From E.T. On, Booze Product Placement in Movies Leads to Kids Who Booze


A recent study of teen drinking patterns in Europe and the movies they watch, which was published in the British Medical Journal, suggests that the kids who watched more films with alcohol consumption were themselves more likely to both start drinking and abuse alcohol.

To which we say, DERRRR. But will the findings, with CNN the latest to make hay with them, be enough to change Hollywood’s long love affair with hooch?[more]

Hollywood already bans the product placement of tobacco. (Although, as we’ve noted, the rules have loopholes.)

Now, with this kind of research, calls are beginning to ban alcohol product placement as well. Currently, the industry does have some rules such as banning booze placements in films that expect at least 30% of the audience to be under 21.

Booze product placement is a big deal, although it is difficult to know just how much money changes hands. As with much product placement, alcohol deals often happen through brand’s agencies.

Anytime alcohol placements have pushed too far into PG-territory, alcohol brands have (no surprise) run into trouble. In 2006, Coors saw its product placement deal with Scary Movie 3 hit the fan after consumer groups protested. In 2010, the brand saw another (less outrageous) controversy from its placement in Tron: Legacy. (A placement the brand did not itself arrange.)

But alcohol brands probably find the risk worth the reward. When Tom Cruise ordered a Red Stripe beer in 1993’s The Firm, so did America, where Red Stripe sales rose 50 percent overnight.

Our Brandcameo product placement-tracker shows that Budweiser has appeared in 80 of the 374 films that were number one films at the US box office between 2001 through 2011, or just over 21 percent of all top films in a decade. It was the sixth top brand in #1 films following Ford, Apple, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet and Mercedes. And that’s just Budweiser.

Last year, Stella Artois, Bud, and Corona all appeared in top films. Liqueur Disaronno has recently made a big run in top films New Year’s Eve and The Vow, both PG-13 films popular with teen girls. Moet & Chandon was also a featured brand in New Year’s Eve.

Excising alcohol brands from Hollywood will prove incredibly difficult. One of the earliest product placement deals was between Gordon’s gin and Humphrey Bogart’s classic The African Queen.

At the center of 1977’s Smokey and the Bandit is a Coors semi truck loaded with refreshing beer. The film was capitalizing on 1970s “Coors Rage.” Even E.T. features the world’s favorite alien getting schnozzled… on Coors.