Desert Eagle: Product Placement Killer


Brandchannel’s product placement tracker Brandcameo fails to see any new blood this week as Shrek Forever After maintains its stranglehold on the U.S. box office, and entertainment-exasperated parents’ pocketbooks. This reality does not mean however that the week provided no product placement news of note.

Finishing third at the U.S. box office for its opening weekend, Killers proved that Ashton Kutcher may now have more Twitter followers than God, but, it appears, he is no longer a guaranteed superstar onscreen.

Another performer from the film Killers that does remain an onscreen staple? The Desert Eagle. Magnum Research’s pistol is probably the most distinctive-looking gun of its kind.[more] Despite countless product placements, the pistol’s unique design assures that the handgun rarely goes unnoticed in its scenes.[more]

The Desert Eagle’s unique, triangular-barreled profile makes it the go-to gun of choice for directors seeking highly stylized film violence. In turn, this exposure, none of it paid for by the brand, is invaluable. Besides Killers, in the the last year Desert Eagle has been featured in the films Bad Lieutenant: New Orleans, Gamorrah, The Losers, Boondock Saints 2, Next Day Air, Crank: High Voltage, Ninja Assassin, and Funny People.

Of course the disconnect between film and reality could not be greater. The Desert Eagle costs nearly $2,000, making it an unlikely weapon for, say, Middle East terrorists and hoodlums.

Also, the gun is more of a hand-cannon than a hand-gun. Its heft also makes it the favorite for directors to put in the hands of female actors. No surprise, in Killers, the Desert Eagle finds its way into Katherine Heigl’s hands, even on the poster (at top).

While slim actresses regularly run around onscreen blasting away (sometimes with two!) Desert Eagles, YouTube provides us with a glimpse into what a slender women firing this .50 caliber gun is really like.

Jim Skildum, Magnum Research’s president and CEO, spoke with Brandchannel two years ago and said that the gun’s onscreen roles “absolutely” influence sales, adding, “It is difficult to quantify as [retail] firearms distribution occurs at least two steps removed from us. The biggest impact is the incredible extent of trademark and trade dress recognition of the DEP even among non-firearms enthusiasts.”

Below, a sampling of some of Desert Eagle’s more iconic film product placements. Can you name them?









And then of course, the most famous Desert Eagle placement ever (warning: NSFW LANGUAGE):