Image Credit: Jamie BiversProduct placement! Is there a more beautiful phrase in the English language? Not if you work for Apple: The company’s various products appeared in 30 percent of the No. 1 films of 2010. According to the just-released list of Brandcameo Product Placement Award Winners, that qualifies Apple as the most product-placed consumer item of 2010. (So many romantic heroines with feisty MacBooks! So many secret agent dudes with action-ready iPhones!) Meanwhile, Iron Man 2 won the award for most product placement in a single film, with an estimated 64 product placements. That’s roughly one product every two minutes, although since they’re all relatively affordable brands, you can only conclude that Tony Stark is in the lower class of billionaires. (Billionaires: They’re just like us!)
Now, there’s no reason to take some sort of principled stance with product placement. As EW’s Owen Gleiberman points out, some product placement can be genuinely creative. And even if it’s not creative, it sometimes is necessary for getting certain low-budget films and low-rated TV shows made. (And if that’s still not enough for you, maybe you should just get a job, hippie.) But it’s certainly worthwhile to parse through the dregs of pop culture and point out bad product placement when it happens.
The Brandcameo people, for their part, single out Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps for Worst Product Placement. Can you think of any particularly grating brand shout-outs in recent movies or TV shows? The one that instantly pops into my mind is the should-be-infamous “Bing It!” scene from Hawaii Five-0, because no one on the face of the earth has ever said “Bing It!” Except maybe Steve Bing, but he’s allowed to.