Sometimes You Don’t Want Your Brand In A Popular Movie

In Idiocracy, Starbucks offers "exotic coffee for men."

In Idiocracy, Starbucks offers “exotic coffee for men.”

Companies fork over untold piles of cash to have their products featured on a TV show or in a movie — even going so far as to digitally insert ads in the far background of a sitcom rerun, but there are some cases where brands would probably rather not be identified with what viewers are watching.

The folks at came up with a round-up of 20 such instances where big brands would probably have done best to distance themselves from a film in which they were featured. Since we know you’re all busy people and don’t have time for all 20, here are some of the ones that stood out to us:

Denzel Washington drinking Budweiser in “Flight” — While most companies featured in this list simply ignored, at least publicly, the unpleasant inclusion of their brand, the folks at Anheuser-Busch were vocal about their displeasure of seeing Denzel Washington drinking their signature beer while driving. A-B scolded the filmmakers for not seeking permission, while also saying it would never have let Budweiser be shown in that way (not that it has much of a say-so in such matters).

Edward Norton’s IKEA nesting instinct in “Fight Club” — Early on in the David Fincher-directed flick, Edward Norton’s sad-sack character sits on a toilet and orders from the “FURNI” catalog, while labels, complete with Scandavanian-ish names, begin to pop up over all the clean-lined, fiber-board furniture around his apartment. And though the catalog doesn’t say “IKEA,” the actual voice-over states, “Like so many others, I had become a slave to the Ikea nesting instinct.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Carl’s Jr., Starbucks, Costco (and really every other brand) in “Idiocracy” — There’s a reason this comedy from Mike Judge was barely a blip on the radar when it first premiered, and it’s not because the movie isn’t funny. While Judge’s vision of a future where everything is branded and sponsored does include a number of made-up names — I could really go for a Brawndo right now — he chose to follow a number of current huge brands to their most insane ends. In the future of Idiocracy, Costco’s are the size of cities, Starbucks’ menu has been expanded to include handj… the manual manipulation of genitalia for the customer’s pleasure, and Carl’s Jr. sponsors public addresses by the Secretary of State.

The Goodyear Blimp as floating bomb in “Black Sunday” — It’s hard to believe that Goodyear actually signed off on the use of not just its brand, but also the physical use of three of its blimps for this 1977 movie about a terrorist who hopes to explode a dart-filled Goodyear Blimp over the Orange Bowl on Super Bowl Sunday. Goodyear did not, however, allow for its logos to be featured in any of the ads for the film.

You can read the hole list at

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