Product Placement, BMW Z8

What does it take for a car maker to have their cars featured in a movie?

Do movie producers contact different car makers to see who is willing to make the best offer so their cars appear (or get wrecked) in their movie? or is it the other way around? or is it something left to the discretion of the director/script writer and it’s not really capitalized on?

What does it take (and how much) for a car maker to have their cars featured in a movie? Some quotes from

William Thomsen, Video Producer

The whole product placement process varies from film to film. Generally, once a studio has green lighted a script the studio begins to look for opportunities for product placement. The car company won’t have access to films in development so they have to be contacted by studio. If a car company is interested, they negotiate several factors that determine price.

Factors can include: plot integration, vehicle exclusivity, time on screen, etc.

If the car is only being used in a minor way, such as a background car, often the car company will provide the car for free but not exchange any money. Something like Mini Cooper in The Italian Job may cost the firm millions of dollars.

Another possibility with product placement is for the car company to spend a bunch of money on dual promotion. For instance, Audi partnered with Iron Man and then spent millions on advertisements that featured Iron Man with an Audi.

As for the director, it really depends on their “star power.” Spielberg will have more pull than an unheard of director. Additionally, some actors will have a competing contract that will prohibit them from advertising a specific brand. Daniel Craig probably could not advertise Miller since he recently had that big contract with Heineken in Skyfall.

A lot of directors will choose not to use product placement since it may clutter the screen. It can also make a film appear as an advertisement instead of an art. Some directors will want product placement because it can make the film seem more realistic. Spielberg intentionally used product placement in Minority Report since he wanted the viewer to know the film took place in a futuristic Earth not an alternate one.

Karl Dahlquist, Over 20 years experience in the product placement industry

Depends on the project. Some tent pole properties will select the highest bidder to place automobiles in their film. And it can be the producer, or the studio marketing departments that make the deal.


By the way, do you know what Ford Mustang used in movie ‘Bullitt’ has no emblems and even the GT badges to do not advertise it?

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