Apple tops product placement league in box-office hits

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Apple managed more product placement in top movies last year than any other company, according to branding consultancy Interbrand.

Its products appeared in ten of the 33 films that hit the number one spot at the US box office last year.

Nike, Chevrolet and Ford tied for second place, each appearing in 24 percent of the top films. Sony, Dell, Land Rover, and Glock appeared in at least 15 percent.

Apple-branded products appeared in more than a third of all number one films between 2001 and 2010 - second only to Ford, and well ahead of Coca-Cola. Its stuff appeared in more top films in the last decade than McDonald's and Nike combined.

"Pretty impressive, considering that fewer than 15 percent of American computer-owning households have an Apple," says the company's Abe Sauer, adding: "That figure, by the way, is up from nine percent in 2008 — an indication that Apple product placement may be paying off."

And its kit appeared in plenty of other movies too. In 2009 and 2010, Apple products had a role in - take a deep breath - Morning Glory, Somewhere, Repo Men, Hereafter, Machete, Greenberg, Catfish, Dinner for Schmucks, Lottery Ticket, Solitary Man, Going the Distance, Chatroom, Hot Tub Time Machine, Please Give, She's Out of My League, Chloe, Killers, Book of Eli, The Spy Next Door, When in Rome, High School, Cats and Dogs 2, Step Up 3D, Gulliver's Travels, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Knight and Day, You Again, Vampires Suck, Drag Me to Hell, Orphan, I Love You, Man, Duplicity, Crank 2: High Voltage, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Imagine That, Sorority Row, Answer Man, Post Grad, I Love You Beth Cooper, All About Steve, Hurt Locker, New York, I Love You, It's Complicated, Road Trip: Beer Pong, Law Abiding Citizen, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Funny People and Couples Retreat.

But, says Interbrand, Apple's lead in product placement is declining; it managed to squeeze some little trinket into nearly half of all number one movies in 2008, and has been slipping ever since.

"This slippage in Apple product placement is not due to Apple giving up on the practice — inevitably, other brands are taking a page from its playbook and aping Apple's product placement strategy," says Sauer.

"Films that previously would have been dominated by Apples are now filled with HP, Dell and Sony Vaio logos."

Indeed, he says, Sony's attempted to completely eliminate all traces of Apple from its films - stuffing them full of Vaio-branded notebooks instead. Funny, that.