It started small. Basically just one prominent product image in the first movie. It grew and grew. Now you can hardly avoid all the products flying around while robots and future soldiers shoot at each other. How did it get to this level? Let’s take a quick look at the product placement throughout five Terminator movies and 2 seasons of the TV show.
The first Terminator movie had one prominent product placement but in the context of the story, it’s easy to ignore. It’s downright subtle compared to what we see in movies today. Kyle Reese has been transported from the future to present day 1984 and needs clothes. He breaks into a sporting goods store and puts on some Nike Vandals. They used velcro. Could you be any more 80s?
TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY
Pepsi is EVERYWHERE in this movie. We see vending machines in the mall scene (prominently behind the Terminator in the shootout with the T-1000 and in the hand of the employee between them), at the bar the Terminator first shows up in, at Cyberdyne, at a cafe in the desert, and behind the T-1000 at the sanitarium. You’ll rarely go long without seeing a Pepsi logo in this movie.
It’s a bit harder to spot but Subway pops up several times. When the T-1000 interviews girls at the mall, they have Subway soda cups. And there are Subway sandwiches on the table at the sanitarium when they interview Sarah Connor. It was the first big promotion for Subway and they had TV ads heavily advertising their limited edition soda cups.
Miller beer gets several prominent shots when the Terminator first shows up at the bar. Both a Miller High Life neon sign behind him and a case of Miller beer by the bartender when he tosses his bike keys to the Terminator. The light over the pool table is for Miller Lite.
The Terminator prominently rides a Harley Davidson Fat Boy.
Some other random products can be seen but are probably not paid for. Some sort of cologne (Hero Cologne?) at the mall, Northgate Computer Systems on computers at Cyberdyne, and Atari and Sega logos at the arcade.
TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES
John Connor prominently holds a Budweiser beer that he uses to wash down some pills to manage his pain. Couldn’t find a good screenshot of it, sorry. It’s when he’s introduced, breaking into the vet’s clinic.
During the epic car chase, there’s an ad for a nutritional supplement, Xenadrine, that takes up the whole screen.
The car that the T-X commandeers at the beginning is a Lexus sc430. It’s pretty prominent though you’d be forgiven for missing it since the movie distracts you with a naked lady whose boobs inflate.
John Connor, the T-850 and Kate Brewster drive around in a Toyota Tundra pickup truck that looks like it’s brand new even though it has a weird old cab on top of it, advertising Kate’s veterinary clinic.
TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES
It’s relatively rare for a TV show to utilize product placement but Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles had one big sponsor. In season two, Dodge gave them an undisclosed amount of money and all of a sudden, basically all the cars and trucks were new Dodges. They also sponsored an extra-long 52 minute episode (normal TV episodes are 42 or so minutes after commercials) and a four-week Dodge giveaway contest.
You’d think a movie that’s exclusively set in the future, post-apocalypse, would have a hard time promoting products, but nope. John Connor uses a futuristic handheld device that’s apparently a Sony Vaio.
In another scene, young Kyle Reese escapes a Skynet drone in a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Even though it would have been invented after Judgement Day.
There are old 7-11 logos EVERYWHERE. A big scene takes place with a huge monster Terminator busting up an old 7-11 gas station.
This isn’t the best shot but there are some closeups of Kyle Reese adjusting his Nike sneakers. I guess he didn’t pick those Nikes at random in the original movie, he just really likes them.
The movie is only recently out so we don’t have lots of screenshots from the movie but here are some of the brands the movie made product placement deals with so I won’t be surprised if they are seen in the movie:
Nike, again. Repeating the scene from the first movie where Kyle Reese steals some clothes.
Terminator briefly rides a Harley Davidson again, jumping it onto a moving bus and immediately ditching it.
A big plot point is that people use their phones and tablets too much. Very insightful, cutting edge commentary. Everyone seems to only own Windows phones.
There’s a scene around the middle of the movie where two Terminators fight in a hospital and bump up against a Pepsi Max vending machine repeatedly until it is used to bonk the other guy on the head. It’s VERY prominent.
Here are some products that tie in with the movie but fortunately don’t appear on screen:
Promoting some drink called Big Red. Never heard of it.
Great. A burger held by an evil robot. Thanks Red Robin.
Gold’s Gym? Apparently Schwarzenegger’s MusclePharm product also has a deal.
Lanai clothing actually made it into the script. Fortunately, this scene was cut.
Terminate your dead zones. Get it? Netgear.