‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot Delivers Fresh and Familiar Product Placements


ghostbusters2_papa john twinkies

The Ghostbusters reboot is here to sell audiences both an alternative take on the classic and a bunch of new brands. Early reviews of the film are already griping about the level of product placement, including brands like Pringles and Sony.

But the new Ghostbusters is sure to get more attention paid to its product placements as it has become both more common and audiences have become more aware of the marketing practice. While the original Ghostbusters isn’t thought of as full of product placements, it featured its share—including a brand of beer, something you wouldn’t see in a PG movie today.

Cheez-Its, Coca-Cola, Perrier, Lay’s, Fritos, Hi-Ho, Wise potato chips, USA Today and Budweiser all made prominent appearances in the 1984 original. And then, of course, most famous of all, there was the Hostess Twinkie scene.


But the original did not have official brand “partners.” The 2016 version does though, complete with a list of that can be found on the movie’s official site. These brands include Papa John’s, Progressive, Hi-C, Orville Redenbacher’s, YoCrunch, Hostess, and Dave & Buster’s.

Hostess Twinkies Ghostbuters

Starting with the most famous, Hostess is leveraging its Ghostbusters pedigree to launch “Key Lime Slime” and “Original” Ghostbusters-branded Twinkies.

And while the film is not yet out, a trailer tells us that yes, Ghostbusters did manage to, at the least, squeeze a Twinkie easter egg into the new film. A Twinkie billboard can be found in a scene of Times Square (at top).

Of the brands involved in Ghostbusters, Hostess Twinkies and Hi-C (of Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid) are the only two official partners with a claim to the original. Hostess with its famous Twinkie and Hi-C with its later 1980s tie-in to the animated Ghostbusters series. Hi-C recently relaunched its Ecto Cooler flavor, which has resulted in shortages in some areas.


“Who you gonna call when it comes to pizza? Papa John’s!” Borrowing the most famous line from the original, Papa John’s is running a sweepstakes.

Papa John's X Ghostbusters

Also, alongside Hostess, the trailer shows Papa John’s with some on-screen time as well — that’s a Papa John’s restaurant on the lower right in the image at top.

Progressive, above, is the official insurance sponsor of Ghostbusters.

From Pitch Perfect 2 to Ghostbusters, Dave & Buster’s has become an aggressive marketing force in Hollywood. (Though not always for the better; the brand had one of the most jarring placements last year with Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip.)

ghostbusters orville
As best we can tell, sweepstakes and package branding are the extent of Orville Redenbacher’s and YoCrunch’s Ghostbusters tie-ins.

Build-A-Bear has special edition Ghostbusters bears and Stay-Puft dolls.

While Ghostbusters is not targeting an international audience like some summer blockbusters, it still has a global audience. But this tie-in from ad from German brand Karcher for its power washer is random (and maybe not licensed!).

Speaking of random foreign tie-ins, how can anyone forget Citroen’s disco-rave-Ghostbusters ad for its La Spacebox model.

And not to be forgotten in the run-up to the film’s release, the NBA was a high-profile partner, enlisting Kobe Bryant and Spike Lee.

Finally, we went into the YouTube encyclopedia to get nostalgic about some of the Ghostbusters-branded merchandise, including the original Hi-C Ecto Cooler ad, from two decades ago. A small selection:

For more rare videos, visit the Ghostbusters‘ YouTube channel.



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