out of the movie. On the plus side, it desensitizes you enough that you barely notice the giant McDonald's and Gap ads when Will Smith walks through Times Square.