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The Road’s Post-Apocalyptic Product Placement

People are getting their knickers in a twist, but apparently the filmmakers are just being faithful to the original Cormac McCarthy novel’s Coca Cola ad:

Reports from early screenings are surfacing that scenes including “product placements” in the film, especially one with a can of Coca-Cola, are drawing groans. But as the film’s director John Hilcoat explains, he was just being loyal to the source:

“There’s some people who don’t know the book and have picked up on this in the film and say, Why did they go for such a blatant product placement?”

Brandchannel | "The Road": Post-Apocalyptic Product Placement

This kind of stuff makes me laugh, because I’m reminded of that scene from Wayne’s World:

Actually, it makes sense for stories that take place in the same world as the real one to be full of branding. Modern life is full of branding. Unfortunately, the process of making major motion pictures requires licensing every single logo that appears anywhere as part of the Errors and Omissions insurance process.

Gag. Can you blame a filmmaker for “selling out”?

I’m not sure if the filmmakers of The Road actually sold out and accepted money for their product placement, but somebody asked and got permission from Coke before they did the “commercial,” I guarantee you that. Most brands are smart about this — sales of Reece’s pieces did go “through the roof” after the release of E.T., and M&M’s, the candy Spielberg had originally wanted to use, learned a valuable lesson.


  1. Coke is specifically used in the novel as a reminder of the America that has long been gone. In the book – and movie- the kid doesnt even know what it is so it's a very important scene.

    And Coke didn't even want to be in the movie. They originally didn't allow it until Viggo called the head of Coke and asked himself.

    This is such a nonstory and I'm upset because people are posting it everywhere and if they did a HINT of research, as you mentioned, they would realize that.

  2. What about the other product placements in the movie? I hear there's Cheetos…

  3. Yeah, there are some Cheetos, Del Monte, a lot of stuff. It's in a brief scene where they find some food that survived.

    Do you want to make movies with no products in them at all? Cause having Brand X Chips vs. Lays would take me out of a movie faster than having a real product. At least the real product is believable.

    There's a difference between 'product placement' and 'product clearance,' right? Once is a paid commercial, the other is just permission to use a trademarked logo. 'The Road' firmly falls in the latter.

  4. Agreed. It would be great if you wanted to just have a product that is naturally around be in a movie without asking permission, you could. But people are too afraid of getting sued, like when a brand name garbage disposal company sued the t.v. show Heroes because the cheerleader put her hand into it and it came out a bloody stump.

    I think maybe The Road viewers are objecting because they think the scene feels like a commercial for Coke. I'm eager to see it and make up my own mind.

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