Transformers: Product Placement Overkill

I went to see “Transformers” last week, along with most of America, it seems. General Motors went all out to promote its cars in “Transformers,” but in the end, it left a far worse taste in my mouth than Ford did when it populated “Casino Royale” with largely Ford Motor cars.

In “Casino,” James Bond drives the classic Bond Aston Martin (stolen from one of the bad guys, of course) and a new custom Aston Martin, he’s surrounded in a parking lot by Fords, Mercurys, Land Rovers, Jaguars, etc. It was subtle, and something that only a car fan would notice.

In “Transformers,” though, there’s a scene where the good-guy robots go looking for cars to emulate, and suddenly the movie turns into a string of GM commercials worthy of Super Bowl Sunday. The gratuitous lingering on nameplates and logos turned the action flick into a two-hour-long GM ad.

The Camaro that’s due next year came off as very cool (although, personally, I preferred the “Rockford Files”-era Camaro that the main characters derided as a POS, but that’s me) and I’m excited to see the real thing hit the road. The souped-up Pontiac Solstice was also pretty sweet; I hope GM decides to market a model based on how the movie version looked.

Overall, though, I felt as though GM had picked my pocket by shoving its products down my throat. The automaker — and the moviemakers — should have opted for a little more subtlety.

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