From Mini Coopers and the US Army to McDonalds and Twinkies, these are the worst instances of Adam Sandler shilling products in movies you paid to see!
Prepare to feel old; Adam Sandler turned 50 years old on September 9, 2016. The charming young man we all fell in love with on Saturday Night Live is now old enough to join AARP. While he’s sold out and made enough awful movies over the last two decades to prove he’s no longer in the zeitgeist of American youth, his movies always slips in product placement, usually for food and drink that would give a college athlete diabetes. Here’s a video we made that showcases it!
Almost every single one of Sandler’s post-SNL films has snuck in a covert advertisement, from your favorite early flicks to the modern-day trash that somehow still makes millions. Whether it’s fast food, beer, cereal, the rare semi-healthy food item or different products altogeher, Sandler has no compunction about saying the brand name while the label faces the camera during a movie you embarrassingly spent $11.75 to go see.
But which is the worst? Which is the least offensive? That’s where we come in. In the process of scouring EVERY Sandler movie made in order to put together the definitive Sandler Fast Foot Product Placement video, we’ve catalogued each of the advertising events and ranked them from the slightly offensive to the extremely egregious. So park your Mini Cooper, crack open a Gatorate, open a bucket of Popeye’s chicken, and check out our rankings!
19 – Billy Madison (1995) – Snack Packs
The one that started it all! In his first starring role (yes, we’re aware of Going Overboard. Shut up.) Adam Sandler failed to make a household name out of his inaugural attempt at story-based product placement. It’s both innocuous and sticks out like a sore thumb since nobody before or since has referred to a pudding cup as a “Snack Pack.” I think many of us young viewers simply assumed the term was invented for the film. – Chris
18 – The Waterboy (1998) – Gatorade
As one of Adam Sandler’s last pre-Happy Madison movies, The Waterboy may be Sandler’s least-ad-ridden films, but it’s not completely commercial-free. If made nowadays, Bobby Bouchier would be touting the purity levels of Poland Springs, but The Waterboy serves his own brand throughout this football flick. The Waterboyd does shill official products with copious throws to ESPN’s SportsCenter, Bobby calling into a WCW show with a WCW hat by his bedside (likely a caveat to get Paul “The Giant” Wight into the movie), and even though it isn’t seen, Coach Klein does make a good case for Gatorade’s thirst-quenching abilities when trying to rile up the H20-bsessed linebacker. -Dave
17 – 50 First Dates (2004) – Spam
It’s long been rumored that the way Sandler chooses his projects is based on where he’d like to spend the next few months on vacation with his buddies, so you can certainly see why going to Hawaii for his second collaboration with Drew Barrymore got fast tracked. But to Happy Madison’s credit, at least they chose an authentic regional product to hock. While several products are mentioned, Spam is repeatedly name-checked and stacks of the canned, alleged meat can be seen in the background. -Chris
16 – Happy Gilmore (1996) – Subway
Only when compared to latter day Sandler films could you call Happy Gilmore’s Subway commercial “subtle” but at least Happy Gilmore’s shill for Subway serves the plot in addition to paying the bills. Athletes get endorsement deals, that’s not up for debate. Plus the cheesy commercial is cute, and the rest of the Subway branding comes in the form of Alan Covert’s filthy hobo wearing its logo, which still makes me giggle for some reason. -Chris
15 – You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008) – Sony Products
While Zohan features a typical array of Sandler-level of product placement with food brands like Tribe Hummus and Green Papaya, Zohan’s worst mess is with tech. Instead, we’re using Zohan to highlight Happy Madison’s very special relationship with Columbia Pictures, or more to the point, it’s parent company, Sony.
A scene from Blended. Or is it Jack and Jill? Or is it Just Go With It?!
Take note of every electronic device in every Adam Sandler film following Big Daddy. Or better yet, DON’T! They’re essentially veiled ads for Sony televisions, Sony Viao computers, and perhaps worst of all, Sony Ericsson phones. Though that’s par for the course where Spider-Man uploads his photos on a Vaio and the Ghostbusters film their paranormal exploits with Sony video cameras.-Chris
14 – Big Daddy (1999) – McDonalds
There are almost a dozen visible brands in Big Daddy, many of which are called out by name. Hooters, Fritos, Pepsi, Yoo-hoo, Spaghetti-Os, the list is way too long. But McDonalds clearly put up the most money, as it’s the centerpiece of an entire scene where numerous McMenu items are specifically name-checked in the service of comedy.
If you’re interested in the history of Sandler and his special brand of, uh… brands, this is when his Happy Madison production house begins, as well as a lucrative, long-standing contract with Sony’s Columbia Pictures (Previous films where distributed by Universal and Disney.) Essentially, this is where the House of Sandler realizes they can form their own studio, pack annually-released films with their buddies and stack the product placement to the rafters. This is where the relative subtlety of Sandler’s product placement ends, and where most of what everyone hates about his films begins. Harsh as that might sound, Big Daddy is still one of my favorite Sandler films! -Chris
13 – Anger Management (2003) – US Army
Made in the wake of 9/11, you almost assume that Anger Management’s lack of edible product placement was done in service to better celebrate New York recovering from a tragedy and the brave men and women who lost their lives during the worst act of terrorism ever committed on American soil. But you’d be wrong! Well, I suppose that depends on what you think is worse: Adam Sandler shilling diabetic gateway food or convincing his fans to die in an unjust war?! Because every single shot of Sandler’s apartment in Anger Management is adorned with a highly unsubtle, clearly CGIed plug for the US Army.-Chris
12 – Pixels (2015) – Mini Coopers
Yes, there’s reason to hate Pixels beyond the disservice it does to videogames. While this action movie fits in the standard ads for trash food you’d expect from a Sandler movie (most notably Yoo-Hoo and Utz Cheese Balls), the real butt-kissing comes when it’s time for Sandler and his gamer pals need to take part in a real Pac-Man level on the streets of New York City. You’d probably want a sports car or a durable truck to handle the high-impact driving while avoiding ghosts, but nope, it’s a fleet of Mini-Coopers that outrun the videogame menace threatening Earth.-Dave
11 – Blended (2014) – Dr. Scholl’s Gel Inserts
While we showcased Hooters in our food-based look at Sandler’s product placement, the most notable entry is where his daughter uses Dr Scholl’s gel inserts to pad her bra. You really gotta hand it to Sandler. He received an extra paycheck, and got to make a titty joke in the process!-Chris
10 – That’s My Boy (2012) – Budweiser
Adam Sandler movies have a long and storied history of including Budweiser brand beers whenever a character needs an alcoholic beverage (but apparently has the taste of a college frat boy). Here’s a sampling:
The worst case (of beer) however, is That’s My Boy, which crams a beer into Sandler’s party dad character at almost every opportunity. While you could argue that Sandler’s character is hardly one to look up to, you’re beat over the head with Bud cans, bottles, and signs so damn often that you’ll just submit to the beer giant anyway.-Dave
Sandler’s all-time worst product placement scenes await you on the next page!