Blogs & Comment

Is this new Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson movie the biggest product placement ever?

This is the trailer for Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn’s new flick, The Internship. In it, the two play a couple of 40-somethings who get an internship at Google. Hilarity, presumably, ensues because y’know OLD PEOPLE JOKES! It also looks like the biggest film product placement since Charlie Sheen and Wesley Snipes played for the Cleveland Indians. News of this comedic venture inside the Googleplex emerged last summer when reports began to leak online that the movie was shooting in Mountain View, as well as at Georgia Tech University.

But despite the trailer premiering on Google Hangout and prominently featuring the search engine and depicting its employees, it doesn’t appear that this is some sort of paid placement. A Google Spokesperson told Search Engine Watch last year “We’re excited that Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson chose the Google campus as a backdrop for their first film together since ‘Wedding Crashers.’ We’re sure they’ll have a humorous take on life in Silicon Valley and look forward to seeing the result.”

Product placement in film is nothing new—Wayne’s World hilariously parodied the practice and that was more than 20 years ago. (Yep, I feel super old now, too. You’re welcome.)  But over the last few years, the deals between movie producers and brands have been taken to new levels. The Oscar-nominated George Clooney film Up in the Air had innovative deals with both American Airlines and Hilton Hotels. And in Skyfall, James Bond traded in the vodka martini for a Heineken.

It doesn’t sound like this was some pre-ordained deal between Google and The Internship producers. I mean, where else were they going to go, Bing? Google is just too engrained in our culture to be ignored or have the movie create a fake tech giant named GoogBook or FaceBoogle. It just made sense to be at Mountain View and Google agreed to be part of it. Kind of like Drake and Shopper’s Drug Mart, except longer and way more expensive. As a viewer, I don’t have a hard time buying into it. What I do have a hard time buying is that two 40-something dudes like these two have never heard of The X-Men.