If you watched the latest adventure of the Mighty Morphin #PowerRangers on the big screen, chances are you saw how integral to the plot a certain food product was. As it turns out, the unofficial sixth man of the Power Rangers was in fact the famous donut brand, Krispy Kreme - donuts so delicious that even evil has to stop slaughtering people to grab a bite.
As silly and memorable as a donut's presence in Power Rangers was, it's not the first or most blatant form of product placement seen in a recent blockbuster. Here are the 12 other recent examples of blatant product placement that left some viewers with more laughs than an urge to rush to the nearest shopping center.
1. All Of The Transformers Movies
- Years Of Release: 2007/2009/2011/2014
- Directed By: Michael Bay
- Brought To You By: GM, Mountain Dew, Nokia, and many more
Explosion maestro #MichaelBay is no stranger to placing product placement in his movies, but the #Transformers series stand out as his magnum opus of corporate pandering. Not only do famous brands litter the background, but the titular robots themselves are walking, talking, fighting billboards and commercials for vehicles.
Majority of the Cyberton natives disguise as luxury vehicles and muscle cars from GM or Porsche line-ups that normally attract more attention than wanted. This led to scenes of cars speeding on highways that actually outnumber the fights between the Autobots and Decepticons.
The amount of product placement got so bad that Brandchannel.com awarded Transformers: Age Of Extinction the "Award for Achievement in Product Placement in a Single Film," since the fourth Transformers movie had both American and Chinese sponsors.
Watch the latest trailer for the upcoming Transformers: The Last Knight below.
- Year Of Release: 2012
- Directed By: Lawrence Kasanoff
- Brought To You By: StarKist, Twinkies, Vlasic Pickles and many more
#Foodfight was envisioned to be an ensemble animated feature starring the mascots of grocery products in the vein of Toy Story or more recently, The Lego Movie. Despite securing the rights to popular mascots, Foodfight! used them sparingly and focused more on characters voiced by big celebrities from the early 2000's, like Charlie Sheen and Hilary Duff.
When mascots like Mister Clean did appear, they had seconds-long cameos with close to no dialogue. Foodfight! also went out of its way to mock brands that refused to lend their respective mascots by parodying them through unflattering caricatures who loved to fart and spout sexual innuendos.
Foodfight! became a legend of its own, even after its troubled production cycle (that included stolen footage) delayed it for almost a decade and limited the $65 million Dollar animated venture to a direct-to-DVD run. If not for online critics like #JonTron and the #NostalgiaCritic, Foodfight! would have fallen into obscurity instead of being the best worst example of product placement.
Watch the trailer for Foodfight! below.
3. Resident Evil: Retribution
- Year Of Release: 2012
- Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson
- Brought To You By: Sony gadgets
The trailer for the fifth #ResidentEvil movie opened not with #Alice (Milla Jovovich) killing zombies or by showing anyone associated with the Umbrella Corporation, but with roughly 20 seconds worth of Sony gadgets like smartphones, tablets and hand-held video game consoles. Because when audiences go to a Resident Evil movie, Sony gadgets are their number one priority.
Though not all of these gadgets appear in the final movie, the presence of Sony is still felt in the post-apocalypse. For most of the opening act, Alice keeps track of her adventures by recording herself on a video diary - all of which is possible thanks to her handy, dandy Sony tablet. Since the world has ended, one has to wonder who Alice's audience is, because she uploads her V-logs to the internet on a daily basis.
Watch the Sony ad in question below.
4. Man Of Steel
- Year Of Release: 2013
- Directed By: Zack Snyder
- Brought To You By: Nokia, Sears, U-Haul, and many more
As much as some may hate it, product placement is a necessary evil in filmmaking since giving a product a few seconds of screen time can help with any movie's budget. DC's first official entry into the DC Extended Universe (#DCEU), #ManOfSteel, went the extra mile and tied-up with a reported 100 companies to help bolster its budget to more than 255 million Dollars.
From start to finish, Man Of Steel shows audiences the awesome new gadgets and establishments its characters support, such as Lois Lane's (Amy Adams) exclusive Nikon camera. The product placement hits the fan when #Superman (Henry Cavill) fights General Zod's (Michael Shannon) loyal soldiers in Smallville, where he brings the battle to local commercial establishments, like 7-11.
Watch Superman save the day in a local IHop and other well-known establishments below.
5.Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Year Of Release: 2014
- Directed By: Jonathan Liebesman
- Brought To You By: Pizza Hut
In #TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles, the titular animals turned secret defenders of New York City are inseparable from their favorite food: pizza. That's why, in their latest live-action adventure, the turtles snack on what appears to be the only pizza brand that matters in a city as diverse as New York City: Pizza Hut.
After Master Splinter (voiced by Tony Shalhoub) catches his four adopted turtles protecting the city past curfew, he punishes them by forcing them to maintain difficult exercise positions with the promise of an extra cheesy, 99 cheese pizza from Pizza Hut if someone confesses their crimes. Splinter even goes as far as describing just how delicious the pizza is, going into full detail about how many cheeses were used.
Watch Michelangelo (voiced by Noel Fisher) sell his brothers out for Pizza Hut below.
6. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
- Year Of Release: Marc Webb
- Directed By: 2014
- Brought To You By: Sony and many more
As is typical with the titular character's established mythos, #TheAmazingSpiderMan2 is set in New York City, and the city that never sleeps becomes the stage for the first fight between #SpiderMan (Andrew Garfield) and a newly powered Electro (Jamie Foxx). What Spidey fans weren't expecting, though, was a bombardment of ads and dubstep in their initial confrontation.
