There's an interesting bit in today's New York Times about the virus of product placement infecting Disney's Herbie: Fully Loaded. As Ross Johnson writes, "The film may ultimately be remembered less for its star or its box-office performance than for the boldness of its promotions." Well, I doubt that, but the article shines a light on the truly bizarre ways that corporate interests can affect a script. At one point, a major crash scene had to be re-written to appease heavy NASCAR sponsor Goodyear; it was " changed to a relatively harmless "wall scraper," with no corporate signage in the background, that was clearly not caused by a failure of Goodyear tires." Is it a surprise that Lindsay Lohan wears a Goodyear baseball cap throughout most of the film?

Herbie was written by Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garrant (both of whom seem to have fallen far from their roots on The State), and they chalk the process up to the fact that the film is steeped in the culture of NASCAR: "People who have problems with the Herbie promotions don't understand Nascar," says Garant. Which could help to explain why one company refused to get involved - Herbie's own manufacturer, the decidedly un-NASCAR friendly Volkswagen. Also, according to David Leener, a marketing executive who brokered placement deals on Herbie, "Their executives said, 'Why would we want to promote an old car?' "
categories Cinematical