Fans of Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy may be disappointed to find out that the characters from his hit animated FOX series don't show up in Ted, MacFarlane's big screen directorial debut and the new #1 movie at the box office. After all, Ted the foul-mouthed bear busts into their animated game in a bit of cross-marketing synergy.
But there's plenty of promotional love to go around. Some brands are generic, such as the grocery store where Ted tries his paw at a real job; some are inferred, such as the Teddy Ruxpin talking teddy bear that inspired the title character (and was childhood best friend of John Bennett, the social misfit played by Mark Wahlberg), or the Boston car rental agency that employs Wahlberg and his co-worker played by Patrick Warburton is inspired by Enterprise.
The biggest overt product placement, however, is for beer — copious amounts of beer, with Bud Light and Budweiser bottles littering the screen of our dissolute hero and his raunchy plush pal (until Mila Kunis enters the picture). Front Row Marketing Services estimates the value of the product placement on-screen time for Budweiser at $778,325 and Bud Light at $229,670 for Ted's opening weekend.
The movie's Facebook page also puts Bud in a Teddy Bear's Picnic scene, below:
In one cross-promotional deal that straddles in-film product placement and offline marketing, Universal Pictures teamed with Axe for a campaign. In one commercial, Ted takes a date to a fancy restaurant and, er, gets busy under the table. (Watch the NSFW campaign here.)
Another star of the movie is its setting, Boston, where MacFarlane and Wahlberg both grew up. The Ted filmmakers received $9 million in state funds to shoot the film locally, from local landmarks such as Fenway Park to spots that locals only might recognize, as the Boston Globe notes:
The climax at Fenway was just one of the many sequences filmed in key Boston locations. Norah Jones’ concert takes place at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River, home of the Boston Pops’ July 4th extravaganzas; John and Ted get high and run into Donny for the first time at the beautifully manicured Boston Public Garden, home of the famous swan boats; and John tells Ted that Ted has to move out while standing amidst the great tanks in the New England Aquarium.
Ted cajoles Lori to meet John at Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe, also in the Back Bay, just down Columbus Avenue from the site where the Union United Methodist Church, a cornerstone of Boston’s African-American community, also plays a key role. John takes Lori to Sorellina restaurant for their anniversary dinner, and their disastrous double date with Ted and Tami-Lynn blows up at the Gaslight Brasserie. As well, John and Ted wait in a line of costumed fans at the Somerville Theatre for the opening night of Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace.
The Globe notes the cameos by the Boston Red Sox and the Stanley Cup (while doubting that anyone would rush to visit Boston after seeing Ted):
“Ted” accounted for roughly a quarter of the $37.9 million in film credits issued in 2011. A Department of Revenue study last year showed that, as an economic development program, the credits have been a dud, costing $142,000 for every Massachusetts job created. But there’s also a fuzzier argument: Boosters assert, almost as an article of faith, that simply showcasing the Commonwealth in movies like “Grown Ups,” “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” and “Grown Ups 2” has got to be worth something.
"One of the filmmakers’ goals was to find an iconic location to shoot the final moments of the film’s climactic chase sequence through Boston. To their excitement, the Boston Red Sox organization agreed to allow them to film in Fenway Park, the venerable baseball stadium that opened in 1912. However, the giant lighting tower that Ted and Donny climb was reproduced on a stage. During one of the nights lensing at Fenway, the production was graced with the presence of the Stanley Cup, the ice hockey trophy then recently won by the Boston Bruins."
Besides a cameo by Norah Jones, there's an appearance by a childhood hero — Sam J. Jones, the actor who played Flash Gordon — at a party:
Other pop culture references and brands sprinkled throughout the film include "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (whose show Ted appeared on after he became a star); SpongeBob SquarePants; a Tintin comic book; Rolling Stone magazine; Cabbage Patch Kids; and clips from "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and "Bridget Jones's Diary."
For more on product placement in #1 movies, visit the Brandcameo product placement database.