Most of the times, the carmakers cooperate with film and television studios in order to display their cars in blockbusters or TV shows, and this is completely ok. For example, James Bond must drive an Aston Martin, and it is hard to imagine him in any different vehicle. This is the case of good product placement, but we will also provide you with the bad ones.
Subaru in Portlandia
In the IFC’s TV show Portlandia, we can see Impreza making its appearance in several episodes and the IFC has also launched a web video series to show off Subaru vehicles. This placement is natural, considering that Subaru brand is popular in the northwest of the country in reality.
Audi R8 in Iron Man
Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man is a guy with money and style, so it is no wonder we can see him in Audi R8. The character and the car fit perfectly for some reason, but Tony Stark was also driving some other magnificent vehicles.
Acura NSX Roadster in The Avengers
Once again, we have Tony Stark, but this time it is a different movie and a different vehicle. Here, we can see him drive the concept car, and we will have to be patient in order to see the production NSX roadster in the streets. Acura has relaunched its iconic nameplate, but for that movie, they only said that “an Acura convertible sports car was created specifically for the film.”
Aston Martin DBS in Casino Royale
Although James Bond has driven many cars, an Aston Martin is definitely the best choice. In Casino Royale Daniel Craig drives a DBS, which was seen for the first time in the movie. Even though this vehicle was totaled, it was as big of a star as Craig himself.
Audi RSQ in I, Robot
Audi created the RSQ concept for the movie specifically, and the car features autonomous tech and company’s traditional front grille. Its futuristic look fitted the movie setting perfectly and at the time, the German carmaker product placement boss, Tim Miksche said: “We don’t pay cash to obtain product placements. We supply one or several cars for the actual shooting, and if necessary offer the film crew logistical and technical support.”
Chevrolet Camaro in Transformers
In Transformers, there are plenty of cars, but the Chevrolet Camaro which turns into Bumblebee is simply the best. It appeared on the silver screen as a muscle car, and when it arrived in 2007, it was a great way to create buzz. The production Camaro was launched two years after that.
Ford Fusion in New Girl
You can like New Girl or not, but the fact is that the car placement was excellent. They advertised new Ford Fusion, and they did so in a funny way.
Acura Crossovers in Thor
In the 2011 movie, Thor drove Acura crossovers, however, these cars were only visible in several shots and we could see camera going over the beaks and badges of the vehicles. It was a short amount of screen time, but it probably cost a huge amount of money.
Ford Mustang in Knight Rider
In Knight Rider, David Hasselhoff goes against antagonists with the help from KITT, self-driving Pontiac Trans Am. In the 2008 rebooted show, Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR was used, a vehicle that has no relations to the original KITT. The Hollywood Reporter described the pilot show: “Subtle product placement is one thing, but in ‘Knight Rider’ it becomes so heavy-handed that it actually alters entire scenes … Meanwhile, the Mustang logo gets displayed so often, the movie almost qualifies as a western.”
Toyota in Modern Family
In the first season of Modern Family, Toyota vehicles appeared 16 times for just eight minutes of screen time, but in later episodes, there were more placements. Toyota spokesperson declared: “We brief the show’s creative and production teams at the beginning of the season on our new vehicles and their key features. Based on this information, the Modern Family team then integrates the product into the storyline at their discretion.”
BMW Z3 in GoldenEye
James Bond drives the BMW Z3 in GoldenEye, and it somehow doesn’t fit. The Z3 is a great car, there is no doubt about it, and the car’s appearance was supposed to increase the sales of the Z3 on the global level. It was launched just a few months after the movie was released and Bloomberg reported that BMW had paid $25 million for the car to be driven by Bond.
Lexus in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Even though Lexus doesn’t produce spaceships, in the sci-fi movie Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, we can see one called Lexus Skyjet. The carmaker worked with the company and producers to make the “single-seat pursuit craft” but seeing that spindle grille on the spacecraft is repellant.
Feel free to add more cars to the list.