Product Placement in Movies

Product placement in movies is nothing new. M&Ms maker Mars, Inc., is probably still regretting turning down Amblin Productions' request to use its candy for a pivotal sequence in its blockbuster movie E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Hershey Foods Corporation swooped in and granted permission to use Reese's Pieces instead, boosting sales for those delicious little nuggets of peanut buttery goodness and making them a movie theater concession staple ever since. But has product placement gone too far?  In the next James Bond movie, Skyfall, Agent 007 will ask for a Heineken instead of his usual "martini, shaken, not stirred." 

Yes, the drink of choice for Ian Fleming's great superspy character will now be determined based on sponsorship dollars. I like Heineken, but is nothing sacred?  We've already seen Bond's famous car the Aston Martin usurped by other vehicles -- BMWs, Bentleys, Audis, Mercedes-Benzes, Jaguars, Rolls-Royces, and even Jeeps and Fords. To substitute a martini, that classy, intoxicating blend of gin and vermouth, with beer, doesn't seem in character for the dapper espionage agent. 

Sure, Heineken is a popular international lager, and if James Bond were to drink beer, Heineken would be it, but give the man a martini! Get your sponsorship dollars from some designer for Bond's tuxedo or from a high-end wristwatch brand like Rolex -- maybe it can shoot laser beams, or more practically serve as a portable GPS device that will save 007's life in the nick of time. No one should mess with a man's choice of beverage to quench his thirst.

Other famous examples of product placements in movie history include Jeff Goldblum using an Apple computer to plant a virus in the alien invaders' mothership in Independence Day, Tom Hanks working for Federal Express in Cast Away, and the Man of Steel being slammed into a Marlboro truck by General Zod in Superman II (then returning the favor by flinging the Kryptonian villain into a giant neon Coca-Cola sign causing a spectacular pyrotechnic explosion.)  How will James Bond's Heineken drinking compare?

In addition to the placement of the beer in the new movie, actor Daniel Craig will also star in a highly publicized Heineken commercial that will be seen all over the world. If nothing else, both Heineken and Skyfall (scheduled to open in November 2012) are already enjoying the fruits of their business transaction -- publicity, publicity, publicity.