Coors Can To Show Up In PG-Rated Movie

Even though Coors Brewing Company didn’t pay Walt Disney Pictures to place a beer can in the PG-rated movie Tron: Legacy, the can still ended up in there somehow. Whether or not Coors masterminded the appearance, one could argue that Coors is marketing its beer to underage viewers.

A BrandChannel post disagrees with a New York Times Media Decoder blog post that says the Tron: Legacy Coors appearance does not constitute product placement because no money changed hands. BrandChannel contends that the wink-and-nod, unpaid variety of advertising in movies is common practice:

As with fashion stylists and celebrities, brands have relationships with prop masters or Hollywood agencies that specialize in providing products to production designers for use in film. In many cases these products are “pre-cleared” for use, and that is the how they receive placement. Apple computers is a master of this non-paid product placement. So while paid product placement is becoming more common, unpaid placement is — contrary to popular, and the New York Times’, opinion — still the norm.

The beer presence in Tron: Legacy looks especially damning due to the history of Coors, which faced protests and a lawsuit after it placed products in the 2003 film Scary Movie 3. You remember the twins, right?

Here’s the trailer in which the beer can appears:

Legacy Issues: Coors’ Tron Product Placement Revisits Controversy [BrandChannel]
Coors Cameo in a Futurist Film [The New York Times]
(Thanks, Abram!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    This movie is going to be so bad. I want so very badly for it to be GOOD, but it will be SOOOO BAD.

    • ThinkerTDM says:

      Do you mean “bad” as in good? Or “bad” as in bad?

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        Bad as in Bad. Bad as in they should’ve made this instead of making the shitty video game in 2002. Bad as in the whole premise behind the first movie (Fear of the complexity and danger of technology) no longer applies because technology has permeated everything in our lives and can no longer be avoided.

        Also, how the main antagonist in this movie died within the first 5 minutes of the first movie.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      It has THE DUDE in it. Stop your blasphemy. It will be good.

  2. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Oh Lawdy, Alchy-hol in mah Pee-Gee Movie-picshurs? Save me, big gubmint!

    – – – –

    In all seriousness though, who cares?

  3. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    So, because a movie is rated PG, it can’t have the consumption of alcohol in it?

    Bollocks to the silly American Puritanism regarding alcohol and tobacco. I’m neither a big drinker nor a regular smoker, but I can say with some certainty that trying to protect our little ones from the horrible affects of seeing adults consuming alcohol is not going to do a damn thing to make them any less likely to binge drink once they get to college.

    Granted, with a legal age of 21 for drinking and a bizarre attitude toward alcohol, the US does its damnedest to create an environment that sets young people up for the kind of behavior that promotes alcoholism rather than mature, responsible attitudes toward drinking.

    But yeah, let’s all get our underwear in a bunch because a little can of beer in the background of a movie that might have kids watching! The horror!

    • Bsamm09 says:

      Agreed. It’s the forbidden fruit appeal. Maybe that’s why the beer companies give all the money to campaigns to prevent underage drinking.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        My European co-workers are always floored by how weird Americans are about alcohol.

        “What do you mean you can’t drink until you’re 21? HUH?!”

        • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

          People in Manitoba laugh themselves into a coma every weekend because hundreds of teens go across the border to get themselves completely shitfaced because drinking age in the US is 21, and 18 in Manitoba. :P

    • UnicornMaster says:

      Definitely the lack of alcohol education leads to abuse and more problems with drinking. (Been to college lately?) Removing its status as a “forbidden fruit” will likely temper the abuse and lead to more moderate consumption.

    • Grogey says:

      I had the idea of bringing in a Beer Connoisseur to my college to show kids that beer drinking can have an art to it but yeah this idea of alcohol being an evil drink really annoys the piss out of me.

      Needless to say my idea got shot down even though we were(still are) an open campus. Of course you had to be 21.

    • Unclaoshi says:

      Lol I so agree. People shouldnt get worked up over this. If they cant show it in a PG movie they shouldnt show it in a rated R movie because 18-20 year olds can go to them but are still under the legal drinking age so I wouldnt want to expose them to it :)

    • Shadowfax says:

      This might be the dumbest article I’ve ever seen him post. They’ve had beer and booze in PG movies for decades. Literally. Anyone remember Kirk downing a glass of Michelob at the pizza restaurant in Star Trek 4? ET getting wasted on beer? The cantina in the first Star Wars?

