5 Times Product Placement Showed Up in Our Favorite Movies and T.V. Shows

Have you ever watched a movie or television show with your favorite actor and noticed the computer he or she was using was the same computer you’d been thinking about purchasing? What about the cellphone he or she used, or car he or she drove?

Well, if you have, you are recognizing product placement. Product placement is “an advertising technique used by companies to subtly promote their products through a non-traditional advertising technique, usually through appearances in film, television, or other media.” The purpose of product placement in film is plain and simple: companies use it as a way to increase engagement, create market strategy, and develop brand image.

The Internship

When Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) get an internship at Google headquarters, the multinational technology company receives exposure of the internship program and how it runs. This is product placement because Google is advertising what it would be like to work at Google. By centering the film on an internship at Google, Google is reaching and engaging with all audience members who watch the movie.




Twilight, like most films, sneaks product placement into the technology devices the character uses. For example, Bella Swan, the main character, uses her Apple computer to search about “Vampires.” Apple frequently utilizes product placement in movies because of the brand recognition of their products. Product placement is beneficial for Apple because it may push consumers and customers to purchase one of their products.



The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada is a classic movie about a monster boss and a hopeful employee. In a scene, Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) is forced to pick up coffee for the office. And, that coffee of choice: Starbucks. Starbucks uses product placement in movies in effort to get audience members craving their beverages and food.



Modern Family

Television also participate in product placement. In an episode of Modern Family, they have an entire episode dedicated to Claire (Julie Bowen) buying an Apple iPad. Again, Apple benefits from the product placement in this episode. People that watch this episode are laughing at the comedy in Modern Family, but are being marketed to by the Apple company. 



Mean Girls

And last, but not least, we have Mean Girls. Mean Girls, throughout the movie, has product placement. Examples include: the Lexus Regina George drives, the Diet Coke the Plastics drink, to the Louis Vuitton purse Cady Heron wears. Each of these products have a purpose of not only creating the characters in the movie, but engaging how the audience perceives the characters based on what they have, eat, or wear.



Product placement has become the norm in the film industry due to its ability to market to the target audience of that movie or television in a subtle way. It differs from commercial advertisements in the sense that the audience is naturally following the course of the movie with these small instances of product marketing, versus the abrupt advertisement change used during television program.

– Stephanie Spencer, ’18

Images provided by: Xfinity, Cinemablend, Adworldgems, Brandchannel, and QatarCultureClub



13 thoughts on “5 Times Product Placement Showed Up in Our Favorite Movies and T.V. Shows

  1. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve definitely noticed brand placement and promotion more in both TV and movies. I think what companies are really hoping for is exposure as well as the audience wanting to be like the characters. If the viewers see a certain character they LOVE or really identify with drinking Starbucks, they might subconsciously make a bigger effort to go there in order to become a little more like the fictional character they admire.

  2. Product placement is always something I pay close attention to in movies, television shows, etc. I love pointing out when a brand sneaks their product into a scene. Product placement makes a consumer realize that they will never stop being marketed to every day for the rest of their lives in one way or another, whether directly or indirectly.

  3. I like that the examples you chose to discuss are all ones that readers would be familiar with, so thank you for that. I agree that product placement is everywhere, but I am honestly a fan of it. Product placement, personally, has never swayed me for or against purchasing a product. Rather, I feel that product placement makes characters on shows seem more relatable as they use things that we do in every day life.

  4. It’s funny how we don’t even notice most product placements in movies or shows because we have become to use to these products appearing in our everyday lives. Like the article says, it has become “the norm” in the industry to incorporate products into their films. For example, Bumble-Bee, the Chevrolet Camaro in The Transformers film is a great example of product placement and how we are obvlivious of this since it has become so normal in our daily lives. Great article! I love the use of Mean Girls and Twilight. Very interesting and eye-catching!

  5. Loved this article! I find myself noticing more and more product placement as I take my first IMC class. It can be rather scary at times!

  6. Funny that two of your example of product placement are apple products. Fun fact Apple products made an appearance in 30% of the 33 number one films at the US box office in 2010!

  7. This blog is so accurate and really caught my attention because of how timely it was with our class discussions and of course some of my favorite movies were used as examples. It is crazy to me how you can watch some of these movies multiple times, and never truly understand how much thought goes into product placement and brands in movies. I personally like this blog because it puts really great picture examples with the examples used for product placement. The entire idea of the movie The Internship being produced and marketed by Google is a really strong example and I enjoyed reading further.

  8. It’s always crazy when you realize just how much product placement is seen in the film industry. Product placement definitely is seen a lot and it’s always interesting to go back and see that your favorite movie did it and you didn’t even realize it because of how subtle it can be. This was a great read and opened my eyes to some product placements I never gave a second thought to before.

  9. Overall, I really enjoyed this post! It was actually ironic to read this tonight because earlier today I was watching Grey’s Anatomy and was thinking about product placement in one of the scenes. The scene was Meredith Grey and Alex Karev in her car. The car looked extremely nice, so I was curious to see what brand it was. It ended up being the new Lexus SUV, which is different from the one she had last season. This scene just got me thinking about how much advertising goes on in an hour long show. In Grey’s Anatomy for instance, every season Meredith drives a different car for marketing purposes.

    Regarding your post, I really enjoyed its content.The pictures added a nice visual and I liked how it was broken up into either the movie or tv show. My only tip would be to post more of a variety, so the movie examples out numbered the tv show examples. Maybe in a future post add more of a balance between the two.

  10. How Apple likes to get their product out there! (3/5 of your examples). Watching TV shows and movies, I find myself searching for the brands. This became really apparent to me after I did extra work on an ABC family film, and I watched the directors tape fake labels over all the food and beverages in the scene. Which brands are chosen for a show or movie can evolve the characters: if a specific character only drinks Diet Coke, or if the character refuses to drive a car that was made outside of the US. We as views are susceptible to that. We become fans of certain characters, we idolize certain characters, and we want to be like certain characters.

  11. This list does an excellent job of pointing out product placement. In fact, it would be difficult to name a recent movie without some sort of product placement. The interesting question, in my opinion, is whether or not this is a bad thing. For instance, if the Devil Wears Prada used a generic coffee shop, would the story be less relateable? I think a decent argument can be made in support of this. Brands are a universally understood language in our culture- replacing them with generic substitutes feels, for some reason, less engaging. The only time I believe that product placement is a true issue is when it is so blatantly forced into a story- long shots of the emblem of the car’s hood, for instance. But when used sparingly, it is an effective tool that is beneficial to both audience experience and profit.

  12. I found this to be an interesting post because it’s something that you don’t notice is happening unless you’re paying attention to it or it is brought to your attention afterwards. I think that using a good variety of movies as examples makes this post appealing to different people, along with the photos used to show specific examples. I thought this blog was well thought out and creative!

  13. Stephanie, I think product placement can really help a product or company. If a product is placed correctly, some may not even notice it. I like seeing brands I use or have in movies or tv shows, because I can relate. Sometimes if I see one in a movie or tv show, I will look it up or maybe even buy it to see if it works.

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