Worst To Best: Movie Product Placements

The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980)

"The most inquisitive creature in Africa is the baboon."

The Product Placement: Coca-cola.

Why It's Grim: The entire plot of the film revolves around the discovery of a coca-cola bottle in the Kalahari desert.

Which is pushing things just a tad.

Impact On Sales: Five years later, Coke was totally rebranded - wonder if this film had anything to do with it?

The Wizard (1989)

"I got the scroll weapon, and I almost beat Mecha-Turtle at the end of level three!"

The Product Placement: The Nintendo Power Glove, the Nintendo Game Hint Line, the Nintendo Power magazine

Why It's Grim: The movie's just one giant advert for Nintendo and its various products - it even hosts the debut of Super Mario Bros 3.

Impact On Sales: Super Mario Bros 3 was a megahit, grossing over $500m. It's unclear if The Wizard helped those sales, though.

You've Got Mail (1998)

"Is it infidelity if you're involved with somebody on email?"

The Product Placement: AOL.

Why It's Grim : Back when the internet was in its infancy, AOL scored a massive coup by appearing in this sickening rom-com - it even had the film named after its mail alert. Snoooore.

Impact On Sales: Well, the internet sort of took off, didn't it?

We’re sure this flick had a hand in that. Right?

Transformers (2007)


The Product Placement: Mountain Dew.

Why It's Grim: We can handle a bit of product placement every now and then, but this takes things so far it completely devalues the Transformers brand as a Mountain Dew vending machine is turned into a Transformer. C'MON!

Impact On Sales: Unknown.

I, Robot (2004)

"Nice shoes."

The Product Placement: Converse.

Why It's Grim: Will Smith takes his sweet time putting his Converse on, just so the camera can gaze lovingly at them.

Even Chi McBride comments on them (he's the one responsible for the above quote). Nauseating.

Impact On Sales: Nike purchased Converse for $305m in 2004, just before I, Robot hit. We can't thank Smith for that, then.

The Island (2005)

"The life you thought you had... it never happened."

The Product Placement: Xbox.

Why It's Grim: Michael Bay loves his product placement (in The Island there are 35 paid-for placements), and he well and truly pandered to Xbox with this sci-fi, in which the games console is reimagined as a huge, flashing gaming booth.

Impact On Sales : By December 2005, 16 million Xbox games had been sold, as compared to 13.2 million the previous year.

Surf Ninjas (1993)

"Brothers don't surf."

The Product Placement: Sega Gamegear.

Why It's Grim: The film's plot revolves around a boy turning his brother into a ninja by - yep, you guessed it - playing the Sega Gamegear.

Which is tantamount to false advertising if you ask us.

Impact On Sales: We can't imagine it was good - not long after, Sega retired the Gamegear and replaced it with the cheaper/better Sega Nomad.

Spider-Man (2002)

"With great power comes great responsibility."

The Product Placement: Dr Pepper.

Why It's Grim: Spidey tests out his web-slinging skills on… a can of Dr Pepper. Even cleverly turning the can around so most of the logo is hidden doesn't hide the fact that this was all part of a big bucks movie tie-in.

Fancy a beverage?

Impact On Sales: Unknown, though it must've been big because Dr Pepper teamed up with Spidey again for Spider-Man 2.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

"Damn, I hate being a foregone conclusion."

The Product Placement: Pepsi One.

Why It's Grim: The movie is put on pause for almost an entire minute as Rene Russo sexily glugs on a can of Pepsi One.

Which is an entire minute that we'll never get back, frankly.

Impact On Sales:
Unknown, though we're sure Rene Russo movies saw a sudden increase in rentals.

Meanwhile, Pepsi One disappeared into obscurity…

Independence Day (1996)

"Get on the wire, tell them how to bring those sons of bitches down."

The Product Placement: Mactintosh PowerBook.

Why It's Grim: So the Macintosh PowerBook is SO POWERFUL that it can help you stop invading aliens.

It also makes for a really explosive TV ad. Sigh.

Impact On Sales: Sales figures unavailable.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.