The Branded Future
Just because a film or TV show takes place a few hundred years from now, doesn't mean there isn't an opportunity for brand integration. There are dozens of examples of brilliant product placement in films that take place in the future, starting as far back as the 1960's. And sometimes that fictional futuristic product actually becomes a product one day - like the Nike Back To The Future self-lacing sneakers released in fall 2016.
One of the advantages of projecting how your brand will look dozens or hundreds of years from now is that semblance of the image today will still have similarities - making its uniqueness even more memorable. In this blog, Hollywood Branded looks at some of the best examples of futuristic product placement in films and how those integrations made brands memorable.
Back To The Future: The Classic Example
Last year, we celebrated the date that Marty McFly and Doc traveled to in the future in the classic time-travel film Back To The Future - October 21, 2015. The movie was groundbreaking for product placement, most often remembered for its self-lacing Nike sneakers and futuristic Pepsi products.
Back then, the brands that integrated within the film imagined themselves as they would look so many years in the future. A giant McDonald's billboard can be seen outside the floating highway and a futuristic version of a Texaco filling station shows up more than once too.
Yet Pepsi and Nike were able to use this integration to their advantage both then and 30 years later. During the anniversary celebration of the film, Nike released limited-edition self-lacing Nike's that looked just like Marty McFly's. And Pepsi ran a limited release of "Pepsi Perfect," the cola featured in the film.
Not only did they get great placement in the original film, but were able to use it to their advantage for years to come. And while all of our Nike's don't lace themselves up quite yet, you can pay a pretty penny for some that do.
2001: A Space Odyssey
Brands and filmmakers imagining the way a logo or company will look in the future has actually been around for a while, starting as far back as the 1960's.
In 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick imagined a future where brands like Hilton had hotels in space, and Bell Telephone Company (now AT&T) had a working "picture phone" that made calls from space. In fact, one of the most famous movie scenes involves a main character talking with his daughter from space on a Bell picture phone.
While Stanley Kubrick was notoriously strict and wasn't known for having any brand placement in his films beyond what was needed to create an authentic atmosphere, 2001: A Space Odyssey had a plethora of blatant placements. The brands, reimagined in a sci-fi future, made the future setting seem authentic - and also made the placements extremely memorable.
The film projected what the biggest brands of the day would look like almost half a century into the future. The film became a cult-classic, and is on many people's list of favorite movies. And while we weren't reading magazines casually in space as of 2001, we can still enjoy the movie and recognize its placements - even if some of the companies no longer exist.
However some of them are still thriving (like hotel chain Hilton) and the placement remains as valuable, if not more valuable, as it was when the film originally came out.
Futuristic Product Placement Is A Great Way To Catch A Viewer's Attention
There are more examples than you realize where a brand was re-imagined in a futuristic way for sci-fi brand integration. Often, this fresh look on a brand can prove it more memorable than just a passing placement.
In Wall-E, the adorable titular robot uses an Apple iPod to project his favorite movie. And in the dystopian future of The Fifth Element, you can drive your flying car through a McDonald's and get your food from a fully-costumed waitress (but watch out - Bruce Willis may cause you to spill your drink).
More recently however, in Star Trek Beyond, the high-end scotch brand Glenfiddich had a brilliant placement in a key scene between Captain Kirk and Bones. To read more about the placement, check out our blog post, How Brands Go 'Beyond' With Futuristic Star Trek Product Placement.
Can Product Placement Help Your Brand Be More Memorable?
Creating a brand integration program for your product can ensure that thousands of people see and remember your brand - be it in the movies, on TV, or on social media.
Is Product Placement right for your brand? Watch this video to learn more about how this marketing practice works, what brand categories it works for, and the results brand marketers see!