      This is Tron, not Sesame Street. It’s not marketed at little kids, it’s not selling beer to little kids, and neither is Coors.

      Absolutely nothing whatsoever of value to see here.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        But what of your Consumerist RAAAAGE? The companies are out to get you!

        THE MAN…and… alcohol… and… THINK OF THE CHILDRENS!

  4. misterfweem says:

    Meh. It’s not like it’s the first time . . .

  5. Grebdioz says:

    Rating a film PG indicates that the MPAA believes the film may be unsuitable for children under ten, which conversely implies they believe it to be appropriate for people over the age of ten. If you are an eleven year-old and have never seen a can of beer on television, at sporting events, or in the hands of your uncle, then maybe you shouldn’t see this movie. Everyone else is good.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Poor Amish kids. They don’t know what they’re missing.

    • Billy says:


      From “A PG-rated motion picture should be investigated by parents before they let their younger children attend. The PG rating indicates, in the view of the Rating Board, that parents may consider some material unsuitable for their children, and parents should make that decision. The more mature themes in some PG-rated motion pictures may call for parental guidance. There may be some profanity and some depictions of violence or brief nudity. But these elements are not deemed so intense as to require that parents be strongly cautioned beyond the suggestion of parental guidance. There is no drug use content in a PG-rated motion picture.”

      • Grebdioz says:

        Admittedly, the research in my original comment was done through a quick Wikipedia search. Though no age is explicitly given, we would have to assume that the cutoff between a G film and a PG film would have to be somewhere in that area:

        Let’s say that a child is unlikely to be affected or even remember a film they see until the age of 3. So from the age of 3 until the age of 13, there is some point at which a child becomes old enough to watch PG-rated movies on their own. I think ten is good, though obviously I realize that all of these ratings systems are subjective, and don’t really affect the core of my original argument.

        • Billy says:

          True, but, a lot of people make lots of assumptions about the MPAA. So many people assume that if there’s a “fuck” it’s this rating or if there’s two, it’s a different rating, etc. In fact, it’s well-documented that the ratings are truly arbitrary and there are actually very few hard and fast rules about what movie gets what rating. It’s probably by design, actually.

          (BTW, that stuff about being 10 isn’t even on wikipedia).

    • kc2idf says:

      This is exactly what I was thinking (aside from the broad, but probably realistic, interpretation of PG). I know that all of my Nieces and Nephews have seen beer in the hands of someone they look up to, be it their fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, older cousins, grandmother . . . somebody in the family. Having it be on the screen is harmless.

  6. no says:

    Had I not been told it was a Coors can, I would not have known.

    • Audiyoda28 says:

      Agreed. In no part of that scene is the name on the label plainly visible.

      • thor79 says:

        You can read the name off the can when he goes to drink it, but you have to look for it. It’s not a blatantly obvious product placement like some movies and tv shows do. And like no said…you have to be looking for it. I’ve seen that clip before and I never noticed it before.

        and OMG and adult is having an adult beverage?! If anything this makes Disney look good…not tiptoeing around making sure not to show kids stuff they can’t have yet. The main audience for this movie are the fans…who were a hell of a lot younger the first time around (me, I was 3). Fans have grown up, and fortunately it looks like the movie has too. That’s a good thing IMO.

        It’s a complete non-issue.

  7. tidomonkey says:

    “Whether or not Coors masterminded the appearance, one could argue that Coors is marketing its beer to underage viewers.”

    How exactly is Coors marketing to children if they had nothing to do with it? They can’t be responsible for someone taking their product without permission and putting it in a movie.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Disney should have put a can in the background that said “BEER” on it instead of using a real brand.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      How do you know they had nothing to do with it? Someone just needs to play golf with someone else and boom, a deal is struck. Just because technically no money changed hands doesn’t mean there wasn’t an agreement.

      • tidomonkey says:

        Maybe you should read the quote. I they didn’t “mastermind the appearance,” they didn’t cause it to happen whether by paying for it or not. I’m not claiming to know if they caused the appearance.

