Ever get that feeling after watching a film that you have a sudden urge to buy a Jeep Renegade?
Product placements in modern media are something that cannot be avoided.
They’re not all bad, don’t get us wrong, but when they are made so blatantly obvious that it makes you roll your eyes it can certainly make the film feel less authentic.
For instance, Tony Stark driving an Audi R8 feels natural. He’s a cool guy driving a cool car and there’s not really a moment when you stop and think “I wonder how much Audi paid Marvel to put their car there”.
Another good example is how we’re always seeing Aston Martins in Bond films. The two brands have now become synonymous with each other and their association with each other does not feel forced.
On the other hand, when the actor stops what they’re doing, faces the camera and says “the new Toyota Aygo is now available, starting as low as £8,914” whilst in the middle of an intergalactic space battle, it may not go down quite as well.
Here are some of the most shameless car placements in movies that we could think of.
Batman v Superman’s Jeep Renegade
With panning shots that look exactly like a car advert, Batman v Superman was fooling no one with this blatant product placement.
Straight out of the gates, about 2 minutes into the film, we’re treated to a quasi-ad of Bruce Wayne hopping into his black Jeep and racing through the city. To really drive home the message of the rigidity and sturdiness of a Jeep, the car is shown bashing into bins, driving over kerbs and smashing the door off of another car, all whilst making sure the ‘Jeep’ logo is within frame.
To add to the insult, Jeep actually was trying to sell the special Jeep Renegade “Dawn of Justice” Edition which was basically a “Batman Edition” Jeep. Forget action figures, movies are now trying to merchandise actual cars!
Spirited Away’s AWD Audi A4
Spirited Away is a beloved Japanese animated film directed by the famous Hayao Miyazaki. It’s rated 8.6 on IMDb and 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and all in all, it’s just one of those films that gets nothing but praise from people.
The only gripe one could possibly have about this film is the blatant Audi promotion. The very first scene in the film features the family in a first-gen Audi A4 Quattro and soon after turning off of the main road, they begin driving through a rather uneven dirt track. Taking us right out of the film, the father who is driving literally exclaims “don’t worry, we’ve got 4-wheel drive!”.
Before and after this awful bit of dialogue we’re spoiled with various shots of the Audi badge, interior of the car, panning shots and so forth. Spirited Away is described as dream-like thanks to its mystical setting and magical story, but last time I checked my dreams were not sponsored by Audi.
Daddy’s Home’s Ford Flex
Now, this may not be a car we’re very familiar with in the UK but that doesn’t make this product placement any less cringeworthy.
“And he was right about the Ford Flex too. It’s a great family car. Got plenty of room for the kids, the gear and plenty of pickup for me”
Honestly, could you sound any more like a TV car advert if you tried? The main character even goes on to brag about the spec he got as well.
“I got the ‘Weekender’ package. Few more bells and whistles than Brad’s”
Nothing says American consumerism more than saying ‘I got the more expensive spec than him’.
Bones’ Toyota Prius
Ok, not a film but we had to include this. It’s just painful to watch.
Apparently part of the contract with this show and their sponsor was that they had to include some dialogue and mention the features of the car.
And before we know it, we’re no longer interested in how Dr. ‘Bones’ Brennan is going to solve the latest forensic murder mystery, but rather how this Prius uses Intelligent Parking Assist to park itself!
Avengers’ Acura NSX prototype
As Marvel had found that the Audi R8 placements had worked so well, they decided to take on a different sponsor in their Avengers film.
The Acura (Honda) NSX is only shown for a split second at the end of the film where Tony and Bruce ride off into the sunset. However, the Avengers Acura NSX Roadster was a special one-of-one car with an MSRP of $9,198,000!
The car was also driven to the premiere, ensuring that Honda really got their money’s worth from their contract. Motoring news outlets wrote about the car and it’s custom body panels, unique Iron Man colour and of course, what the car meant for the NSX name.
Jurassic World’s Mercedes
Jurassic World certainly had its fair share of products. From Beats headphones to Samsung phones to the Mercedes GLE and G-Class 6×6.
Ther Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, a stunning SUV – no denying that, was featured perhaps a little too much in this classic franchise reboot. In the film the car was featured excessively with plenty of shots of the logo, the car sitting clearly in the background whilst dialogue was happening or of course, the moneymaker, smooth panning shots of the car driving through a landscape.
Also, the car continued to feature heavily in the behind the scenes featurette and Mercedes even made a full-on ad featuring shots of the car in the film.
Some films like to have products placed discreetly and this certainly wasn’t one of them.
If you think about it, we’re just helping these brands out even more by talking about it! Damn you product placement!
If you enjoyed this, why not find out which one of these cars on this list also featured in our list of 10 ugliest modern car interiors.
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