In the run-up to the release of the story-behind-Facebook film The Social Network, (the movie brought to you by non-Facebookers), we argued that Facebook has nothing to fear, but one brand does (Harvard). Now, a look at some films, both fictional and not, that skewered big brands and companies, and what effect they had.
Film: Thank you for Smoking
Brand(s) Involved: Big tobacco is lampooned in general but Marlboro takes a particularly big hit as the film features a dying Marlboro Man spokesman.
Impact: Funny? Absolutely. Telling us anything we didn't already know about tobacco? Nope.
Read on for more.
Film: Flash of Genius
Brand(s) Involved: The true tale of how the inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper technology got screwed by Detroit's Big Three.
Impact: In reaction to the film, the Ford brand released the statement,"Resolved more than 20 years ago, the real-life events are less dramatic" and it was right.
Film: The Devil Wears Prada
Brand(s) Involved: This fictional tale was a thinly veiled look at Conde Nast's Vogue magazine and its iconic editor, Anna Wintour.
Impact: If anything, the film backfired and created a "Gordon Gekko" -- a corporate villain we love to hate to love.
Brand(s) Involved: No mistaking which brand this Portland-based computer firm led by a Bill Gates-like megalomanic is meant to take on.
Impact: Remember when Microsoft was considered a huge threat to society? It was about the same time Ryan Phillippe was considered leading man material.
Film: Super Size Me
Brand(s) Involved: McDonald's
Impact: This manipulative documentary caused a stir at the time of its release. But its sensationalist influence has waned severely through time.
Film: Fast Food Nation
Brand(s) Involved: A rather intelligent fictional adaptation of the nonfiction book, there is no mistaking what fast food brand "Mickey's" is meant to evoke.
Impact: McDonald's business suffered greatly. Just kidding. Nobody saw this movie.
Film: The Informant!
Brand(s) Involved: The true-life tale of one Archers Daniel Midland employee.
Impact: Since the exposure of the food conglomerate's price fixing activities, its stock has risen 15%.
Brand(s) Involved: Union Broadcasting System (UBS) was an amalgam of the big three US broadcast TV networks.
Impact: ABC, NBC and CBS have suffered of late, but it's been at the hands of cable and the Web, not conglomeration.
Film: Citizen Kane
Brand(s) Involved: Did anyone not know Kane was a barely-fictional version of William Randolph Hearst?
Impact: The Hearst empire publishes to this day. Orson Welles, meanwhile, was reduced to drunkenly hustling Paul Masson wine.