If there’s one thing that makes brands happy, it’s free advertising. When you see the price that a product placement costs in a film, you can imagine the joy that an appearance offered in a program that is a hit can bring. This is what happened to several brands (and some of them could use a little help).
1. Kellogg’s Eggo Waffles in “Stranger Things”
When we see how much Stranger Things transformed the visibility of Kellogg’s Eggo, we are surprised to learn that it cost the brand nothing. Believe it or not, the brand was already present in the original script and Kellogg’s simply gave permission to use their product. It was a winning bet since the Eggo are now known all over the world, even in countries where these waffles are not marketed. The series allowed the brand to increase sales by 14% per year and Kellogg’s took the opportunity to release new products related to the series. An exchange of good practices as we like them.
2. Mattel’s Mr Potato Head in “Toy Story”
Craig Good, an employee of Pixar, assured that there was only paid product placement in Toy Story : Panasonic batteries. This means that all toys, most of which were not created by Pixar, received free promotion. The most impressive case is that of the Pixar character Mr. Potato Head: sales of this toy increased by 800% thanks to the film. Mattel has even modified its toy, which has become a must-have, so that it looks exactly like the version of Toy Story.
3. Subway in “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”
If you watched the movie To all the boys I’ve loved and its sequels, you may remember that the character of Chris is a Subway sandwich addict. The brand is so prominent that a third of Chris’ appearances in the film involve a conversation around Subway. We think the fast-food chain must have paid a fortune, but in fact, not at all. Netflix often highlights brands in its content and sometimes they then contact the platform to propose a partnership. In the following years, Subway highlighted the other films of the saga To all the boys to thank Netflix.
4. The Magic Screen in “Toy Story”
In France, the magic screen is called Télecran but in the rest of the world, its name is “Etch A Sketch” and it is marketed by Ohio Art Company. This toy, which dates from the 60s, did not sell much before its appearance in Toy Story which changed everything. According to the company, the film has sold more than 100 million “Etch A Sketch” screens, with sales increasing by 4,000%.
5. McDonald’s Szechuan sauce in “Rick and Morty”
The Szechuan sauce was originally a product placement since it was available for a few months at McDonald’s in 1998 to promote the release of the cartoon Mulan. Since then, many people had forgotten its existence…until its appearance in the series rick and morty. Rick, one of the main characters, explains that he is a fan of Szechuan sauce but that it cannot be found, so he takes advantage of time travel to recover a stock of it. The Szechuan sauce phenomenon quickly went viral (a 1998 jar of sauce sold for $14,000 on Ebay) and McDonald’s was very happy with the publicity the series provided. The channel wanted to release the sauce temporarily but didn’t produce enough of it and many fans were disappointed that they couldn’t get hold of it.
6. The Zig-Zag toy in “Toy Story”
When Toy Story was released in 1995, it had already been 10 years since the maker of the spring hammer, James Industries of Philadelphia, went out of business. It was this company that invented the Slinky, this spring that descends the stairs and has come back into fashion time and time again. Thanks to the success of the film, the manufacturer received more than 20,000 orders for spring dogs and decided to resume service.
7. Suntory’s whiskey in “Lost In Translation”
In Lost in Translation, Bill Murray goes to Japan to film a commercial for a brand of whiskey. This whiskey really exists and its sales have increased considerably thanks to the film and the catchphrase “It’s Suntory time!” “. According to Masaki Morimoto, director of Suntory, there was no monetary exchange for this product placement. The brand found this passage from the film to be a little insulting to the Japanese, but as their brand has become world famous, they took the news pretty well. This passage is in fact a nod from Sofia Coppola to her father who had participated in a commercial for whiskey in Japan, like many other movie stars at that time.