What is most memorable about Baz Luhrman’s movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby?
The lavish parties? The silk shirt scene? Or is it the multitude of product placements that pervade the film from beginning to end?
For marketers who invested heavily in the blockbuster, it is the latter. For film connoisseurs, probably not so much.
While most of the products featured in the film are organic to the scenes containing them – the Brookes Brothers menswear, the Prada womenswear, Tiffany’s jewelry, and The Plaza Hotel to name a few – many of the shots showcasing Moët & Chandon champagne did not seem particularly natural. For some reason the film’s producers felt no shame about introducing unrealistically humongous bottles of the high-end bubbly, their labels pointing directly to camera. (See the screengrab below as a case in point.)
To be fair, Moët isn’t the only brand guilty of the artless product placement. Take a look at some other companies who have perpetrated the same crime.
The first film to unabashedly peddle to product was the 1927 silent movie, 'Wings.' A Hershey's chocolate bar was not-so-subtly introduced into the narrative.
The appearance of FedEx branding in the 2000 drama 'Castaway' starring Tom Hanks is technically not a product placement since the courier company didn not pay for the screen time. After the film's release Fedex saw a significant increase in brand awareness in Asia and Europe where brand recognition was low.
The appearance of Reese's Pieces in E.T. increased Hershey's profits by 65% following the release of the film. Not too shabby.
The 1992 film Wayne's World shows Mike Meyers hawking a Pizza Hut pizza while sanctimoniously proclaiming, 'I will not bow to any sponsor.'
Toy Story's inclusion of an Etch-A-Sketch boosted sales by an amazing 4,500%. Mr. Potato Head sales saw an 800% increase.
It cost BMW $3 million to place their BMW Z3 Roadster in the James Bond 1995 blockbuster, GoldenEye. The German automaker saw $240 million in advance sales alone.
The 1983 hit Risky Business saved Ray-Ban's Wayfarers from obscurity. 360,000 pairs of the sunglasses were sold the year of the film's release.
A reviewer of the The Italian Job said that 'the real star of 'The Italian Job' is not a person but a car.' The placement of BMW's Mini Cooper yielded a 22% increase in sales the year of the film's release.
Sofia Coppola's 2003 hit Lost In Translation shows the filming of a Suntory Whiskey commercial starring Bill Murray. According to Suntory's marketing department the product placement gave the whiskey brand international recognition.
Tom Cruise makes another Ray-Ban line – the Aviator – a top seller for the sunglasses brand in the 1986 hit Top Gun. Aviator sales increased sales by 40% shortly after the film's release.
Michael J Fox popularizes a special lace-free pair of Nike's in Back to the Future. Unfortunately, Nike did not not capitalise on its investment – it only released 1,000 pairs of Hyperdunks, the sneakers resembling those featured in the film.
The Sex and the City movie unapologetically promoted 67 brands. The Louis Vuitton Motard Firebird bag was one of them.
The 1992 film Home Alone 2 featured the parent-outwitting recording device Talkboy – a gadget that did not actually exist. It took Tiger Electronics an entire year to recognise the demand for the item and produce a retail version.
Adam Sandler's 2000 comedy Little Nicky features two separate scenes that reference Popeye's Chicken. The first was bearable, the second unforgivable.
Louis Vuitton sued the makers of Hangover: Part II for what the designer brand described as an offending product placement. Apparently, the bag was a fake.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.