Created By: Quag15January 23, 2014 Last Edited By: Quag15February 4, 2014
Troped

Destroy The Product Placement

When Product Placement is damaged, broken, or destroyed.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
There are movies, series and other things which incorporate (or they have to, even if the story doesn't warrant it) some Product Placement either obviously or subliminally. So, it looks like you'll have to watch it standing there, even if it's annoying the hell out of you. Right?

WROOOONG!!!! Do you have a McDonald's® standing in the middle of a fight between the hero and the villain? Why not destroy part of it in order to use the frying oil against the villain? Do you have a Pepsi® truck in the middle of a car chase scene? Why not have a bunch of cars crash into it in order to make it explode? Or why don't you just have the characters destroy an entire mall while they fight each other with all sorts of punches, kicks and gratuitous use of Apple® products against each other's faces?

Usually, this is done for two purposes:
  • Sake of the plot. For example, in an action movie it's generally assumed that there are gonna be damages, and you need to use what's closest to you (especially if you fight in a supermarket or a mall);
  • As a form of Take That or Stealth Parody against the companies which got involved in the first place. It's done either humorously or in a mean-spirited way. Nonetheless, it's good for our products.

It's also done in order to bring the product placement to the forefront of the action rather than relying on the subliminal, i.e. instead of having a Coca-Cola® can on a table and hoping the viewer's mind picks up on it, the characters pick it up and use it to hit others so the viewers will see it a bit more obviously.

Sometimes the products will remain intact when advertisers don't want to see their expensive product shown being damaged, broken or destroyed in any way whatsoever for fear that people won't be interested in it. In that case, said products will be shown as being Tonka Tough (see also the subverted examples).

Compare/contrast Product Displacement, in which there's no destruction, but you certainly won't see the product itself. See also Our Product Sucks, in case an ad or a commercial does this sort of destruction. See also Biting The Hand Humor, for when the movie/show pokes fun at the company/network itself.

If you can't use the actual product, just use a Shoddy Knockoff Product. It's just as effective (BOOOOOM!) *winks!


Live-Action Film
  • One of the biggest iconic examples might be Superman II, where Superman is thrown by Zod into a Marlboro cigarettes truck, then Zod is thrown by Superman towards a Coca-Cola sign, and finally, they wrestle under a Cutty Sark sign. It caused the initiation of congressional hearings into product placement in movies.
  • In Man Of Steel, Superman's fight with General Zod and Feora ensues through a 7-Eleven, an IHOP store and end up in front of a Sears store which also becomes partially destroyed. There's also a U-Haul truck being lifted by one of Zod's minions and thrown against an U.S. Army helicopter.
  • In Transformers, it's zigzagged with the licensed vehicle modes never getting destroyed (with the exception of Sideways in the second movie), with the destruction/killing ocurring only when they're in robot mode, and inverted, with the Allspark animating a Mountain Dew vending machine and an Xbox, both of which start attacking passersby.
  • Some James Bond movies have this:
    • In Moonraker, during the fight in the ambulance, James Bond and an enemy henchman fall out of the back on a gurney and roll down a hill. Bond falls off, the henchman continues down and eventually hits and is stuck in a billboard for British Airways, causing some damage. Watch it here.
      • A cable car station is clearly adorned with a huge banner for 7-Up. After Jaws fails to kill 007, his car not only does ram through the station, but it also clearly damages the 7-Up signs in front, as seen here.
    • In Skyfall, Bond crashes a Volkswagen Beetle in the opening sequence.
  • Fight Club has a few instances:
    • The Narrator's apartment is blown up in order to show him he doesn't need objects to survive. The furniture in said apartment came from IKEA (though in the movie the company where said furniture came from was called "Fürni").
    • Project Mayhem members smash in a Volkswagen Beetle and break into a Mac store.
    • Project Mayhem members break a large spherical sculpture and send it rolling into a Starbucks shop.
  • The Long Goodbye has the hero being interrupted by a gangster who is accompanied by his goons and his lovely mistress. Said mistress interrupts the gangster's rant, by informing him that she’s thirsty and would like a Coke. One of his goons fetches an open bottle from the refrigerator. The gangster swigs from it, complains that it’s flat, and then swings it into the mistress’ face, causing it to break and leaving her in pain.
  • In Robo Cop 1987, the 6000 SUX, driven by the villain, gets wrecked in one scene. It's a Brand X of the Taurus' competitor, the Pontiac 6000.
  • In The Matrix Reloaded, there are noteworthy colisions of trucks and cars provided by General Motors. At least the trucks had other names on them.
  • The car chase scene in Lethal Weapon 4 between the ’98 Pontiac Grand Am and a Mercedes Benz 420 SEL (with the former being driven by Danny Glover's character and the latter by a criminal) ends with the Pontiac being partially damaged by crashing through an office and suffering some damage by a truck. That same truck ends up ramming the Mercedes Benz.
  • The Wolf Of Wall Street has Jordan Belfort heavily damaging a genuine Lamborghini Countach (25th Anniversary Edition). That's what happens when you take too many quaaludes and think you can drive home safely and with the car intact.

Live-Action TV
  • A subverted example in Heroes has a Nissan Versa remaining untouched during a gunfight.
  • Another subverted example happens in The Walking Dead with a lime green Hyundai Tuscon getting through a zombie apocalypse unscathed.

