John Travolta

7 Memorable Moments in the Dubious History of Product Placement

Remember when you had to wait until the commercial break to be bombarded with brand marketing? Probably not, since product placement has been a Hollywood addiction since the 1980s.Ever since Steven Spielberg featured Reese's Pieces in 1982's E.T. (after being turned down by short-sighted M&M reps), brands and content creators have embraced product placement as a sort of commercial symbiosis.This Wednesday, we'll be tackling the issue of product placement at #adweekchat, a one-hour Twitter conversation open to all. Join us at 2 p.m. Eastern for a lively discussion of the best, worst and weirdest examples of product placement in TV, movies and video.In the meantime, enjoy revisiting a few of the more iconic moments of product integration (some paid, some not) that have helped to shape how writers and producers weave brands into their storylines—with mixed results:

Fox Revs Up a Broadcast Revival of Grease

On the heels of NBC’s hugely successful revival of The Sound of Music, Fox on Monday announced it is prepping a three-hour live production of the musical Grease.

Everybody Gets Travoltafied [Video]

Post-Oscars, this was the week when the secret origin of Bitcoin was uncovered—maybe; Fashion Week ended, giving Instagram a much-needed break; and John Travolta became a meme. Jim Cooper, Lisa Granatstein, Michael Bürgi, Emma Bazilian, and in what is sadly her final appearance for us, Lucia Moses, reveal which were wins, fails and WTFs.

Perspective: Hey, Tough Guy

In the long history of celebrity endorsements (Mark Twain, let us remember, was plugging Great Mark Cigars as early as 1875), brands have learned that while a famous face is the key requirement, a close second is relevance: a credible, believable connection between the endorser and the endorsed. Perhaps nowhere is that linkage more important, or obvious, than in the Macho Man genre.