Have you noticed any fictional advertising in your favorite shows or movies? We have — and we love it.
After a week of vacationing, I – like many summer travelers this year – contracted Covid-19. Feeling sick and super sleepy, I passed the time like any media loving millennial would — starting (and finishing) a new show. I decided to watch The Boys on Amazon Video. I had heard a lot about the show, I think my Covid diagnosis was around the same time as their season 3 premiere – so their advertising must have worked on me. All in all, I enjoyed the show! A little dark and a lot funny, if you like satire. It was exactly what I needed to get me through a week of feeling sick.
As I was binging through 3 seasons at an unhealthy pace, I started to notice all of the fictional advertisements throughout the series and they were fantastic. Not only were the ads featured hilarious and incredibly entertaining, they helped build out the fictional world they live in. You get a fuller, more complete picture of what a world with The Seven and Vought International would really look like.
Some of my favorites?
The A-Train energy drink ad was scene for scene, an iconic rip off parody of the Kendall Jenner Pepsi fail of 2017.
The too-real PSA on what to do if a supervillain attacks your school hits a nerve that makes it comical, yet depressing at the same time.
How many real world parodies can you spot in this Vought Plus commercial?
And don't forget, all of the perfectly placed movie posters, TV promos, and fictional TV channels based around the superheroes and Vought International, including “Voughtemundo!”, seemingly The Boys’ version of Telemundo.
The Boys isn’t the first to use fictional ads. In fact, it’s a fairly common tool, and when done right, can add incredible depth to the show/movie. I asked the Mattered team what fictional ads they could recall from other shows or movies — here’s what they came up with.
Back to the Future II
Marty McFly heads to the future – and he’s presented with wall to wall advertisements, including an animatronic Texaco bot and the unforgettable Jaws 19 shark hologram (that still looks fake).
Another 80’s classic, Ghostbusters features a TV commercial for the one and only ghost fighting team themselves.
Better Call Saul
Throughout the series, Jimmy produces low-budget commercials that lead to some very memorable clips.
Once upon a time in Hollywood - Red Apple
Red Apple is a fictional brand that has appeared in multiple Tarantino movies, including Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, and The Hateful Eight.
From Toy Story and Halloween 3 to Beetlejuice and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, fictional advertisements have been enhancing the story on the screen for decades. Sometimes they are even better than the film/show themselves — and many times, much more memorable than real world advertisements. One thing creatives truly love is experiencing someone else's creativity — it inspires us to try and be even more creative the next time we tackle a project.
Care to share some of your favorite fictional advertisements? We’d love to hear from you!