QOTD: Lamest Product Placement You've Seen?
The tedium of self-isolation reached depraved new depths this past weekend, as your author, finding himself all alone with nothing to do, took advantage of the government-imposed privacy to indulge in a shameful solo act. An occurrence that was sadly all too common in his teenage years.
That’s right — with the lights turned low and blinds drawn, yours truly engaged in something he’s not too proud of, and wouldn’t normally divulge to any other living soul. He watched a truly terrible movie… and didn’t turn it off.
No, not “so bad it was good,” nothing like that. This thing was a complete stinker — a colossal turdfest that only kept this writer’s interest because, among other things, it happened to be a commercial for General Motors.
Not an official one, obviously, but a clear — painfully clear — attempt to sway moviegoers’ buying decisions with targeted product placement.
Product placement is a marketing gimmick as old as time, and it’s capable of doing great things for the product featured within (think the second-gen Dodge Ram in Twister), but it can just as easily be a comically clunky effort that goes over like a raunchy joke at a funeral. And this turkey of a flick was indeed just that.
If you haven’t seen The Last Stand (2013), starring a former California Governor best known for saying “you’re fired” to a terrorist caught on a wingtip missile in a far better movie, please don’t waste your time. You’re likely to have more fun watching other unofficial GM commercials like Transformers, Transformers II, and, rolling back the years, Live and Let Die.
This flop (I’m told it broke even at the box office), which loitered in the studio vault for God knows how long before its release, centers around an escaped Mexican drug lord attempting to break back into his own country after eluding the combined might of the FBI (seen, laughably, escorting the imprisoned cartel boss to his date with the death chamber in a fleet of black, whining, first-gen Chevy Bolts). Only one still-bankable, Silverado-driving actor — playing the sheriff of a dusty Arizona border town — can stop him.
Did I mention the drug lord accomplishes his flight to the border in a C6 Corvette ZR1 (“Cyber Gray Metallic,” the spotter in the FBI chase copter relays, helpfully, to agents on the ground), with numerous shots of him downshifting even with the speedo pegged at 200 mph? It’s that kind of movie. It’s also worth noticing that, after taking cover in a wild firefight (that for some reason features Johnny Knoxville) behind a Chevy Sonic, our hero Arnie goes after El Chapo 2.0 in a borrowed Camaro SS, dueling with the wayward ZR1 in a cornfield on the Arizona-Mexico border.
Citizen Kane it ain’t.
The best product placement is subtle, followed up by the kind that at least doesn’t annoy the viewer. Then there’s the kind that hammers home the message with a sledgehammer, instilling a newfound disdain for the products on display.
Can you think of some truly awful movie product placements? Autos only, please.
[Image: General Motors]
Namesakeone on Apr 23, 2020
I was thinking the opposite on every episode of Mythbusters that involves a car; I think they cover (or remove) the logos to prevent the manufacturers from getting bad publicity when their vehicles are crashed, blown up, etc. (Or actual bad publicity, with the episode exploring the theory of the Porsche 928 being more aerodynamic in reverse.)
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