As the characters fought, the cameras lovingly focus on the falling billboards featuring products for Disney and Dunkin Donuts - not the panicking civilians and passersby. It's also worth mentioning that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was financed by the tech-giant #Sony, so every single character used the latest Sony gadget for their digital needs. And of course, the cameras zoomed in on the Sony labels instead of the emotionally distraught characters who were using Sony products to record their last goodbyes.
Watch Spider-Man and Electro fight in Times Square below.
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- The Product Placements Oscars
- Year Of Release: 2015
- Directed By: Neill Blomkamp
- Brought To You By: PlayStation 4
The sci-fi movie #Chappie joins the short but memorable list of movies that tried and failed to organically integrate product placement into the plot. Not only does the PlayStation 4 (#PS4) gaming console make a brief appearance in Chappie, but it turns out to be the plot device the titular robot needed to save itself and others from certain death.
Due to its weakening batteries, the self-aware, combat-ready security robot Chappie (Sharlto Copley) needs to transfer its consciousness to a new body. To do this, Chappie utilizes multiple PS4s stacked on one another and connect them to a laptop to discover the life-saving secret of digital body-swapping. Chappie proved once and for all that contrary to what naysayers proclaim, gaming does save lives.
Watch the trailer for Chappie below.
- Year Of Release: 2015
- Directed By: Peyton Reed
- Brought To You By: Baskin-Robbins, Yakult, and many more
#AntMan has been labeled as the Marvel Cinematic Universe's (#MCU) most executive-friendly (read: safe) entry, and the amount of product placement justifies this claim. Aside from Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) holding a temporary job at a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop, Ant-Man shows brands like Coke and Life Savers when the titular hero evades discarded food wrappers and bottles when he's the size of an insect.
The worst part is the possibility that the ludicrous amount of ads made the movie's original director leave. According to rumors, Marvel changed a lot of the Ant-Man script to make way for product placement, and all director Edgar Wright wanted was control on how this would be done. Marvel denied his request, leading to Wright's resignation from the project despite dedicating years of work to it.
Watch the trailer for Ant-Man below.
- Year Of Release: 2015
- Directed By: Chris Columbus
- Brought To You By: Sony, Yoo-Hoo, and many more
When product placement in film is brought up, expect #AdamSandler to be mentioned at least once. Almost every movie from the critical punching bag serves as a good example of selling-out to corporations. Jack And Jill stands out for having a Dunkin Donuts ad starring a break-dancing, rapping, Academy Award winning Al Pacino who clearly stopped caring.
But no other Adam Sandler movie comes close to the sheer amount of advertisements and corporate pandering in #Pixels. The movie that failed to depict Sandler as a nerd was drowned in a mix of old-school 80's licensed video game characters and Sony products, as well as plot-relevant Mini Coopers and Crystal Head Vodka. Sandler's corporate shilling has gotten so bad that he'll have to work extra hard to surpass the bar set by Pixels if he wants to make another movie with more advertisements than actual human effort.
Watch the trailer for Pixels below.
10. Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice
- Year Of Release: 2016
- Directed By: Zack Snyder
- Brought To You By: Jolly Ranchers
#BatmanVSuperman (aka #BVS) has been accused of being a pale imitation of the Marvel formula, right down to having an ad that could have doubled as a short film. As tacky as an in-universe Turkish Airlines ad featuring Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) could be, nothing could have prepared fans for one of the most blatant and notorious example of product placement to grace the big screen in recent memory.
BVS' version of Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is an eccentric spaz who is defined by strange quirks, one of which are his negotiating tactics that use the fruity goodness of Jolly Ranchers candies. When Lex tries to convince Senator Barrows (Dennis North) to give him access to captured Kryptonian technology, the business mogul sticks Jolly Ranchers (As Lex said, "It's cherry") into the politician's mouth - and this apparently seals the deal between the two men.
Watch Lex's business skills in action below.
11. Capt. America: Civil War
- Year Of Release: 2016
- Directed By: Anthony and John Russo
- Brought To You By: Audi
Similar to Resident Evil: Retribution, the third #CaptainAmerica film had an ad that could double as a short film sponsored by a certain brand. In the short, a family (driving in an ever-reliable Audi car, no less) just so happens to pass by Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Captain America (Christ Evans) chasing the Winter Solider (Sebastian Stan) in a tunnel.
At the time of the ad's release, most of the chase footage used in the Audi commercial had yet to be seen in any of the #CivilWar promotional materials. Excited fans who just wanted to see more of the movie were both shocked and irritated at the blatant product placement that kept interfering with the action scenes. This led to some viewers being taken out of the experience, and a lot of ridicule in the video's comments section.
Watch the Audi ad, brought to you by Capt. America and friends, below.
- Year Of Release: Paul Feig
- Directed By: 2016
- Brought To You By: Papa John's
The all-female #Ghostbusters reboot was subjected to a lot of unwarranted hate and flack before it even hit cinemas, but it still deserves a fair amount of criticism for various reasons. One point against the newest entry into the ghost-busting series was the blatant product placement, particularly the pizza chain Papa John's.
Not only do boxes of Papa John's pizza appear in both the background and in almost every scene featuring a well-known actor, but Papa Johns gets more focus in the final fight in Time Square than the restless dead do. New York is known for having a plethora of pizza stores in its city, but apparently, Papa John's is the only pizza provider that exists in the world of the Ghostbusters revival.
Watch Papa John himself turn into a Ghostbuster in the ad below.
What other movies with not-so-subtle product placements do you know of?