Films with the funny in-world advertisements within them

over acting couple watching tv

Hollywoood has a lot of fun with in-world advertising in films sometimes. This includes parodies of ads for real brands as well as ads for fake products. Here is a list of films with interesting and funny in-world ads that marketers will enjoy.

This list includes ads that are parodies, fake ads for real brands with fake products and fake brands within the world of the film. This is a little different to regular product placements.

The Invention of Lying (2009)

sign says pepsi when they don't have coke

In a strange version of the world where lying has not been invented there is truth in advertising. You see a bus drive past with an ad for “Pepsi – when they don’t have Coke” and the nursing home is called “A Sad Place for Hopeless Old People” and the casino has signs like “The odds favour the house”.

Idiocracy (2006)


Set in the year 2505, the world has become stupider with dumb people outbreeding smarter people. Many of today’s brands still exist including Carl’s Jr which sponsors the US government, Starbucks (which also offers the services you’d find in a gentleman’s club and which has had its name changed a few times over the years.

Back to the Future 2 (1989)

The scenes set in the year 2015 have a lot of fun futuristic versions of brands that were popular in the 80s and interpretations of how these things might appear in the future. These products including Pepsi, Pizza Hut dehydrated pizza cooked in a Black and Decker dehydrator, the Cubs baseball team, Texaco petrol, Mattel hoverboards, USA Today newspapers and Nike shoes. There’s a few more but you can spot those yourself.

What makes this particularly fun is that now that 2015 has come and gone, many of those brands have since cashed in on merchandising the products from the film.

UHF (1989)

Whilst this film doesn’t have ads for real brands in it, it has a lot of memorable ad parodies for local businesses like Spatula City and various fake TV shows and films that exist within the world of that film. If you like Weird Al Yankovic and haven’t seen this, be sure to check it out.

Robocop Film Series

This series is known for funny, yet bleak TV footage within it like the famous “I’d buy that for a dollar” bit. It also includes fake commercials like the following:

The Family Heart Centre which includes heart replacement technology by brands such as Yamaha.

Nukem, a family board game kind of like Battleship but more complicated, and with nukes.

Magnavolt, a car security system that turns your driver’s seat into an electric chair when someone tries to steal your car.

The Truman Show (1998)

This movie is all set within a reality show, so the ads in this film are all product placements for fictitious products within the world of the film. Truman’s life is full of improvised infomercials for products by other cast members who are acting as his friends and family.

There are surely more of these out there that I’ve missed. Be sure to let me know if you think of any others.

What do you think?

Written by Keith Nallawalla

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