Follow TV Tropes


Destroy the Product Placement

Go To
This is not how you install a drive-thru.

"But when Zod sends [Lois Lane] a message on this Nokia phone, it’s up to Superman to take him on with this U-Haul truck through this 7-Eleven back to the IHOP and inside this Sears."

There are movies, series and other things which incorporate (or they must, 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 will be damage, 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. Whether it's done humorously or in a mean-spirited way, 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. For example, 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, the products will be shown as being Made of Indestructium.

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 a print ad or a TV commercial does this sort of destruction. See also Biting-the-Hand Humor, for when the movie/show pokes fun at the company/network itself. See Prop.

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


    open/close all folders 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Blues Brothers has a car chase/car crash scene in a mall in which the protagonists and their pursuers crash through and destroy several name-brand chain stores, including Toys 'R Us and Pier 1 Imports, several of which are named by the characters as they engage in their destruction.
    Elwood: The new Oldsmobiles are in early this year!
  • In The Batman (2022), Penguin's Maserati Quattroporte gets absolutely mauled when the Batmobile sends it rolling down a highway at high speeds.
  • Cast Away features a FedEx cargo plane crashing in the Pacific Ocean. Notably, the FedEx execs were freaked out at possible damage to the brand name, but the film's success ensured increased brand awareness in Europe and Asia.
  • In The Fate of the Furious, Jeeps are prominently featured in a scene where countless cars are remotely hacked and crashed, making for a questionable demonstration of the vehicles' features.
  • The Fifth Element: The flying car chase scene has a police car crashing into a McDonald's truck, spilling its contents onto the officers.
  • Fight Club has a few instances, fitting the movie's irony and anti-consumerism messages:
    • 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.
  • A deleted scene in Gremlins (1984) would've shown a bunch of Gremlins attacking a McDonald's, eating the customers down to their skeletons, but leaving the hamburgers untouched. Said scene was deleted out of fears that it would be too graphic for an already-graphic film (and because they were worried McDonald's would sue).
  • In Head, Micky Dolenz finds a Coke machine in the desert and uses a tank gun to destroy it.
  • An early scene in Inspector Gadget (1999) has Big Bad Sanford Scolex/Dr. Claw crash his car into a Yahoo! billboard (which includes a Kodak billboard on the other side). A "Yahoo!" jingle even plays during the scene.
  • It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World has the famous scene of a plane flying through a Coca-Cola billboard.
  • Some James Bond movies have this:
  • Jurassic Park:
    • The first film:
      • The film features Ford Explorer XLTs as the park's main vehicles, one of which is destroyed by the Tyrannosaurus rex in its introductory scene.
      • Nedry tries to smuggle various dinosaur embryos with a container disguised as a can of Barbasol shaving cream. When he encounters the Dilophosaurus, the can falls from his jacket pocket, flowing downstream before being buried in mud.
    • The climax of Jurassic World features the main shopping/restaurant area of the park getting swarmed by pterosaurs, including one of the film's most horrifying scenes in Zara's death, before later serving as the site of the Final Battle between the Tyrannosaurus rex and the Indominus rex. Most of the licensed stores there, most notably a Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant (with Jimmy Buffett himself making a cameo appearance), get smashed to pieces.
  • 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 Long Goodbye has the hero being interrupted by a gangster who is accompanied by his goons and his lovely mistress. His 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 Man of Steel, Superman's fight with General Zod and Faora ensues through a 7-Eleven and an IHOP store, and ends up in front of a Sears store, which also becomes partly destroyed. There's also a U-Haul truck being lifted by one of Zod's minions and thrown against an U.S. Army helicopter.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • A flashback in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 includes a prolonged shot of a Dairy Queen. The same Dairy Queen is destroyed in the present when the seedlings Ego planted begin to terraform Earth.
    • Inverted in Ant-Man, where the climactic battle takes place on a toy train set. A model of Thomas & Friends is running along the set, where a tiny Traintop Battle takes place. Several of the generic toy carts being pulled are thrown and vaporized, but Thomas, Annie and Clarabel are suspiciously left intact. The worst that happens is that Thomas runs over Yellowjacket, is then tossed onto a windowsill and is finally enlarged and crashes outside.
    • In Doctor Strange, Strange drives a Lamborghini Huracán Coupé, then wrecks it while driving recklessly in a career-ending accident. The movie also features a Jaeger-LeCoultre wristwatch Strange wears as a keepsake from Christine — it was smashed when he was being beaten up in Nepal.
    • Black Panther has a chase scene that heavily features Lexus and Toyota vehicles - every single one of which is destroyed by the end of the chase.
    • A very quick Freeze-Frame Bonus in Avengers: Infinity War; as Spider-Man chases Ebony Maw through the city, he accidentally crashes into a Rocket Mortgage billboard, making it fall to the ground.
  • 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.