        I’m just saying, if Coors had nothing to do with it being there, it is not their fault. If they asked for it to be there, which the article is unclear on, it is a different story.

        • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

          “they didn’t cause it to happen whether by paying for it or not. I’m not claiming to know if they caused the appearance.”

          So you’re saying they didn’t cause it to happen, but then you don’t know if they caused it to happen?

          Please explain.

          • tidomonkey says:

            From the OP: “Whether or not Coors masterminded the appearance, one could argue that Coors is marketing its beer to underage viewers.”

            I think the key word is….not.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        It sounds like someone just used the can because it was the right color to keep up with the Hollyweird trend of cyan and orange for everything.

  8. ConsumerDollars says:

    I saw this trailer in the theater at Tron Night and I didn’t notice it then, I almost missed it when I was looking for it. Big deal! My 4 year old will still see it with me. TV has way more product placement than I see in movies anyways. He’s really psyched for this movie too!

  9. Tim says:

    When will people realize that PG, and all the ratings, mean absolutely nothing?

    Ratings are decided by a mostly anonymous group of old people, who are supposed to represent American parents. They have some loose standards for the ratings, but they are under no obligation to stick to those standards, and could give completely arbitrary ratings if they want.

    Meanwhile, cinemas, stores, rental places, etc., are under no legal obligation to follow the ratings. They just do because of pressure from parents’ groups and the rest of the industry, who would publicly shame them if they didn’t follow the ratings. Plus, since so few independent theaters remain, each company has a lot of clout.

    • OnePumpChump says:

      What I love is parents coming into the library threatening to call the police because we checked out a PG-13 rated movie to their 11 year old kid. That’s the best.

  10. Andyb2260 says:

    Oh please. Look at all of the PG movies from the 70s and 80s that had smoking, drinking and even some(brief) nudity. The idea that “we have to protect all the children from anything that bears the slightest resemblance to real life” is so ridiculous.

    Psst. Hey kid. Lemme tell you a secret…women have nipples…shhh don’t tell anyone.

  11. mospeada says:

    As opposed to all the Coors commercials during an NFL broadcast? This is nothing, besides the core audience for Tron is over 40.

    • xspook says:

      Right. I remember a Superbowl ad on Fox a couple of years ago where it showed Ally McBeal straddeling a guys face and simulating receiving oral sex.

  12. bendee says:

    You can barely tell it’s a Coors can – it’s seen for half a second. A twelve year old probably won’t even know what it is.

  13. BannedInBrittan says:

    Thanks for the substantive reporting Phil. I’ll go file this in my ‘who cares?’ file now.

  14. smartmuffin says:

    As long as nobody in the movie is seen smoking. That’s an instant R-rating!

  15. katarzyna says:

    Oh noes!

  16. chucklebuck says:

    PG stands for “Parental Guidance” suggested, so if a parent is bothered by the beer showing up in the movie, bust out that parental guidance!

  17. hotdogsunrise says:

    I’ve never understood who even drinks Coors. Yes, Coors Light is fairly popular (I dunno why….yuck), and for a while I wasn’t even sure if they were still making regular Coors.

  18. ThomFabian says:

    I’m more concerned with Ducati thinking its okay to market their motorcycles to children… as if a ten your old should be driving a motorcycle. What in the world are they thinking?


  19. Macgyver says:

    So what. It’s a grown man drinking a beer. Who cares.
    That doesn’t mean that there’re marketing it to kids.

    • Michaela says:

      I am still trying to figure out why Phil decided this movie is directed towards children anyway. Tron: Legacy may have a PG rating, but that doesn’t mean those counting the hours till opening day are 7-year-olds. Like Spiderman and Iron Man, the movie will attract kids (because there is action and crap), but that doesn’t really make it a kids’ film.

  20. narcs says:

    who cares. why is this news? there is the occasional person smoking in pg movies so what does it matter that there is a beer can in it. PG rating is because there is no coarse language, nudity or violence (with blood). The content of the movie falls within acceptable tolerance to be deemed PG. A beer can is nothing, next they’ll start whining about brand logos on t-shirts in pg movies.

  21. lymer says:

    Anyone remember Pinocchio when they go to the island that turns them all to donkeys? All the KIDS are smoking and drinking and doing generally bad things.