Western Animation
  • An entirely fictional example happens in Megas XLR. In almost every episode, something owned by Pop TV gets destroyed. Billboards, buildings, satelites, etc. It's all one large Take That over the poor treatment MTV gave the creators during their previous show.

Journalist: There are 270 people dead, 400 people injured, 7 Burger Kings® damaged, 30 BMW's® broken, and 5 Apple® stores destroyed with no iPads or Macs intact.
Apple® Fanboy: OH GOD, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Community Feedback Replies: 26
  • January 23, 2014
    Quag15
    What do you think of the partial self-demonstrating description?
  • January 23, 2014
    StarSword
    Film:
    • Transformers: Besides the obvious heavy use of GM vehicles (90% of which get trashed), the Allspark animates a Mountain Dew vending machine and an Xbox, both of which start attacking passersby.
  • January 23, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ Okay enough.
  • January 23, 2014
    IndirectActiveTransport
    In the Superman 2 movie he is tossed through a cigarette truck (or was it three, or four? I think it was two because I have not seen the other two)
  • January 23, 2014
    Quag15
    ^^ Can you suggest how to improve the description?
  • January 24, 2014
    Arivne
    Film
    • Moonraker. During the fight in the ambulance James Bond and an enemy henchman fall out of the back on a gurney and roll down a hill. Bond falls off, the henchman continues down and eventually hits and is stuck in a billboard for British Airways. Watch it here.
  • January 24, 2014
    StarSword
    Compare Biting The Hand Humor, when the show pokes fun at its network instead.
  • January 25, 2014
    Quag15
    Bump.
  • January 26, 2014
    lakingsif
    Isn't it also done in order to bring the product placement to the forefront of the action rather than relying on the subliminal, i.e. instead of having a Cola can on a table and hoping the viewer's mind picks up on it, the characters pick it up and use it to hit the others so it's seen a bit more obviously.

    Also done In Universe, I can't remember the specific example, but it was pretty funny.
  • January 26, 2014
    Quag15
    ^ I mentioned the example of The Long Goodbye and I implied what you said in the description of the first purpose. I can add what you said to the description as a third purpose, though.
  • January 26, 2014
    DRCEQ
    An entirely fictional example happens in Megas XLR. In almost every episode, something owned by Pop TV gets destroyed. Billboards, buildings, satelites, etc. It's all one large Take That over the poor treatment MTV gave the creators during their previous show.
  • January 27, 2014
    MorganWick
    ^Poor treatment in the Screwed By The Network sense, the Executive Meddling sense, both, or something else?
  • January 28, 2014
    arbiter099
    Another one for Moonraker

    A cable car station is clearly adorned with a huge banner for 7Up. After Jaws fails to kill 007, his car crashes into that station.
  • January 29, 2014
    Arivne
    ^ Not only does the cable car ram through the station, it clearly damages the 7-Up signs in front, as seen here.

    Good catch.
  • February 2, 2014
    Quag15
    Bump.
  • February 2, 2014
    DRCEQ
    @MorganWick

    I'm not sure exactly. It doesn't say anything beyond that Down Town lasted only for one season. I would assume Screwed By The Network, but I do remember that neither of the creators looked favorably upon the network after they left.
  • February 2, 2014
    Quag15
    @DRCEQ: I hope I'm not being rude, but I would like you to ask me next time if you want to edit your example. I can do that, in fact. Good example, btw.

    Does anyone have Anime or Live-Action TV examples?
  • February 2, 2014
    DRCEQ
    It's not that big a deal. You can even see what edits have been made. Not like I have any reason to edit it further though, so carry on.
  • February 2, 2014
    Quag15
    I know. It's just that I get a bit over-protecive sometimes. Sorry.
  • February 4, 2014
    Quag15
    Bump. Does anyone knows any Anime & Manga or Live-Action TV examples?
  • February 4, 2014
    Larkmarn
    Question: Do we have a trope for the opposite, where the Product Placement is shown to be pretty much invincible?

    Examples that come to mind are The Walking Dead (the car that gets through a zombie apocalypse unscathed!), Heroes (the Nissan Versa was untouched during a large gunfight), and the Transformers films (to a point... the vehicle modes are always pristine, even if the robot modes are smashed up).
  • February 4, 2014
    Quag15
    We don't, though we could include the examples you gave as a form of subversion (they also fit in the category of Tonka Tough). What's the car in The Walking Dead?
  • February 4, 2014
    Larkmarn
    A lime green Hyundai Tuscon. Thing is unscathed in a zombie apocalypse.

    I think it might be a viable sister-trope to this, as advertisers don't want to see their expensive product shown damaged for fear people won't be interested in it.

    Either way, the Transformers entry should be amended because it's not entirely played straight... licensed vehicle modes are almost NEVER shown getting damaged (the only exception was Sideways in the second film). It's only in robot mode that they're killed.
  • February 4, 2014
    Quag15
    Ok, I'll do some changes to the description and add your examples since they're notable subversions later. Thanks!
  • February 4, 2014
    DAN004
    Launch?
  • February 4, 2014
    Quag15
    I'll do that in a few minutes. Thank you all.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable