Product placement has become an unavoidable part of TV and film, and there’s so much on-screen shilling going on that it can be hard to separate the entertainment from the commercials (we’re looking in your direction, Transformers). However, on the rare occasions when it’s done well, it doesn’t hinder the experience at all. In fact, it can be good for a quick laugh, either at the shamelessness of it all, or at the fact that the restaurant somehow perfectly fits what you’re watching. Here, for your consideration, are 8 restaurant tie-ins that got it right.
8) Domino’s (in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
|Who delivers pizza to a sewer? It’s absurd.|
As an amusing way of promoting their “30 minutes or it’s free” guarantee (sadly no longer available), Domino’s was featured prominently at the beginning of the film, when a driver wanders around a seemingly abandoned area trying to find the correct address for his delivery. Of course, it turns out the pizza was ordered by the Turtles and the correct address is a sewer. Obviously the TMNTs take the free pizza without remorse, but at least they do leave a tip. It would be reasonable to assume stunts like this were actually part of the reason the Domino’s guarantee was discontinued.
7) Chili’s (on The Office)
|You down with the Dundies?|
Popular enough to be believable, but just lame enough to be funny, selecting Chili’s as the default location for Dunder Mifflin parties, and even the wooing of prospective clients, was a perfect choice. The restaurant has been featured in several episodes, most notably “The Dundies,” in which Michael Scott hands out the annual awards for everyone in the office.
6) White Castle (in Harold and Kumar go to White Castle)
|NPH wouldn’t do that.|
Easily the most integrated of the tie-ins on the list, Harold and Kumar cemented the chain’s status as the ultimate stoner destination. The entire film revolves around the simple desire to finally make it to White Castle and down some sliders. It doesn’t get much more straightforward than that.
5) Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (based on Forrest Gump)
|It was either this or Lt. Dan’s Drinkin’ Hole.|
Quick, name as many Best Picture winners as you can with a restaurant chain inspired by a secondary plot line. Maybe you came up with a few, but this is the only movie tie-in we could think of where the restaurant came well after the film. An extremely impressive feat, and one that deserves a place on the list.
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