This post is brought to you by Dr. Pepper.

Pepsi Wins Movie Product Placement ‘Oscar’
LONDON (Reuters) – PepsiCo Inc. may be only the world’s No. 2 soft drinks maker, but in terms of product placement on the big screen it outranked every other brand on the planet in 2004.
Brandcameo, a product placement offshoot of consultants Brandchannel (, awarded its top tongue-in-cheek “accolade” to the maker of Pepsi, Aquafina and Mountain Dew on Sunday after the Pepsi brand featured in no less than one in five No. 1 U.S. movie box office smashes last year.
Featuring in movies as diverse as “Alien vs. Predator” and “Dodgeball,” Pepsi beat arch-rival Coca-Cola and its ubiquitous Coke brand into second place, where it tied with Motorola and Nike.
While Pepsi actually only featured in seven No. 1 U.S. movie hits, the scale of this achievement is illustrated by the fact that only 37 movies topped the list last year.
Product placement is a lucrative business that really kicked off at the seminal moment in Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic “E.T.” when the protagonist alien consumes a trail of Reese’s Pieces that lead him to the house of the little boy that befriends him. Sales of the Hershey-made candy soared.
Nowadays, consumer products companies can pay top dollar for a placement on the billboard a car crashes into in a Hollywood blockbuster, or to supply James Bond’s latest gadget-laden car.
“Ford reportedly paid millions of dollars for “Die Another day,” said Abram Sauer, analyst at Brandchannel.
“These days, product placement agencies are trying to find a way of measuring the value of placement so they can charge for it. And now Ford has opened its own office in LA with the sole purpose of getting Fords featured (in movies).”
While product placements can have spectacular results when an item is first launched, its effects are harder to demonstrate when a placement is used to help maintain a brand.
So while computer and mobile entertainment maker Apple — a mainstay in any branding poll — gets a Brandcameo “Lifetime Achievement” award for almost 20 years of product placement from “Short Circuit” and “Star Trek IV” in 1986 to “Garfield” in 2004, Apple’s computer market share has hovered resolutely around the 2 percent mark.
Brandcameo’s awards — timed to capitalize on the massive interest in the Academy Awards to be made on Feb. 27 — run to several categories, but perhaps the most interesting point is that movies actually tend to under-emphasize the impact of branding in our lives.
Of course, documentary films such as “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Super Size Me” often lampoon or criticize the products or companies “placed” in them, as Halliburton and McDonald’s found to their cost.
But the irony is that there are far more products and brands on display in documentaries – and in real life — than in movies like “Die Another Day” or “Minority Report” that come under fire for their heavy use of product placement.
“People who complain about product placement say that movies are becoming too branded. That can mean the products are featured too unrealistically — there are just too many products on display,” Sauer said.
“But if you take a documentary that has no sets, and no one arranging things for the set, you get a lot more brands.”