In 1992, comedy geniuses Dana Carvey and Mike Meyers starred in a Movie called Wayne’s World. This movie is about two mid 20s slackers who run a TV show in their basement who love Rock n’ Roll music, partying, and goofing around. In one specific scene, Wayne’s world openly and comically advertises for Pizza Hut, Pepsi, Reebok, Nuprin, and Doritos all in a span of less than a minute. The way Wayne and Garth (the main characters) advertise for these companies is more different and unique in this film than any other film I have ever seen. During this point in the plot of the movie, Wayne and Garth are explaining that their show that they host will not “bow to any sponsor.” As they are saying this, Wayne and Garth are directly acting out commercial scenes from each of these corporations one after another.
The placement of these products in this movie successfully benefits the movie and the corporations. I do believe however, that it benefits the movie a bit more than the corporations, which I will address later. From the film’s standpoint, it makes the movie funnier. The irony that Wayne and Garth are saying they don’t like product placement or advertising in their TV show while at the same time openly advertising for other products is indeed hilarious. From the corporations’ standpoint, they have the ultimate advertising opportunity to put their product directly in the butt of a hilarious joke in a hit movie. In this scene, the audience’s primary focus is at these products because they are so openly part of the humor.
One argument that the products advertised in this film use is related to pathos. The way these companies portray their products appeal to the audience’s emotions in that while they are viewing these products being shown and advertised, they may be laughing or thinking it is funny. This may be the primary reason why these corporations paid money to be in this specific movie. When the audience sees, thinks, or uses any of these products, they may think back and emotionally relate to the products with this funny scene in this funny movie. In Everythings An Argument, Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz state that “humor can play a role in getting an audience to listen to you” (59). At the same time, however, you could say that this emotional appeal could negatively affect the corporations’ purpose of advertising their products. Since Wayne is stating how distasteful it is to overly advertise products in film while actually overly advertising at the same time, one could relate this ironic humor to how negative film advertising is. Someone who would agree with the main characters that advertising ruins the essence of a film may then think negatively about these corporations after the movie.
One likely reason these corporations chose to advertise in this movie is to appeal to a youthful audience. Since Wayne’s World includes so many youthful elements, it is logical for corporations like Pizza Hut, Pepsi, Doritos and Reebok to advertise in this film. This is an example of how these corporations use logos to advertise their products. Both the film and the corporations have the same target audience, so it is logical to combine the two to create laughter for the film and acquire customers for the corporations. The way that Wayne and Garth are used to advertise these products is very similar to the corporations’ marketing campaign. Pizza Hut, for example, typically advertises in the entertainment industry appealing to a young audience who likes to watch TV. Pizza Hut has advertised frequently in typical American pastimes such as the super bowl and other sporting events. Pizza, chips, and soft drinks are pretty youthful, American, and casual, and even somewhat “lazy” food items. Having two lazy typical American young guys who love watching TV and joking around are the perfect spokesmen for these products. “Brand-name products and logos realistically reflect the landscape of everyday American life” (Smith 2).
An ethos appeal is also utilized in these corporations’ argument for their product use. What all of these products advertised have in common is they are all owned by big corporations with commonly used household names. Reebok, for example, is likely to be one of the first companies that one may think of when relating to sports clothing or sneakers. These big recognizable corporations already have a significant amount of credibility and popularity, and when they are put into a blockbuster classic film, it re-iterates their success and ability to advertise. The way that these powerhouse consumer companies can advertise their products in such an oddball way says something about their marketing technique; it is diverse, unique, and they do a good job of showing their product everywhere that they can, even in a funny movie. Some viewers may find the fact that these corporations can literally advertise anywhere concerning and taken a bit too far. Since this movie is very goofy and a bit too far in some other areas in the plot line anyway, this audience that could react negatively to the advertisements may consist of just a small population… still a bit risky though.
If you look up most famous product placements of all time on the Internet, Wayne’s World is always in the list. The creators of this film truly went outside the confines of regularity to advertise for these corporations and make a great joke at the same time. There are some possible repercussions of this product placement as well. Some consumers who think advertisement is obnoxious and overdone may be more critical of the humor in this scene and may blame the corporations. This being said, this blatant product placement was successful but risky at the same time. Since this is such a popular film, it includes a large viewing audience meaning all different types of people. The product placement in this film was funny, relevant and creative, however the risk involved makes me think it deserves 4 slurpees.
Video Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjB6r-HDDI0