It’s July, one of my favorite times of the year. Summertime not only means longer days, summer vacations and a more laid back pace to life overall, but for movie fans, like myself, it’s a pretty special time of the year. There’s just something wonderful about escaping the summer heat into the air-conditioned coolness of the movie theater.
And for beverage companies, summer movies have meant more innovative tie-ins. As the blockbusters have gotten bigger, so too have the promotions beverage companies are building around them, especially given the rise of social media. One recent example is Mountain Dew’s tie-in with the third installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Mountain Dew went live in mid-June with an online hub at DEWGothamCity.com providing fans a deeper look at the Dark Knight franchise and exclusive content before the film’s opening on July 20.
If it’s not a promotional tie-in like Mountain Dew’s and Batman, then it’s all about product placement. With the summer movies in full swing, I started thinking about where beverage brands have popped up in the past.
One of the most successful product placements ever didn’t actually have to do with a beverage, so I’m cheating right off the bat. But you really can’t mention product placement in movies without recalling how E.T. took to those Reese’s Pieces. I was just a teenager, but I still recall the headlines about how sales of the candies skyrocketed and how M&M executives were kicking themselves for passing on the opportunity.
As for beverages, one of my favorite product placements doesn’t really feature a product at all, but a logo. It’s the scene in “Superman II” when Superman tosses the villain Zod right into an enormous Coca-Cola billboard. The billboard bursts into flames and sparks, beautifully illuminating the iconic “Enjoy Coca-Cola” logo like fireworks on the 4th of July. Using the backdrop of the ubiquitous and familiar Coke logo for this scene ingeniously blended reality with the fiction of a comic book movie—and added a great touch of humor at the same time. Brilliant product placement!
A close second, again, doesn’t actually feature a shot of the beverage product itself, but a memorable desire for one instead. It’s the late Dennis Hopper expressing his—rather enthusiastic, shall we say—preference for “Pabst Blue Ribbon!” over Heineken in Blue Velvet.
Space doesn’t permit me to list more examples here, so if I missed your favorite beverage product placement on the big screen, visit my blog at beverageworld.com. This column is also posted there and you can list your own favorites. Enjoy the summer, and the movies!