Mac and Me
While it would be fair to complain that the recent #1 film in the US, Disturbia, is a movie built on shameless product placement (check out that opening Coca-Cola moment in the first scene!), and doesn’t have to make a dime to be profitable, the producers still have something to strive for. While Adam Sandler spent his early career in 90 minute ads for Subway (Happy Gilmore) and Jean-Claude Van Damme paraded around in Double Team, where Coca-Cola was actually written in as a plot point and twice a method of escape, no film has managed to be as whoringly audacious as Mac and Me, where the products are not just saviors of the characters (such as Coke bringing aliens back to life) but actually have them named after the product.
I’m sure the producers were not trying to be as cynical as it seemed at the time, they believed in making a genuine children’s film, modeled after E.T., and that placed the child characters in situations that would genuinely reflect how real children would behave. Sure, some children go to McDonald’s. I’m sure they even occasionally come upon enthusiastic representatives of said restaurant. It is also likely that the aliens these children have been hiding might engage in some entertainment and engagement of their own, such as dancing with other employees of this restaurant.
*Clearly, this was the hidden message all along.