The 10 Least Missable Product Placements in Movie Theaters This Year So Far


Everything in Man of Steel

Superman's more than 100 product partners are worth some $173 million to the studio (Warner Bros., sister company of Superman publisher DC Comics)—more than 2/3 of the movie's hefty production budget, estimated at about $225 million. Mind you, marketing for a movie this size can top $100 million in addition to the production cost—James Cameron's Avatar famously cost $150 million to market—so the movie is by no means out of the woods. Partners include (deep breath) Sears, Gillette, Walmart, Twizzler, Chrylser, and Kellogg, among many, many others. When Zod starts tossing cars around this weekend, expect at least a couple of them to be—not kidding—Man of Steel Power Wagons.


Everything but Especially Sun Oracle Iron Man 3

This movie basically had a money shot in it for product partners: it's at the very end of the film when Iron Man's kid sidekick gets a room full of "thank-you" gear from his super-pal, and there was quite a bit of SPONSORED BY VERIZON new and slick computing gear AND SUN ORACLE, as well as sundry other toys AND AUDI, DON'T FORGET AUDI that a kid (or an adult SUNGLASSES AND TCL ELECTRONICS AND FRED PERRY SHIRTS GOOD GOD) might like.

Also the infamous four minutes of Chinese-release-only footage, which was apparently mostly product placement and a cameo by an actress beloved of Chinese moviegoers.


Beats by Dre, Prius, and More in The Hangover III

This movie's product placement was so egregious it actually managed to get flagged in not one but several reviews—there's really no reason to make these films except for the payday anyway, though, so more power to director Todd Phillips, who will have quite a bit of money to comfort him if his feelings are hurt by said reviews ("depsicable," "odious," etc.). And probably a free pair of Beats by Dre, and maybe a Prius, given the film's incredible preponderance of lovingly-shot logos.


Corona in Warm Bodies

The beer of the apocalypse is officially Corona, at least if you're watching the zom-rom-com Warm Bodies, which came out this spring. It's a heartwarming comedy in which a zombie falls in love with a human woman and wins her heart by handing her a beautifully-lit bottle of Corona Extra brand pale lager, a wholly-owned trademark of the Anhauser-Busch corporation. Drink it with a wedge of lime in the neck, or just use it to chase brains.


Google a̶s̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶s̶t̶a̶r̶ ̶o̶f̶ in The Internship

"What you need is Googliness—the intangible stuff that made a search engine an engine for change," Aasif Mandvi instructs the new interns at Google in the new feature-length advertisement for a tech company that mysteriously stars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as out-of-touch jobseekers. The shamelessness of the central conceit earned The Internship pans across the board—the Toronto Star's Linda Bernard called it "a big wet kiss to Google wrapped in a buddy comedy that asks us to believe that nobody over 40 knows anything about computers or the online universe," and The Onion memorably dubbed it—for the premise alone, not the product placement—the hit of 2005.


Budweiser, Beer of the Future, in Star Trek: Into Darkness

Yes, folks, not much will be left of our culture by the year 2259, but what we do know is that Budweiser classic will still be served in San Francisco, where both new Star Trek movies are set. Give Paramount Pictures credit: it's consistently visible from movie to movie, so who knows? Perhaps Scotty's trademark Bud (now that actually is a change over 140-odd years that strains credibility: a Scot who drinks American beer) will become as ubiquitous and beloved as James Bond's Aston Martin.


7/11 in Escape From Planet Earth

It's pretty rare that product placement makes it into a trailer (with the notable exception of The Internship, where product placement also makes it onto the poster and into the typeface), especially for a kids' movie. But here, in The Weinstein Company's Escape From Planet Earth, children of all ages are treated to the brand's iconic storefront and an alien proclaiming it "so beautiful!" Ha ha! Because he doesn't know what 7/11 looks like, unlike you, savvy, underage consumer!


Toys, Toys, Toys in G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Hasbro has the unique advantage of having acclimatized today's consumers to its product placement during their childhoods; the toy company's programs are more fond memories than frightening intrusions, largely because of Saturday morning fare in the 80's that included G.I. Joe, Transformers, My Little Pony and plenty more—all now reworked into contemporary versions for modern-day kids (and, good Lord, sometimes their parents) and now the movies. But there are still plenty of tie-in items for Hasbro to promote via the new film, including action figures of all the main characters and vehicles for most of them, on top of sundry licensed goods that have historcially stretched from beach towels to dog tags.


Ludacris’s Cognac, Conjure, in Fast & Furious 6

Ludacris is not just the star of a movie promoting Conjure Cognac, he's also the owner! Yes, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges manages to get in lots and lots (and lots) of footage of his signature beverage in 6̶ ̶F̶a̶s̶t̶,̶ ̶6̶ ̶F̶u̶r̶i̶o̶u̶s̶ Fast & Furious 6, and while it didn't exactly whiz right by viewers, it probably generated plenty of sales for the liquor.


Mark Wahlberg’s Very Own Fitness Supplements Around (but not in) Pain & Gain

Michael Bay's quiet, personal film, Pain & Gain—about two bodybuilders planning a heist—rolled out a marketing push that features plenty of love for its star Mark Wahlberg's fitness supplements line, Marked Nutrition—just not in the movie. That's right, folks, strange as it may seem, we're holding up Pain & Gain as an example of integrity here: Wahlberg may be promoting his supplements on every talk show that will have him, but he's not taking time in the movie (though other products are).