How Product Placement Works

By: Katherine Neer

Product Placement in the Movies

The next time you watch a movie, try to keep an eye out for products or brand-names you recognize. It's highly likely that you'll see one of the major soft drink companies represented. Is it Coke? Pepsi? Snapple? Once you've spotted something, see how many other scenes include that product. You'll start to see a trend. "How," you'll wonder, "can the actor hold the Coke can just the right way every time so that the logo is perfectly visible?"

Take a minute to comb through your movie memories. You'll probably recall at least a few of these now-famous product placements:


Product placement in movies is so ubiquitous that it's even become something to parody on the big screen. Two movies that do a good job of this are "Wayne's World" and "Josie and the Pussycats." In Wayne's World, the two main characters hawk a variety of stuff, including Nuprin, Pepsi, Pizza Hut and Reebok. The amusing part about this is that the product placement vignette takes place while the characters Wayne and Garth are lambasting the very thing they're doing. As Wayne says "Contract or no, I will not bow to any corporate sponsor," he is opening a Pizza Hut box and pulling out a slice of pizza. The camera lingers on the Pizza Hut logo and Wayne, holding the slice of pizza lovingly beside his face, smiles straight at the camera.

The movie "Josie and the Pussycats" takes the joke several steps further. A send-up on the music industry, "Josie and the Pussycats" manages to satirize name-brand integration throughout the film. To get an idea of just how saturated with brands, logos and products this movie is, here's a taste of what you can see in just the trailer alone (Keep in mind that the trailer is only two minutes and twenty-five seconds long!): America Online, American Express, Bebe, Billboard Magazine, Bugles, Campbell's Soup, Coke, Entertainment Weekly Magazine, Evian, Ford, Gatorade, Kodak, Krispy Kreme, McDonald's, Milky Way, Motorola, Pepperidge Farm Cookies, Pizza Hut, Pringles, Puma, Ray-Ban, Sega, Starbucks, Steve Madden, Target, and T.J. Maxx.