7 Times Movie Product Placement Backfired Hilariously


When product placement works, it works damn well. Take the Bond movies: They represent close to the platonic ideal for product placement, because they make 007’s cars and watches and whatnot seem cooler by tying them to a fictional character. Even if James Bond spent his next adventure desperately chugging oven cleaner and impassively screaming, “The oven cleaner industry is run by racists with desiccated macaroni penises,” you better believe Easy-Off would want in on that shit.

That said, not every movie can be a Bond movie — and, in more than a few cases, Hollywood’s made the very products it’s supposed to be advertising look like total trash.


Samsung Is Responsible For All The Deaths In Jurassic World

Universal Pictures

The first Jurassic Park movie certainly wasn’t immune to product placement; all those sweet-looking Jeeps and cans of Barbasol weren’t there because they auditioned well.

Universal Pictures
Though the Barbasol at least saved us from having to watch Newman cram dinosaur embryos up his ass.

And the latest entry in the franchise, Jurassic World, is no different. We’ve talked before about how this film makes no sense, and also how it almost contained a provocative shit-slathering scene, but we haven’t yet mentioned its devotion to the art of shilling. There’s a Starbucks in the park, and a Brookstone, and an IMAX theater. Also, many scenes feel like they were shot by a parent whose kid is playing the Mercedes-Benz logo in a school play.

Universal Pictures
“You stole the show, Mercedes.”

But there’s one aspect of the Jurassic Park franchise you’d expect companies wouldn’t want their products featured: as the technology. You know, since the only thing we really expect from a Jurassic Park movie is to see technology fail and the resulting dinosaur calamities. And yet, despite that, Samsung still really wanted to be the ones supplying phones for all the park employees, the ones that seem great at first …

Universal Pictures

… until they start dropping calls, which leads to two kids almost being eaten.

Universal Pictures
These two. Crandy and Bryceler, or whatever.

Samsung products are also used for the park’s security, allowing them to be featured prominently in the scene where the Murdersaurus gets away …

Universal Pictures

… and it’s this fancy Samsung smartwatch

Universal Pictures

… that lures a bunch of security guards to a brunch.

Universal Pictures
Where the security guards discover that they are the brunch.

We don’t know about you, but the sight of a blood-spattered Samsung smartwatch leading an elite squadron of soldiers to their violent deaths isn’t really likely to get us to buy one for ourselves. Might just mosey past the Samsung store, in fact. Drive on down to the Apple store, even.

Or the nearest Amish community.


American Airlines Is Dangerously Incompetent In Home Alone 2

20th Century Fox

The Home Alone movies are crammed with ads, from Pepsi to Budget rental trucks to that Talkboy thingy. The only organization that didn’t seem to spring for product placement was Child Protective Services.

20th Century Fox
They would have insisted on a lot more courtroom scenes.

American Airlines was there too, and they really wanted to get into the sequel as well, even if it meant showing themselves as being hilariously shitty at being an airline. Because in Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, the McCallisters end up losing their son in a goddamn airport. It’s partly the family’s fault, sure, but it’s also partly the fault of the airline staff, who tell the mom not to worry about double-checking that her small children are all accounted for …

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

… before happily shutting the door behind her. Luckily Kevin encounters an American Airlines attendant at another gate who ushers him on to an entirely different airplane with no ticket.

20th Century Fox
“Would you like a handgun too, little guy?”

They’re not even, like, embarrassed about this. Because coming up next are lots of shots of American Airlines logos and planes so we know for sure which company just separated a kid from his family at Christmas and flew him alone to New York City.

20th Century Fox

The movie could have just as easily been called Home Alone 2: Kevin’s Body Just Washed Up On The Banks Of The Hudson, Thanks A Lot American Airlines. Come to think of it, why would any airline want to be prominently highlighted in a movie with the word “lost” in the title? Wouldn’t that be like Mountain Dew sponsoring a movie called The Foul Urine Murders?

Here’s the most bizarre thing. Remember that scene where the A.A. staff ignore a mother’s concerns about losing her children and then lose her children? It was used as a commercial for American Airlines that played on VHS copies of the movie! They were proud of this moment! This was a success story for them!

American Airlines: All These Planes Look The Same, Fuck It.


Transformers 4 Makes Famous Car Brands Murder People

Paramount Pictures

For those who haven’t seen it: The fourth Transformers movie, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, is less an adaptation of the beloved cartoon series and more an adaptation of an Amazon.com wishlist. An absurd number of products appear in this movie, including Victoria’s Secret, Oreo, and this thing that looks like some kind of birth control for your stereo.

Paramount Pictures
“Now you can play Prince albums without worry.”

Due to the nature of the franchise, a lot of these brands are putting products there just to be pointlessly destroyed. For example, Bud Light must have paid good money to have one of their trucks explode in this scene …

Paramount Pictures

… which leads to a sea of Bud Lite bottles scattering across the pavement like blue plastic corpses. Their product hardly gets kinder treatment in the next scene.

Paramount Pictures
“What the fuck is this, robot piss?”

At another point in the movie, some mechanic is brutally incinerated by an evil Transformer. We’re pretty sure this part isn’t product placement, not unless the people at Slim Jim have completely lost their minds.

Paramount Pictures
Still better than teriyaki flavor.

What definitely is product placement, though, is when the murder-bot transformers into a sleek Lamborghini.

Paramount Pictures

So, it’s basically a Lamborghini commercial where the Lamborghini burns a working-class man to death. Which … actually sounds like it might be kind of appealing to someone in the market for $300,000 cars. OK. We get this one.


