One prediction made in Demolition Man—that the only restaurant chain to survive the ”franchise wars” into the year 2030 will be Taco Bell—isn’t based on a prophetic hunch. Fact is, the burrito factory made it into the script of the Sylvester Stallone-Wesley Snipes movie for lack of competition.
”Other chains wouldn’t do a tie-in with an R-rated movie,” says Jonathan Lemkin, an uncredited writer on the film. Taco Bell, on the other hand, had no such reservations. ”The demographics of our most frequent customers (males 18-34) match their audience,” says company spokeswoman Janis Smith.
This arrangement may mark the future of product placement. ”The trend is not (for advertisers) to pay fees but to piggyback promotions,” says Eric Dahlquist, president of the Vista Group, which helped GM plant futuristic cars in the film. What’s ”unusual about Man…(is) that these arrangements were set up when the script was first in review.”
Adds Karen Brown, research director at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for the Study of Commercialism, ”The only way to get entertainment these days is to buy into a marketing plan. That’s unfortunate.”