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Posted at 10:21 AM ET, 05/ 1/2008

Let the Summer Movies -- and Product Placements -- Begin

By Jen Chaney

'Iron Man': Saving the world, saving the economy. (Paramount Pictures)

The summer movie season is officially here. How do I know? Because Robert Downey Jr. is donning a big ol' robot suit and blowing stuff up in "Iron Man," which opens in theaters tonight.

I caught the movie a couple of nights ago and can report that, despite a few preposterous plot developments, it's pretty darn entertaining, thanks largely to Downey's nuanced portrayal of hero Tony Stark. I also can report that "Iron Man" is chock full of product placements.

Seriously, forget those stimulus checks: Through the power of subliminal suggestion, "Iron Man" could very well fire up the economy again, forcing consumers to buy cars and computers they didn't even know they wanted.

Here is a list of a few of the brands getting an "Iron" boost:

Tony guns it in an Audi R8, a sleek little number that even makes non-car people like me want to take a test drive. And at $110,000, it's totally affordable!

In the Mac vs. PC debate, Stark falls on the PC side -- his servers are Dell.

Iron Man never needs to ask, "Can you hear me now?," not only because it's SUPER LOUD whenever he starts stomping around, but also because his LG phone appears to be a member of the Verizon network.

Given his refined tastes, I would have pegged Tony Stark for an In-N-Out burger guy. But in fact, he opts for Burger King. Coincidentally, the fast food franchise plans to offer "Iron Man" toys with its kids meals, a move that has one group up in arms because of the violence in the film.

And while they may not count as product placements in the traditional sense, several publications get shout-outs in the movie, including Vanity Fair (the mag's intrepid reporter apparently didn't get the memo about not sleeping with your sources), Rolling Stone, Wired and, unless my eyes deceived me, a little ol' paper called The Washington Post.

Yes, already corporate America is asaulting your senses and it's only week one of the summer movie season. To see what other product promotions -- oh yeah, and movies -- are coming down Cinema Pike, check out our summer movie guide.

Personally, I'm gearing up for an advance screening of "Speed Racer" this weekend. I already feel prepared -- I've been staring at Emile Hirsch's pedal-to-the-metal mug on my Cheerios box for weeks now.

By Jen Chaney  | May 1, 2008; 10:21 AM ET
Categories:  Movies  
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Comments

Well, Superman had Cheerios, and that was way back in 1978. So we're talking 30 years of product placement in movies. Nothing new. And no matter how many commercials or movies I see that promote Burger King, I'll never eat that nasty food again. Just wait and see, you'll see product placements in textbooks to ease public education, and writers or publishers of all genres, even newspapers, will get extra money to do product placements. Or maybe it's already happening, I dunno. Maybe if I mention Cheerios again I'll get some money. Cheerios!

Posted by: Mike | May 1, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind some product placements in movies. Tony Stark has to drive some brand of automobile and it doesn't much matter to the plot what kind it is so if the filmmakers can extort some free cars or money from on manufacturer, then so be it. But, I do resent it when the product placement is overly obvious. The main character saying the name of the product is a good clue. "Boy this Audi R8 sure has good pickup! It can go 0 to 60 in 5.7 seconds. Just what I need when I'm not in my rocket suit." And, the overly slow pan across the product logo can be a bit jarring. It takes you out of the movie and makes you feel like you're watching a commercial instead.

Posted by: fletc3her | May 1, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Wait... I need to finish off this cool, refreshing Pepsi first (glug)..AAAAHHHHHH.
That's better.

Maybe someday we'll have movies based on product placement

Posted by: Eat More Woppers | May 1, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Maybe someday we'll have movies based on product placement.

Watch more carefully we are already there for many movies. First one that comes to mind is Transformers. The whole movie is an ad for Transformers.

Posted by: Mark | May 1, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Product Placements is one of the reasons why American population is breaking all obesity norms. Any form of Product Placements in the movies should be banned otherwise the obesity trend in the United States would continue indefinitely.

robert knyzewski, Diet Universal

Posted by: robert knyzewski | May 1, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

People are not obese and debt-laden because of product placements. It's because they have no self-control. But I guess that's what marketers are counting on.

Posted by: dcp | May 1, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Face it folks - Product placement and advertising works. I had 5 boyz with me this weekend for a birthday party and while I was trying to distract them before we went into a movie at Air and Space Musuem I asked them all to tell me who their favorite superhero was . . . EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM said IRONMAN! 2 months ago they had never even HEARD of Ironman - a 2nd or 3rd tier superhero at best. One of the boyz even said that he couldn't wait to go get the Ironman "Happy Meal" from Burger King. Ugh!

Posted by: Mom of 2 Boyz | May 1, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

It is more annoying when they attempt to cover up products or fabricate them.

Posted by: hpkid | May 1, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Eat More Woppers: there is one, it's called Talladega Nights

Posted by: asdfxcxv | May 1, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

http://youtube.com/watch?v=v7thSdlRhuM

product placement in Wayne's World

Posted by: VA | May 1, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

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