When it Comes to Product Placement, Captain America Has Friends With Benefits


Our loyal readers (Hi Mom!) know all about Captain America‘s tie-ins with Dunkin’ Donuts and Norton Anti-Virus. They’ve been riveted by the search for Captain America‘s leather jackets. They’ve ridden along on Captain America’s Harley-Davidson deal.

Now, as Captain America: The First Avenger heads into its opening weekend — poised, it seems, to unseat the mighty Harry Potter juggernaut — we bring you more news of how Marvel has powered up brands for the Captain’s Comic-Con timed big-screen debut … and a little somethin’ somethin’ about who’s been cozying up to Friends with Benefits on its first weekend date with moviegoers. [more]

First, to the mighty Captain. A recent entry of the Marvel Comics webisode “What The–?” (above) completely revolves around the Harley-Davidson brand, even using it as the punchline for the comedic series:

But Captain America and his chopper aren’t the only brands at the box office this week.

In a review of Friends With Benefits, Reuters comments that “the only thing that distinguishes Friends with Benefits from every other movie out there” is how “its characters peck away on Sony Vaio computers, lovingly shown in close-up, rather than on Apple Macs.” Seriously. The reviewer then explains the rationale — “Screen Gems, which is releasing ‘Friends,’ is owned by the Sony Corp.”

The reviewer may have dashed out for popcorn, then, during this scene:

We’ll be interested to see how prominent Sony’s Vaios are during the film, proving yet again that even when computing brands buy into a film, they still cannot keep Apple out. The same was true for Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Lenovo.

Apple and Sony aren’t the only brands in Friends With Benefits. There’s Texan-brewed Shiner Bock beer:

… while GQ magazine crashes the date to become a major plot point in the film:

GQ did not let this opportunity go to waste, inviting Justin Timberlake to “meta-edit” a piece in the magazine about him playing a GQ editor in the movie.

It’s noteworthy that Timberlake is probably more comfortable in GQ than playing a GQ editor. The magazine called him one of the 10 most stylish American men in 2009 when he graced its cover, something he has become accustomed to, having been the GQ cover guy in 2004 and 2006.

When it came to promoting this particular GQ-product placing Timberlake film, GQ went for a different cover star, placing co-star Mila Kunis and the world’s most recognizable straw on its cover with a little product placement of her own.

Looking ahead, Monday marks the kick-off to one of the biggest movie studio brand takeovers in recent history: yes, kids, it’s Smurfs Week in New York, the setting for Sony’s upcoming live-action/animated feature. They won’t literally paint the Big Apple blue, however; that honor was reserved for the Spanish town of Juzcar, which allowed itself to be painted blue for Sony Pictures’ Global Smurfs Day local marketing event last month.


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