This Bud’s for All Those Who Hate Hollywood Product Placement

At one end of the Budweiser advertising spectrum are the millions spent each winter on fancy Super Bowl ads. At the other, evidently, is Denzel Washington’s new drama Flight.

Per a report by AP entertainment reporter Anthony McCartney, Anheuser-Busch never explicitly authorized the inclusion of the brand in the Paramount Pictures release. What’s more, the studio is likely well within its anti-product placement rights via a scene showing Captain Whip Whitaker enjoying one in the cockpit:

Trademark laws “don’t exist to give companies the right to control and censor movies and TV shows that might happen to include real-world items,” said Daniel Nazer, a resident fellow at Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project. “It is the case that often filmmakers get paid by companies to include their products. I think that’s sort of led to a culture where they expect they’ll have control. That’s not a right the trademark law gives them.”

Since Paramount and parent company Viacom deal on other fronts with various situations where Anheuser-Busch is a creative sponsor, the studio may well decide to acquiesce to this year’s strangest digital movie alteration – the blurring of Denzel’s beer can. William Grant & Sons, the American distributor of Stolichnaya vodka, is also reportedly none too thrilled to be propping up the Robert Zemeckis film.

Read McCartney’s full report here.