15 Sublime Bits of Fast-Food Product Placement

Puddy loves Arby’s and so do I
15 Sublime Bits of Fast-Food Product Placement

Everyone complains about product placement in movies and TV shows. But sometimes a good bit of product placement can make a scene far funnier than it would have been had a generic label been on the food instead. Here are 15 such cases where a clever bit of product placement sells the scene as much as the product itself…

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Arby’s, ‘Reno 911’

When Lieutenant Jim Dangle and Deputy Trudy Weigel find a bag of Arby’s at a crime scene, they try to figure out why someone would bring their victim “delicious, piping hot Arby’s” before shooting them. The best part of the scene is how they never just say “Arby’s,” it’s always referred to as “delicious, piping hot Arby’s.”

McDonald’s, ‘Rick and Morty’

As revealed at the beginning of Season Three, Rick’s ultimate motivation for all of his crazy sci-fi adventures isn’t avenging his dead family, it’s bringing back the short-lived Szechuan sauce that McDonald’s sold to promote Mulan back in 1998. As far as character motivations go, this is as noble of a cause as you can get. 

Jack in the Box, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

When Larry locks himself out of his car late at night during a Season Five episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, he gets hungry as he waits for Jeff and decides to walk to the nearby Jack in the Box for some Jumbo Jacks. Unfortunately, only the drive-thru is open, and when he tries walking through it, they won’t let him order. Fortunately, Larry finds a man named Pete who is willing to help him; who cares if Pete is a known felon?

Burger King, ‘The Terminal’

After being stuck at JFK airport without food for days, Victor Gorsky (Tom Hanks) eventually figures out that if he returns the luggage carts to the corral, he gets a quarter in return. Once he’s got 75 cents, he runs to Burger King and orders a small hamburger off the value menu and immediately devours it. 

Pizza Hut, ‘Wayne’s World’

“Contract or no, I will not bow to any sponsor,” declares a steadfast Wayne Campbell as he eats a delicious slice of Pizza Hut while smiling directly into the camera.

Popeyes, ‘Little Nicky’

When Little Nicky needs to subdue a horde of demons, he uses a giant serving of Popeyes chicken. It works, as one of the demons accurately declares, “Popeyes chicken is the shiznit!”

McDonald’s, ‘The Office’

While the first season of the American version of The Office struggled to find its footing, a highlight was when Michael asked Ryan to help him with an important-sounding “special project” that turns out to be just helping him clean out his car. As he does so, Ryan asks Michael, “Wow, how many Filet-O-Fishes did you eat?”

KFC, ‘South Park’

When Stan’s mom brings home KFC, Cartman eats the skin off of every piece of chicken, then heads home. Bless you, Eric Cartman, for being brave enough to do what everyone else wants to do, but won’t because of social norms.

McDonald’s, ‘Sleeper’

The 1973 Woody Allen film Sleeper was the first time McDonald’s appeared in a major film. Being about a man who wakes up in the future after being cryogenically frozen, it offers a glimpse of what McDonald’s might look like in 2173 and has a great gag where the McDonald’s sign reads “Over 795,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 served.”

Taco Bell, ‘Demolition Man’

For another future joke, in the outlandishly advanced 2032 of Demolition Man, Taco Bell has become a fine-dining establishment. It’s unclear, however, if they still sell chalupas.

Pizza Hut, ‘Back to the Future Part II’

For one more future gag, Back to the Future Part II looks to the very ancient 2015, where Pizza Hut sells dehydrated pizzas that measure just a couple of inches in diameter. Once you put them into the hydrator, though, you get steamy, full-size pies.

Arby’s, ‘Seinfeld’

To celebrate his promotion, Puddy takes Elaine out to “a restaurant” that Elaine conspicuously skips over the name of when she’s telling Jerry about it. Puddy, however, quickly reveals that it was Arby’s, which is a fantastic way to celebrate any important occasion. 

White Castle, ‘Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle’

In what is undoubtedly the greatest bit of fast-food product placement in pop-culture history, the whole point of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is, as the title indicates, to get our heroes to White Castle. The entire movie is great, and it pays off in hilarious fashion when they finally make it.

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