    That would never happen in this day and age.

    • AK47 - Now with longer screen name! says:

      Don’t forget that Dumbo got hammered enough to see dancing pink elephants. And he was just a baby!!

  22. Ceric Neesh says:

    I believe that Coors was selected not because of any sort of placement (Paid or unpaid) but because the can happened to fit the color scheme that was being aimed for. I think it was mentioned in an interview in Discover magazine, but I’m not sure.

    And either way, it felt much more like the type of shot that you see in The Office (where they use a certain company’s products because, well, that’s what you see in an office, as opposed to that’s who paid them the most money)

  23. guymandude says:

    How the fuck do I get off this planet?

  24. sufreak says:

    Long as they are not advocating that a minor drink alcohol, then I don’t see the problem. Beer is not a horrible thing to “see”. Children can know beer exists.

    There is a big difference between advertising beer to children, and the existence of beer among adults.

  25. ForrestWhitakersLazyEye says:

    Uuhhhhh, what product placement? If this post hadn’t alerted me, I would’ve assumed it’s a soda. This is so dumb.

  26. ClaudeKabobbing says:

    I wanna see a singing and dancing beer can, without being drunk.

  27. fujii13 says:

    Just because a movie is PG, and is not filled with sex and violence does not mean it’s a movie targeted to kids. It’s Tron for god’s sake. No kid today is a fan of Tron. This movie is clearly aimed at nerds like me who have been fans for ages.

  28. ericfate says:

    We must protect the 13 and under crowd. Without the shameless pandering of this movie, those innocent youth might never witness the fact that adults sometimes purchase and consume cheap beer instead of water or communion wine.

    Slow news day? Oh, never mind, I see Phil has the by-line.

  29. bender123 says:

    ET got trashed on Coors and took Elliot with him…If having a drunk kid/alien combo doesn’t get you an R then just having a can in frame certainly shouldn’t.

    I think we look for too many things to get worked up about.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Oh man, I totally forgot what an immoral, devil movie ET was.

      Underaged drinking by alien proxy? SCUM!

  30. CaptCynic says:

    This is unbelievable! They’re still putting ratings on movies? How did this happen?

  31. PsiCop says:

    Beer is a part of life. Kids will see beer cans/bottles from time to time. The idea that they can effectively be shielded from it is ludicrous.

    The whole product placement scheme is annoying. Normally people pay to see movies. There is no reason they should be forced to watch ads when they’ve done so. Yeah, I get that it’s an established practice, it makes studios money, and it will not go away, but advertising has gotten too deeply into our lives as it is. I shudder to think what life will be like in another 50 years if ad saturation continues.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      I don’t even think this was a product placement though. The can just fit the color scheme of cyan and orange that every movie today follows.

      Agree on everything else, though.

    • ThomFabian says:

      My test for product placement is whether it seems natural or not. It is entirely annoying to me to feel like the reality presented on the screen doesn’t mimic the reality it is supposed to portray. In other words if its an office and nothing in the office has any logos of any companies, ot obvious logos presented in lingering shots, neither are realistic and then product placement (or the lack thereof) detracts from the viewing.

      But in this clip, I would’ve never even notice what beer he was drinking. It simply looked like a guy on the couch drinking a beer, which is, in this case, the reality it was trying to portray.

      I’d argue the ducati sitting behind his couch with logo over his left shoulder was much more detracting, but in itself it was probably just part of the world they were trying to portray (this guy on the couch has a fast bike).

      Just my take.

  32. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    MPAA is meaningless and should be destroyed.

  33. allstar3970 says:

    How many of the people offended by this have gotten drunk in front of their kids? Probably 99.9%?

  34. drblair says:

    Who gives a shit??

  35. DanGarion says:

    OMG people drink beer! I didn’t even consider Tron a kids movie, why does this matter, and why do people care?

  36. AnthonyC says:

    “Whether or not Coors masterminded the appearance, one could argue that Coors is marketing its beer to underage viewers.”
    IANAL, but I’m fairly sure that if if Coors isn’t behind it, you can’t actually argue that they’re marketing to anyone.

  37. J. Todd Leffar says:

    According to the director, Joseph Kosinski, the Coors can is there because he liked the color and thought it would look good on screen: