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An Annotated History of Product Placement in the Transformers Series

on June 22, 2017, 12:00am

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

GMC Topkick C4500

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When you’re rolling into battle, make sure you have a sturdy and trustworthy GMC on your side.

Audi R8

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Imagine the negotiations behind having your car be represented by the Decepticons. “Yes, yes, we don’t mind if the R8 is the disguise of a space fascist; we just want to make sure the recognition is there.”

U-Haul

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Call it a nitpick if you will, but every single one of Shia’s moving boxes are U-Haul branded. Apparently, you stop one interstellar civil war and you don’t have to move your stuff in milk crates like the rest of us plebs.

Mobil Oil

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Upper left corner, you fucking deviants.

LG

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One of the funnier running bits through each of the later films, starting here, is how all military and government telecommunications are carried out through the exact same brand. Here, it’s LG.

Mountain Dew

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Pretty sure the RAs would’ve had something to say about a full-service Dew machine in a dorm room. I couldn’t even have an extension cord in mine.

Also, how did it even get in there?

Also, shout-out Naruto.

Cisco

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When advertising also becomes a visual metaphor for ongoing plot. (Get it? She’s about to be his ex for missing this chat call, hence webex. I spent six years in film school honing this sharp criticism.)

2010 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

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It’s just one guy’s opinion, but the Bumblebee cars seem to become less and less cool as they grew more aggressively sleek over time.

Volvo

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Answering the question “what if we started selling everything with an engine? We’d never have to stop at cars!”

Southwest

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Revenge of the Fallen left me feeling like I Wanna Get Away from the theater!” — Gene Shalit, probably

Harley Davidson/two NFL teams

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The rarest ad buy of all: the hat trick!

Michael Bay’s own goddamn movie

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There are a few nods to other movies throughout the series that this piece ultimately omits, but Bay painting the plot of one movie over a poster for another one of his is just too rich to pass up.

This Year’s Models

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Not previously noted: Sideswipe (Corvette Stingray), Jolt (Chevrolet Volt)

2008 Saturn Astra

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This thing gets airlifted by a helicopter, dropped through a factory’s roof from hundreds of feet up, and doesn’t kill everybody inside of it on impact. Pretty good commercial, overall.

Bud Light Lime

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It almost feels like cheating to include Times Square overall, but the Fallen’s hacked broadcast being interspersed with subliminal flashes of a sweating Bud Light Lime is too rich to leave out.

CNN

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That logo comes across in higher definition than some of the robots in the giant robot movie do at times.

Stella Artois

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Stella Artois is basically the soccer of beers: treated like a highfalutin cultural deal in America, kind of a basic thing to everybody else in the world.

The Smithsonian

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Go to more museums, y’all. This isn’t actually a punchline; you just should.

IMAX

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This wall-sized ad ended up being just the beginning of Bay’s relationship with giant cameras.

Air France

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Why’s this in an American aerospace museum? Does it even matter?

Mack

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The wrecking ball rigs that end up giving Devastator a pair of giant, swinging testicles about 10 seconds after this frame aren’t branded. Funny how that works out.

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