In 2021, over 1,200 different brands appeared or were mentioned in the 50 most-watched movies of the year. This equated to almost 2,400 movie/brand product placements. And while these were not all triumphs (50% were worth less than $240,000 each), some were worth tens of millions of dollars.
This article will look at the ten most successful brand integrations of 2021 movies, ranked by the advertising value generated. These ten product placements accounted for 16.7% of all entertainment marketing value in the top 50 movies of 2021.
methodology: Concave Brand Tracking calculates brands’ values in entertainment by factoring in mentions, screen time, product discernibility, viewership, and the cost of advertising. When we say that a placement is worth a million dollars, we are saying it would have cost a million dollars in TV ads to achieve the same level of exposure. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for more info.
#10 BMW in SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS – $20.2M
BMW co-starred in Marvel’s SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS with over seven and a half minutes of screen time. Most of this came from a 2020 BMW M8 at the start and a 2021 iX3 at the end of the second act. BMW benefitted from an excellent quality of exposure. This means its vehicles were very visible, and the brand’s logo could be seen in almost 70% of its screen time.
With SHANG-CHI being the 11th most-watched film of 2021, BMW’s placement was worth over 20 million dollars in advertising value.
BMW has had a great 2021 in terms of movie product placement. Its integration in SHANG-CHI and product placements in BLACK WIDOW, F9, I CARE A LOT, and over a dozen other movies contributed to it being the 11th most visible brand overall in 2021 films.
#9 Dell in DON’T LOOK UP – $22.2M
DON’T LOOK UP was the second-most-watched film of 2021. With it also featuring 93 different brands, it generated the most product placement value of any 2021 movie. So it should come as no surprise that two product placements on this list come from the Netflix hit.
The first is Dell, the second-most visible brand in DON’T LOOK UP. It had over 14 minutes of screen time in the form of laptops and monitors. This integration was worth nearly 23 million dollars for Dell.
But this was not even Dell’s best placement of the year!
#8 Panther Vision in DON’T LOOK UP – $22.5M
Each year, this list comprises two types of brands. Those who appear in many films and strike gold with some combination of high exposure and a successful movie, and those who appear in a single successful film in a very visible way. At #8, we find the latter.
The most visible brand in DON’T LOOK UP was Panther vision. This was thanks to Timothée Chalamet wearing one of their Powercaps for nearly five minutes of screen time. With the product’s name visible for most of this and given DON’T LOOK UP’s audience of over 230 million worldwide, Panther Vision got 22.5 million dollars in exposure from its appearance.
Panther Vision has never appeared in a movie analyzed by Concave before. And with no mention of a partnership anywhere online, it seems like they just got lucky with the costume designer’s choice.
#7 Dodge in F9 – $23.9M
Few brands have a stronger connection with a franchise than Dodge with FAST & FURIOUS. While the Stellantis subsidiary is one of the top brands in movies every year, it does significantly better when there’s a new entry to the Vin Diesel-powered series. And 2021 was no exception. After being the 22nd most visible brand in 2020 movies, 18th in 2019, and 16th in 2018, Dodge jumped back to #8 in 2021. This was the exact position it had in 2017 when THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS was released. And much like in the eighth film, Dodge was the #1 brand in FAST & FURIOUS 9, getting over half its annual product placement total from that single film.
In F9, Dodge got almost ten minutes of screen time. Most of this came in the form of Chargers, driven by Diesel’s Dominic Toretto. With F9 having been seen by 80 million people in theatres and the same again at home, Dodge has gotten nearly 24 million dollars in advertising value from this placement to date.
#6 Detroit Lions in VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE – $27.5M
While less obscure than Panther Vision, the Detroit Lions have similarly not featured in a blockbuster movie in recent history. But with Tom Hardy wearing one of their jackets for over eight minutes in VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE, the NFL team got 27 million dollars in advertising value.
When a main character wears a particular clothing brand for large parts of a film, this often leads to considerable exposure. For example, in 2020, Chris Pine wore a Member Only jacket in WONDER WOMAN 1984, and Brie Larson wore a Nine Inch Nail t shirt in CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019). Those were the second-most valuable product placements of their respective years in both cases.
#5 Piaggio Vespa in LUCA – $30.6M
Although the iconic Piaggio Vespa scooter usually appears in a couple of movies each year, like product placements in MADAGASCAR 3 (2012), TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT (2017), or FREE GUY (2021), it has never appeared in a film quite like LUCA.
