Thanks to the recent, high profile Morgan Spurlock documentary POM Wonderful: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, it's a given that big Hollywood blockbusters are loaded with product placement, right? Or are they?
Thor has one of the lowest product and brand appearances and mentions of any top film so far this year. Does that mean product placement is dead?
A total of just 12 brand or products can be easily identified in all two hours of Thor. Among these, several, such as "Pop-Tarts" and "Taser," are jokes woven into the dialogue and not "placements" at all. Thor features only a handful of true product placements.
The brand with the most high profile tie-in is Acura, and yet, its biggest scene is limited to a 30-second segment where its cars just sit there, before getting blown to smithereens (at top). Compared to last week's Charger role in Fast Five, Acura's Thor placement looks, well, unheroic.
Of course, Acura used its Thor partnership to draw attention to the models offscreen as well. Acura stayed in character at auto shows and sponsored the film's red carpet event.
With the brand selling itself as the official automobile of the agency "SHIELD," it will be interesting to see if Acura sticks with its Marvel partnership as further SHIELD-related films in the Avenger series develop, including The Avenger movie itself.
Another partner of Thor that scores a brief placement is 7-Eleven. Of course, 7-Eleven has been a movie mainstay for years, and a longtime partner of Marvel as well. As it did with Iron Man, 7-Eleven is currently selling Thor-branded Slurpee cups ("Become the Thor of Your Store"). Beyond Marvel, 7-Eleven has partnered with numerous other blockbuster films. But, recently anyway, when it comes to actual placement in those blockbusters, it seems that "the house that Slurpee built" is a punching bag.
In Thor, the small town 7-Eleven appears just in time to be blown to pieces.
Funny, because we just remembered seeing a 7-Eleven getting similarly blown to pieces in Terminator: Salvation.
It wouldn't be a product placement round up without Apple. While the iPod reference in Thor isn't as robust as the MacBook placement in last week's Fast Five, it's another movie score for Apple nonetheless. An Apple product has now, in some way or form, appeared in 53% of all #1 2011 films at the US box office.
Finally, look at your "Old Spice man" Isaiah Mustafa, host of Marvel's Red Carpet Premiere of the film. Sadly, Isaiah Mustafa is not an actor up for superhero roles like Thor. But if he keeps hosting Marvel red carpet events like he did for Thor, he can feel like a superhero.
Look down, now back up. Where is Isaiah Mustafa? We predict he's in another Old Spice ad in five years. Look again though, and maybe he's Marvel hero Luke Cage. Anything is possible, as long as nobody (or at least, Tyler Perry) forgets who he is.
For all the brands in Thor, visit the Brandcameo product placement database.