In my post the other day on the MINI Cooper S owned by Howard Walowitz in the TV Series 'The Big Bang Theory' (which was parked in a spot coveted by the other "Cooper, S." - S as in Sheldon) I suggested it might have been a clever product placement by MINI.
I have no confirmation of that.
But it did remind me of what must have been the best automotive product placement of all time - certainly, the most cost-effective, max Bang for the Buck automotive product placement of all time.
A friend of mine ran (maybe still runs - haven't seen him in a while...) a publicity firm in Southern California which had (maybe still has...) the contract to place General Motors cars in the movies.
He was contacted by a never-was director (at the time, best-known as a stunt man) who had stupid B-Movie script about beer smuggling, and had somehow scored a soon-to-be has-been actor to star in it.
He needed a car, some sort of fast car.
My friend said, "Well, there's this thing over here, they're probably going to discontinue the car next year, so why not use it?"
The director was Hal Needham.
The star was Burt Reynolds.
The movie was 'Smokey and the Bandit'.
The car of course was the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am - the black one with gold trim (a colour scheme apparently inspired by the John Player Lotus Formula One cars of the mid-1970s) and the 'dead-chicken' decal on the hood.
The car became the star of the movie, and went on to many more years of successful sales.
My friend said he got $400 from GM for the product placement.
Pretty good deal for GM, I'd say.