In Paranormal Activity 4, The Xbox Kinect Is Full Of Demons

Paramount Pictures

The Paranormal Activity movies are “found footage” horror films and are kind of what you’d get if the Blair Witch campers stayed home for the weekend. And the fourth film in the series — cleverly named Paranormal Activity 4 — was notable for its obscenely unsubtle product placement for the Xbox Kinect.

Paramount Pictures
No one paid $8.50 to see normal activity, assholes.

Which seems pretty weird on the surface; why would a horror film want to highlight a video game apparatus that, as in Kinect Star Wars, can be used to make Boba Fett dance like a Katy Perry backup dancer?

Or, rather, why don’t ALL films want to do this?

But there’s a reason for all this, which becomes clear when someone gets out a night-vision camera and sees that the Kinect is flooding the room with tiny infrared dots.

Paramount Pictures
Which make the place look like the middle school dance of the damned.

Apparently people do actually try to use this feature to detect demons and such in real life. They do the same in the movie, and, spoiler, the demons are very much there, and they murder some people, and then the movie ends.

It’s hard to say why Microsoft paid for this, wanting to associate the Kinect with the occult. Or why they designed it to detect demons in the first place. Maybe Bill Gates made some kind of Faustian bargain to ensure Microsoft’s world-spanning success, and now they’re desperately holding back the demons who come to collect every night.

That’s all just baseless speculation, of course. So make sure to tell it to everyone you know.


Sudden Death Kills The Pittsburgh Penguins Mascot

Universal Pictures

Back in the ’90s, the role of the action movie screenwriter was basically to take the premise of Die Hard and come up with a new location to set it in. There was the boat in Under Siege, the plane in Passenger 57, and the, uh, building in Skyscraper. Eventually this trend resulted in the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie Sudden Death, which brings Die Hard to a hockey arena.

Universal Pictures
Leading to an almost genuinely clever title.

The whole movie was actually cooked up by the couple who owned the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team featured in the movie. For some reason the team’s owners decided that it would be a good idea for people to imagine their arena playing host to a bevy of crazed gunman — as if people come out of Die Hard thinking that Nakatomi Plaza seems like a nice place to bring the family.

Universal Pictures
“Post-game fireworks for the kids!”

It wasn’t just the setting; they got current and former players to do cameos, as well as local broadcasters. They even got the adorable Penguins mascot, Iceburgh, to show up — where he adorably tries to butcher Van Damme.

Universal Pictures

If you’re wondering, this is actually one of the terrorists in the costume, and not the actual Iceburgh gone mad from too much capering. Knowledge that doesn’t really detract from the violence of seeing him decapitated.

Universal Pictures
Or the joy if you’re a Capitals fan.


Foodfight! Is A $50 Million Straight-To-DVD Piece Of Crap Starring Mascots

Viva Pictures

In what we assure you is a real movie and not the plot of an episode of Mad Men where Don succumbs to mania, Foodfight! is a movie starring supermarket mascots and a canine private eye voiced by Charlie Sheen. Why? Because the universe hates us all, that’s why.

Viva Pictures

Sheen plays Dex Dogtective (because “Dog Detective” would have been too lazy), who lives in a magical fantasy land full of advertising mascots like Charlie The Tuna, Mr. Clean, and Chef Boyardee.

Viva Pictures
The Charmin Bears are surprisingly missing considering how much shit is packed in this.

And, OK, this could maybe be a cute premise for a dumb kids’ flick; not everything needs to be Citizen Kane. But things go awry pretty quick. For starters, the villains are disturbingly Nazi-like.

Viva Pictures
Often an exaggeration. But not this time, folks.

The story behind the movie is almost as insane as the movie itself. Production began way back in 2002, but after the hard drives containing the movie were allegedly stolen and the original financiers bailed on it, probably after noticing that the movie — despite costing in the neighborhood of $50 million — looked like it was animated by a Nintendo 64.

Viva Pictures

It wasn’t released until 2013 (straight to DVD, although probably only after they tried straight to VHS). A footnote: The writer, director, and guy who kept hyping up how awesome Foodfight! was going to be is Lawrence Kasanoff, who’s currently hyping up how awesome his new trilogy of Tetris movies is going to be. So brace yourself for the adventures of Square and Long Piece sometime around 2057.


A&W Is The Official Root Beer Of Rapists In Supergirl

TriStar Pictures

We’ve talked about Supergirl before. She’s the one who revealed what an incestuous creep Superman really is. Like, really, surprisingly creepy. But that was in the comics, and back in the ’80s, Supergirl was the star of her very own live-action movie. And since flying effects and whatever bullshit Peter O’Toole demanded for his trailer don’t come cheap, the movie features some product placement. Like this fairly innocuous fight scene where Supergirl gets hurled into an A&W vending machine.

TriStar Pictures
Tasteful, even.

A soda machine on a college campus seems like a great way to advertise a product. Well done, everyone. Cocaine all around. Unfortunately, some of the other A&W placement in the film is less than ideal. When Supergirl first comes to Earth, she encounters two sleazy truckers, who immediately try to rape her. Notably, one of the rapists is wearing a damned A&W shirt.

TriStar Pictures

TriStar Pictures
“When I’m out committing horrific sexual assault, nothing slakes my thirst like a cold A&W.”

Of course, Supergirl kicks his ass and knocks him into a pile of garbage. She doesn’t have time for this; she has a bad movie to get back to. But that’s kind of beside the point. Who at A&W had the idea to cultivate an image as the root beer of filthy sex criminals? Was this actually sponsored by those Machiavellis at Mug?

J.M. McNab co-hosts the pop culture nostalgia podcast Rewatchability, which can also be found on iTunes. Follow him on Twitter @Rewatchability.

Also check out The 5 Most Absurd Uses Of Product Placement Ever and 6 Hilariously Awful Examples Of Product Placements In Comics.

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