The Road To Successful Car Product Placement In Film
Product placement of cars in films is something we've all seen before. In fact, you’ll probably find it hard to think of a movie, set in present day, that doesn’t feature a single car. The only problem with this, at least for the car-makers, is finding a way to make the audience remember the cars they see on screen in the hopes that they will buy into the brand.
Some auto manufacturers have found a way to make their brand be stuck in the viewers mind. How do that do that? They make the car a star. In this blog, Hollywood Branded examines car went beyond typical product placement and made their car an integral part of the story.
Fasten Your Seat Belts
With waves of Hollywood blockbusters hitting screens year after year, there is no shortage of potential placement for cars. Yet some brands seem to have significantly more luck in successful placement campaigns than others; and in a time where entertainment media platforms are becoming more accessible to people all over the world, it might be beneficial to take a look at some of the greatest car product placements in cinema.
Chevrolet Camaro – Transformers
When Paramount announced that they would be making a live action Transformers movie in 2007, any fan of the toy franchise would instantly know that a lot of different cars would be needed for the movie.
Since the plot of the film follows giant robots that can transform into automobiles, Paramount reached out to General Motors (GM) to help supply the cars. GM happily gave the producers a variety of cars knowing that their products would not only be given substantial screen time, but would also be integral to the plot of the film (and with any action film, there also comes a large number of merchandising and toys). The provided cars ranged from Pontiacs to Hummers, but the car that arguably received the most exposure in the film was the yellow Chevrolet Camaro that functioned as the alternate form of one of the main characters of the franchise, Bumblebee.
Having Bumblebee transform into the Camaro gave GM the opportunity to showcase the car in many of the film’s thrilling action sequences. The Chevrolet Camaro would return in all of the Transformers sequels over the years, again receiving ample screen time to help further solidify the car as much of a character as any of the principle actors in the franchise.
The beauty of the Transformers partnership was that it allowed GM to go beyond the typical advertising campaign and instead have people all around the world associate their brand with an entertaining visual spectacle for years to come.
Aston Martin – James Bond Franchise
It should come as no surprise when suave super-spy James Bond became intertwined with luxury sports car producer, Aston Martin. In fact, it seems very natural for a car company like Aston Martin to become synonymous with the charming action hero.
The world was first introduced to the iconic pairing in 1963’s Goldfinger, which led to a spike in sales for the same car model that James Bond drove in the film. This, of course, was in addition to the increased company profile. While both the character and car have evolved over time, the relationship remained strong with an Aston Martin appearing in every James Bond film for the past decade.
Each film usually shows the cars having gadgets of all kinds prepped for any situation, and while the real-life model may not feature rocket launchers and ejecting seats, people still flock to the Aston Martin showroom after watching 007’s latest outing because of the image that has become associated with the brand:
The car fit for a spy.
With an element of escapism ingrained into the heart of the brand, thanks to countless outings in high speed chases, the idea of James Bond became forever intertwined to Aston Martin’s cars.
DeLorean – Back To The Future
Before 1985, time machines in popular culture were mostly large and clunky gadgets without them being too memorable for the viewers. That all changed when Back to the Future hit the silver screen and featured a time machine unlike anything the masses have seen before - a time machine built out of a DeLorean.
The very concept of a time machine being built into a car was enough to spark interest around the world and to DeLorean’s delight, the film became an instant classic. Two sequels would follow, all of which prominently feature the DeLorean as a major driver of the plot of each film. In addition, this kind of exposure paired with the fact that the film could be enjoyed by people of all ages gave the company the opportunity to license the DeLorean as toys and collectibles.
Over 30 years after it made its debut in cinema history, the DeLorean remains as one of the most recognizable icons in pop culture.
Paving The Way
Ultimately, General Motors, Aston Martin, and DeLorean were all successful in branding their cars to imprint ideas in the minds of viewers. They all served their purposes, whether it literally be a character in the film or a stunt piece in action, all three automotive companies sold the promise of adventure, fantasy, and a break from the mundane everyday life of the typical moviegoer.
These three brands saw the potential in their respective films and having that foresight allowed them to strap in for a ride no one would soon forget.
Interested in learning more about cars in entertainment media? Take a look at some of the links below!