E.T. was a blockbuster hit when it debuted in 1987, which coincidentally was right after the release of Reese’s Pieces, a new bite sized candy. This coincidence proved to be very beneficial for the Reese’s company, as they were able to snag the product placement spot in the film that Mars, Inc had just turned down for M&M’s.
In the film, a little boy spreads Reese’s Pieces throughout the woods, dumping them from their highly recognizable bag, in order to attract a lost alien. The Alien, E.T., follows the trail of Reese’s and brings a pile of the delicious candy back to the boy that night while he is sleeping in bed. The boy, Elliott, wakes up to this and gives E.T. more of the candy in order to get him to stay in his room. The movie is clearly sponsoring Reese’s Pieces during this scene in the movie, and while they do not mention the name of the candy they do show the bag and the candies themselves multiple times. This lets the viewer know exactly what Elliott and E.T. are eating.
The product placement worked so effectively in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, that Reese’s Pieces sales jumped 65% after the debut of the movie (www.cracked.com). The placement of this candy in this movie is one of the most memorable scenes involving candy on film. The cute boy with the cute alien has made this scene iconic to all kids since the early 1980’s who have seen this film.