The Avengers Effect: Shawarma Sales And Movie Product Placement
Posted on Friday May 11, 2012, 15:53 by Dallas King in Empire States
This week The Avengers (Assemble) has rarely been out of the headlines, but one particular story caught my eye. Website TMZ reported that sales of Shawarma have seen a massive increase following the release of the film in the United States.
This relates to a scene in the film where MILD SPOILERS, an exhausted Iron Man suggest that they all go try some shawarma. US audiences are also treated to a much-rumoured second post-credit scene which shows the team enjoying the dish which, for Tony Stark's information, is slices of spiced chicken served with warm pitta and a variety of sauces.
Now, product placement is nothing new in the movies. The Bond films are famous for it, as Casino Royale's Omega sales pitch illustrates. Other shameless examples include Will Smith's Converse trainers in I, Robot or FedEx and Wilson in Castaway. Perhaps the best example, albeit with Campell-and Algar tongues firmly in cheeks, is in Wayne's World.
But how much can the success of a film impact sales, either in a positive or negative way? Did Bill Murray advertising Suntory whisky in Lost In Translation increase sales? Did White Castle see any uplift following the release of Harold & Kumar?
Back in 2004, The Sunday Times reported that Oscar-winning film Sideways was responsible for an increase in Californian wine sales of Pinot Noir and a downturn in the popularity of Merlot, due to the views of wine snob Miles (Paul Giamatti). One of the most famous example of a film influencing the market is arguably Super Size Me. McDonalds famously dropped their super size meal option following the results of Morgan Spurlock's documentary. If reports are to be believed, William Friedkin's new film, Killer Joe, could have an interesting effect on KFC sales.
Digging a little deeper, web research has revealed interesting tidbits regarding the sale of certain products after they featured in Hollywood movies:
Sales went up by 40 per cent in the seven months following the release of Top Gun. The product placement worked extremely well in a film which itself was a 110 minute advert for the US Navy. It is not known if the film helped recruitment, or the popularity of homoerotic beach volleyball.
The Scorpion Jacket
Fashion police have reported a significant rise in the number of men trying, and failing, to look as cool as Ryan Gosling does in Drive.
Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg boosted the brand of this particular icecream by featuring it in Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz, where it became the standard response to the question, "Want anything from the shop?". Sales should receive another boost in 2013 when the final film in the Three Colours Cornetto Trilogy is released.
Nike Power Laces and Hoverboards
The producers of Back To The Future Part II have essentially run a 26-year marketing campaign for these two items which, if the movie is to be believed, will be available to the public in 2015. Hopes were lifted last year when Nike auctioned off several pairs of the shoes for Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's foundation. Sadly, they were missing the nifty power laces, but the patent has apparently been applied for.
In the run up to the big-screen release of The Simpsons Movie, several 7-Elevens were rebranded as Springfield convenience stores. Personally, I'm still waiting for Tarantino's Big Kahuna Burger franchise to take off.
Sex Panther by Odeon
Sales of Channel 4 news team reporter Brian Fantana's musk of choice skyrocketed following Anchorman. This is thanks to its formidable scent, the bits of real panther it's made with and the reassuring fact that 60 per cent of the time, it works every time. Of course, since it didn't strictly exist before the film was released, that's probably no great surprise.
So are there any film products you'd like to see on sale in real life? Any that you hope will disappear? And any - like shawarma - that you wish Hollywood would favour with an incidental boost?
This was a guest blog from Empire-ite Dallas King, who once watched our 500 Greatest Movies in a year, just for fun. To read the list of the full 500 Greatest Movies, click here.
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Posted on Thursday May 17, 2012, 12:42
Hold on a minute! I'm not too fussed about product placement, but is this true?
"US audiences are also treated to a much-rumoured second post-credit scene which shows the team enjoying the dish which, for Tony Stark's information, is slices of spiced chicken served with warm pitta and a variety of sauces."
Posted on Thursday May 17, 2012, 16:45
Ha, good for places that serve schwarma, I seriously wanted to try it too, after I have seen the second post credit online.
Sad, they didn't get it print on the international release on time! :0(
But I am surprised you left out "The Island".......this 'film' is a walking talking advertisement and also includes a real life ad with ScarJo....talking aboutcrossover
Posted on Thursday May 17, 2012, 16:46
Good, fun article! Personally, I tried my first Pom Wonderful after The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (LOVED it, but too expensive for a regular) and I spent a bomb in my local record shop after seeing High Fidelity again recently.
Also, is your name actually Dallas King, or is that just an insanely cool name that you happened to be born with?
Posted on Thursday May 17, 2012, 19:19
Yeah its true, you are not missing much, literary all it is about a minute of them chewing the last bits of their meal with no dialogue.
Posted on Thursday May 17, 2012, 20:04
SailorOrion - I tried to focus on individual items from films, where Michael Bay's films hold the records I think for highest amount of product placement in a movie.
MovieMogul - love High Fidelity. I recently undertook 'The Great Reorganisation' and rearranged my DVD collection autobiographically. Might be the topic of my next blog. Oh, and my name really is Dallas King. It's cool now but at school I did have to put up with having people sing the Dallas theme tune constantly!
Posted on Friday May 18, 2012, 10:15
Ahhh, I do love a good reorganisation. Genuinely fun. How were they organised before? I had mine by director and by year for a while...
Posted on Friday May 18, 2012, 21:19
They were organised alphabetically but had tried to break them up by genre. Doing it autobiographically took a LONG time but immensely satisfying.
Posted on Monday May 21, 2012, 14:20
After James Dean appeared in just a plain white T-shirt in, "Rebel Without A Cause" sales for T-shirts soared.
Posted on Monday May 21, 2012, 14:23
Also BTTF: Part Two came out in 1989, so the Nike marketing campaign has only last 23 years thus far and not as this article has stated, 27 years.