movie product placement

Right, these are officially the worst movie product placements of all time

Were they even trying to be subtle?

2024 has well and truly begun, and amongst the fatigue of deadlines, failed new years resolutions (have you been to the gym yet?), and the all round feeling of the winter blues, there was the promise of relief. The revival of Mean Girls was supposed to heal the inner 2000s child in all of us through an overwhelming sense of nostalgia and an array of iconic lines (“that was so fetch”).

However, all that the new Means Girls film did was remind us of why classic films should never be remade. Instead of a cult film being reworked for a Gen Z audience, moviegoers were met with a trumped up musical that just screams of cringe.  Speaking of cringe, the most glaring issue with the new Mean Girls film is the not-so-subtle product placement that has been absolutely roasted online. The film has been called a 2-hour E.L.F ad with products promoted in forceful, unnatural way, leaving viewers is utter disbelief.

Mean Girls is not the only film to promote real-life products, with several films doing this in a way that is often unnoticeable to viewers. It is a marketing technique employed by directors in order to garner more funds for their film in exchange for excessive advertising. However, not every director has the skill to do this successfully, with some films ending up being a advertisement rather than an creative masterpiece.

So, some you may already know and some you may not, but here are some of the worst product placement moments in cinema history:

Barbie (2023)

Despite being one of the most popular movies of 2023, Greta Gerwig clearly still had bills to pay. Which is why, we saw characters whipping around in Chevrolet 4x4s, Barbie toting a Chanel handbag and Ken at one point wearing three Tag Heuer watches at once. Apparently, the Birkenstocks Barbie has to choose over heels to go down into the real world weren’t part of this chaos, though. Hmm.

James Bond (1953-present)

James Bond is a household name. Suave, popular with the ladies, and every man’s wet dream, everyone has heard of this infamous MI6 agent. Despite this, the James Bond franchise still relies on brand support and is no stranger to shameless product placement (how else are they paying for all their outlandish stunts??) Car brands, such as BMW,  spend millions getting their car front and center.

And let’s not forget the Omega watch obsession throughout the Daniel Craig era.

Uncharted (2022)

Uncharted saw Mark Wahlberg’s Victor Sullivan throw hands in a Papa John’s. In an explicit act of product placement, he utters the line: “I’m literally standing inside a Papa Johns.” Can you get any more obvious?

Zombie Land (2009)

Not all product placement has to be seen to be evident. In Zombie Land, Tallahassee (played by Woody Harrelson) spends to entirety of the movie on an all important quest to find Twinkies (out of all things!) It feels like they are mentioned every other line, and *spoilers* he does find them at the end of the movie.

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Featured image credit via Paramount