Piaggio Vespas got six minutes of screen time and the highest quality of exposure of any brand on this list in the Pixar film. Its logo is often visible, and the Vespa is shown in many close-up and obvious shots. But on top of this great exposure, Vespa is mentioned by name 30 times in the dialogue. This presence on-screen and in the script adds up to over 30 million dollars in value for Piaggio.
Experts often say that the best product placements are the ones where the brand is woven into the story. Well, this has rarely been done as extensively as Vespa in LUCA. It brings to mind Wilson in CASTAWAY (2000), Ford in FORD V FERRARI (2019), or WWE in FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY (2019).
#4 Tom Davies in Cruella – $31M
Eyewear is not usually what people think of when talking about product placements. Instead, mobile phones, beers, or clothing come to mind. But, eyewear (sunglasses and optical glasses) got more value in 2021 movies than any of those other product categories. In fact, the only product category that surpassed the value received by eyewear in 2021 films was cars. Automotive brands consistently get the most collective value on screen. They accounted for 24% of all entertainment marketing value in 2021 movies.
Eyewear made up 7.5% or $182M split among over 30 brands. The biggest winner among these was London-based Tom Davies. The brand was the 7th most visible overall due to two massive product placements: the first in THE MATRIX RESURRECTION, where it was the most visible brand, and the second is what got it on this list.
The fourth most successful brand integration in 2021 films was Tom Davies in Disney’s CRUELLA. Tom Davies was heavily involved in the film-making process and created over 120 frames for the characters in the movie. This work resulted in 15 minutes of screen time for the brand. Despite the Tom Davies logo never being visible, with an estimated 192 million viewers having watched CRUELLA since its release, this placement was worth 31 million dollars for the brand.
In the past, Tom Davies has been worn by Angelina Jolie in THE TOURIST (2010) and Henry Cavill in BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (2016).
#3 Dell in THE GUILTY – $47.5M
Dell was the #1 most visible brand in 2021 movies. It owes this to product placements in 26 different films. And while they all contributed to Dell being the most visible brand of the year, none did so more than THE GUILTY.
Dell got 42 minutes of screen time in the Jake Gyllenhaal Netflix thriller. And while 38% of this was discreet, 51% was subtle, and 4% was made up of close-ups. The brand benefitted heavily from the whole film taking place in a 911 control room filled with its monitors. Many shots showed Gyllenhaal using four different Dell screens at once.
It was reported that 69 million households watched THE GUILTY in its first 28 days and Concave estimates that a total of 107 million people have seen the film to date. The large audience and Dell’s tremendous amount of screen time meant the brand has gotten 47.5 million dollars in value from this integration. This makes it Dell’s best placement in Concave’s records (which go back to 2003) and likely of all time.
#2 Sennheiser in THE GUILTY – $90.4M
Sennheiser is no stranger to the silver screen. Over the years, it has appeared in PITCH PERFECT 3 (2017), EUROVISION SONG CONTEST (2020), and HE’S ALL THAT (2021), to name just a few. But it has never had an integration like in THE GUILTY.
The entire film takes place in a 911 control room, as we just saw. And, as an operator, Jake Gyllenhaal’s character wears a Sennheiser headset for most of the movie. This resulted in 40 minutes of screen time for the brand, with its logo visible in 84%. This was worth over 90 million dollars for the Sennheiser, or seven minutes of commercials during this year’s Superbowl!
#1 Nike in SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY – $94M
It is no surprise that a basketball movie starring Lebron James would feature a lot of Nike. However, the sheer quantity of Nike product placements in SPACE JAM 2 is out of this world! Overall, the brand has over an hour and thirteen minutes of combined screen time in the sequel to the 90s cult classic. Combined screen time means that a shot of five characters wearing Nike jerseys for five seconds will equate to 25 seconds of combined screen time.
So, with all players in the basketball game wearing Nike jerseys and Lebron wearing a Nike jersey, shorts, socks, a shooting sleeve, and sneakers, that adds up to a whole lot of Nike.
The only movies in Concave’s database that featured a brand for more screen time than Nike in SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY are the four LEGO movies with the Lego brand. These are particular cases as Lego made these movies. So if we ignore them, Nike got more screen time in SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY than any other film we’ve ever analyzed. And while our records only go back to 2003, we are reasonably sure no other past movie would beat this partnership.
Some of Nike’s past successful product placements have included CREED (2015), SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (2019), and WONDER WOMAN 1984 (2020). But SPACE JAM 2 generated multiple times more value than those three films combined!