    • In fact, the gag on this film was that the two cars heavily featured in the freeway chase, the Cadillac CTS and Cadillac Escalade EXT, were the real stars of the film. The movie was credited to the success of the CTS itself, one of Cadillac's marquee cars. Ten different CTS vehicles were used, each one representing stages of damage throughout the chase sequence.
  • Maximum Overdrive: A semi-trailer prominently labelled with a Miller beer logo is blown up with a rocket in a wide shot giving you a full view of the ad before it explodes.
  • Men in Black: International has a car being thrown by aliens in the streets of London, hitting a William Hill off-track betting shop.
  • During the filming of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, 12 BMW cars and 25 motorcycles were destroyed.
  • In the Jackie Chan movie Mr. Nice Guy, a Pepsi truck avoids getting in a mass car accident, but at the cost of hundreds of Pepsi cans, which get destroyed on the road.
  • Power Rangers (2017) features a Krispy Kreme as the location of the Zeo Crystal. Though Rita is shown enjoying a doughnut, the place itself is completely obliterated by Goldar and reduced to a crater.
  • Among the buildings that gets smashed up in Rampage is a Dave & Buster's, which at the time was promoting an arcade game based on the movie (itself based on the old-school arcade game series).
  • Happens in-universe in RoboCop (1987), where the 6000 SUX, driven by the villain, gets wrecked in one scene. It's a Brand X of the Ford Taurus' competitor, the Pontiac 6000.
  • The car chase in The Rock sees Mason ram his Hummer through the back of a delivery truck sporting the logo of the now defunct Yosemite Waters, in a stunt reminiscent of the one from Goldeneye above. Goodspeed's "borrowed" Ferrari ends up destroyed in the same chase.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), Tom's Toyota Tacoma gets harpooned by Dr. Robotnik, right into the dashboard, and the top is sawed off by drone lasers. Somehow, the truck still drives in spite of the abuse.
  • The entirety of Speed 2: Cruise Control is this. The plot is Die Hard On a Cruise Ship, the ship in question being the Seabourn Legend, which is a real ship (now the Star Legend). Before the movie came out, Seabourn Cruise Line was asked what they were thinking, allowing a movie about a cruise ship being hijacked to take place on their company's ship. Their representatives just said it was free publicity. They were right.
  • 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 the Transformers Film Series, it's zigzagged with the licensed vehicle modes never getting destroyed (with the exception of Sideways in the second movie), with the destruction/killing occurring 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 passerbys in Transformers (2007).
  • The black Ducati Scrambler 1100 was featured prominently in Venom, and Ducati used the film in marketing materials for the Scrambler in return. They conveniently leave out the part where the bike gets rammed by an SUV, concluding the epic chase scene in the middle of the film. The end of the film shows Eddie riding a white motorcycle, though.
  • The Watch (2012) has the neighborhood's local Costco as a major plot point, as the base of the aliens is right beneath it, and thus needs to be assaulted. Obviously, the movie ends with the place being blown up sky-high by the heroes, with close-ups of various products (on fire) flying through the air.
  • 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.
    • They actually had a replica made for the destruction, but when it looked wrong they wrecked the real one too to get the desired results.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A subversion in Heroes has a Nissan Versa remaining untouched during a gunfight.
  • In the Supernatural episode "What Is And What Should Never Be", Dean throws Sam's Verizon Motorola Q8 out of the window of the Impala.
  • Another subversion happens in The Walking Dead with a lime-green Hyundai Tuscon getting through a Zombie Apocalypse unscathed.
  • A variation: season two of The Boys (2019) features prominent product placement for the citrus soft drink Fresca... as the drink of choice for the Church of the Collective, a Scientology parody that recruits The Deep following his public disgrace in the first season as part of what he hopes will be his redemption arc that'll get him back into the Seven, engages in shallow "charity" that puts evangelism before actually helping people, gathers blackmail on its superhero members to give back to their employers at Vought International, and (like Vought) has ties to the original Nazis. Any mention of Fresca made on the show carries sinister connotations, such as when The Deep asks A-Train if he wants a Fresca, indicating that he's trying to recruit A-Train into the cult. When Alastair Adana, the head of the Church of the Collective, gets his head exploded at the end of the season, we see the can of Fresca he just opened sitting on the ground, its contents spilling into the pool of blood at his feet.

  • In the unreleased (but since leaked) original music video for Britney Spears' hit song "Make Me...," Spears throws a TV with an Orangetheory Fitness commercial playing on it from a second story window into a pool, destroying the TV.

    Video Games 

    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.

Reporter: There are 270 people dead, 400 people injured, seven Burger Kings® damaged, 30 BMWs® broken, and five Apple® stores destroyed with no iPads or Macs intact.


Video Example(s):


Bye Bye KSI

KSI joined Logan Paul at Wrestlemania and dressed in a costume to advertise their sports drink, Prime. KSI and Paul wanted to create a viral moment of Paul doing a frog splash on Seth Rollins while KSI bragged in the foreground, but Rollins reverse the plan on them.

dressed up in an ad costume for Prime, joined his

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / DestroyTheProductPlacement

Media sources: