Both TOP GUN movies take place mainly in cockpits, military bases, and aircraft carriers. As such, there is not a lot of opportunity for product placement. But the few brands that broke through remained surprisingly consistent in both films, despite being released 36 years apart.
This article will look at the ten most visible brands in TOP GUN: MAVERICK while also discussing the brands that appeared in the original film. Notably, the top three brands are the exact same in both films.
TOP GUN (1986) was seen by over 100 million people worldwide in theatres. As such, the original film generated about 27 million dollars in product placement value for the brands it featured. With over 150 million tickets sold, more brands, more screen time and higher quality of exposure, TOP GUN: MAVERICK has generated 57 million dollars for brands while in theatres.
However, Concave estimates conservatively that a further 600 million people have seen the original film at least once since its initial release. This has taken the value for brands to over 200 million dollars!
#10 Under Armour
In a call-back to the iconic volleyball scene in TOP GUN (1986), the sequel has a sequence where the team of pilots plays American football on the beach. Although they play with a Nike football, the brand that steals the scene is Under Armour. One of its jerseys is worn by Bashir Salahuddin as Bernie “Hondo” Coleman. Under Armour gets fifteen seconds of high-quality screen time with its logo clearly visible. It is also associated with both sports and the military, which is the exact cross-section in which the brand markets itself.
Under Armour did not exist when the original movie came out. Nike did however appear briefly in the 1986 movie.
Under Armour was the 45th most visible brand in 2021 films. This was mostly thanks to being the most visible brand in ZACK SNYDER’s JUSTICE LEAGUE.
#9 Orfina / Porsche Design
Tom Cruise wears the exact same watch in TOP GUN: MAVERICK as in the original film. A Porsche Design Chronograph with a black PVD coating, produced by Orfina.
The watch got just under a minute of screen time in MAVERICK, while it had almost two and a half minutes in TOP GUN (1986). It was also the 4th most visible brand in the original film.
#8 Lockheed Martin
Although the jet Cruise’s character flies at the beginning of the TOP GUN: MAVERICK is fictional, it was apparently designed with the help of Lockheed Martin. Specifically their Skunk Works division. This explains why one can make out the Lockheed Martin logo on the close-ups of Tom Cruise using the jet’s control.
While not a common brand in films, Lockheed Martin also appeared in season 1 of SPACE FORCE.
Porsche and Ford are the two main car brands to appear prominently in TOP GUN: MAVERICK (2022). Jennifer Connoly’s character drives a Porsche that gets just under 20 seconds of screen time. This is likely a throwback to the female lead in TOP GUN (1986) driving a Porsche replica manufactured by Intermeccanica.
Ford appears in the form of a couple of trucks. One is seen early chauffeuring Ed Harris’ character while Tom Cruise gets out of another Ford truck later on in the film.
While most other characters in TOP GUN: MAVERICK wear Ray-Ban eyewear, Jennifer Connoly can be seen wearing Persol when sailing with Tom Cruise.
With both Ray-Ban and Persol being Luxoticca brands, it is pretty common to see them side by side in films and TV shows like THE GENTLEMEN (2020), HOUSE OF GUCCI (2021), SUCCESSION, or YELLOWSTONE.
While Tom Cruise kept his original old-school watch, most of the other pilots wear IWC timepieces.
IWC’s involvement is also confirmed late in the movie when an IWC stopwatch gets four seconds of close-up screen time.
IWC’s most infamous product placement was as the watch brand of choice of Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood in most of HOUSE OF CARDS.
One of the new brands in TOP GUN: MAVERICK is Dell. With no computers appearing in the 1986 movie and Dell itself only being founded two years prior, we can forgive it for not appearing in the original film.
Dell got almost two minutes of screen time in TOP GUN: MAVERICK. This was as background monitors and a tablet near the beginning.
The top three brands in both TOP GUN movies are each iconic in their own way. And we start with Kawasaki, which got just under a minute and a half of screen time in both films. In the original, Tom Cruise drives a GPZ 900 R. He dusts off the same model at the beginning of the sequel (unclear if it is the exact same one) before upgrading to a Ninja H2 R Carbon for the rest of the movie.
TOP GUN: MAVERICK recreates some of the memorable shots with the Kawasaki from the first film. For example, Cruise charging down a road alongside a fighter jet as it takes off.
Kawasaki has, to date, gotten close to nine million dollars in product placement value from appearing in TOP GUN (1986).
Although not as common in entertainment as some of its competitors, Kawasaki has had some notable appearances. Namely in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II (as a helicopter), JURASSIC WORLD (as a quad bike), and PROJECT POWER (as a motorcycle).
At Top Gun, when pilots aren’t training or frolicking on the beach, they can usually be found at the local bar playing pool, giving each other shit, and, of course, sipping on Budweisers.
In the original TOP GUN (1986), Budweiser got over four minutes of screen time thanks to the many scenes in the bar. This was worth 2.6 million dollars during the film’s theatrical run and a further 15 million since.
In TOP GUN: MAVERICK (2022), Budweiser got over two and a half minutes of screen time. It took the form of beer bottles, beer taps, cups, and boxes. We will have to see how the new film does to get an idea of the value Budweiser will get.
While TOP GUN (1986) is one of Budweiser’s greatest product placements, in recent years, it has appeared in such films as THE TENDER BAR (2022), DA 5 BLOODS (2020), THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND (2020), THE IRISHMAN (2019), FORD V FERRARI (2019), and RICHARD JEWELL (2019), to name just a few.
As the legend goes, in the 80s, things were not going well for Ray-Ban. So, to increase their popularity, the brand hired a product placemen agency called Unique (now known as UPP) to get Ray-Ban into the biggest films and on the faces of the hottest stars. And they did just that. Tom Cruise first wore Ray-Ban’s Wayfarer in 1983’s RISKY BUSINESS and then their Aviators in TOP GUN (1986). These are arguably two of the most iconic sunglasses models in the world to this day. And this is in no small part down to product placement.
In TOP GUN (1986), Ray-Ban got almost ten minutes of screen time. This was mainly Aviators worn by Cruise but also Caravan square sunglasses worn by Anthony Edwards as Goose. Despite the Ray-Ban logo never being seen, all this exposure was worth over 8.5 million dollars during TOP GUN’s time in theatres and nearly 100 million dollars to date.
In TOP GUN: MAVERICK (2022), Ray-Ban got over eight and a half minutes of screen time. So less than in the original. However, it had a higher quality of exposure thanks to its logo being visible 19% of the time. Tom Cruise wore the same Aviators as in the original film and Miles Teller wore Caravans. The same model woren by his character’s dad. A big chunk of Ray-Ban exposure also came from Bashir Salahuddin as Hondo. His character wore Ray-Ban optical glasses for most of the film.
In 2021 Ray-Ban was the 23rd most prominent brand thanks to appearances in FREE GUY, THE LITTLE THINGS, and COMING 2 AMERICA.