Happy Gilmore

30 Dec


For my first entry, I wanted to start with the movie I recognized Branded Entertainment in, Happy Gilmore. I know it’s from the 90s and I promised current blockbusters, but I think this is a good exception. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Abob_barker_happy_gilmorerguably one of Adam Sandler’s best movies.
  2. Bob Barker, original host of The Price is Right, makes an epic cameo appearance.
  3. It’s the perfect movie to practice brand spotting [I spy what they want you to buy].


I counted sixteen different brands in a recent viewing but was distracted by all the one-liners [The Price is wrong B$$$H] so ther might have been even more! Here is what I saw:

•AT&T    •Bell Atlantic    •ESPN    •Golf Digest    •Top Flite    •Odyssey golf     •Wilson     •Pepsi        •Budweiser    •Michelob        •Visa         •Sizzler                 •Red Lobster      •Honda and…      •VOLKSWAGEN!

I bet you spotted at least one of these brands when you watched the movie but if you didn’t, I guarantee you noticed SUBWAYs presence. With seven different appearances throughout the movie and one fifteen second commercial, they must have paid for a substantial chunk of the movie’s expenses; the brand’s role was bigger than Allen Covert’s!Allen Covert

Critics, like Roger Ebert, have complained about the Subway spotlights, saying they obstructed the overall viewing pleasure, so I wanted to give this classic back some of the honor it deserves. The intended audience for the movie is males in their teens and twenties. For this demographic, comedy is all about one-liners and outrageous jackass-tic concepts. Bob Barker beats down Adam Sandler, the meestah meestah lady jumps on a moving car/gets crushed by an air conditioner, and Happy goes crazy on a mechanic clown. The audience had more than their fill of comedy and Subway found their own way of feed off this.

happygilmore_1996The pseudo-commercial for Subway that takes place half way through the movie was both necessary to the plot and complimentary to the film. Happy had been suspended from the tour and needed an alternative source of money to save his Grandma’s house. He could have earned that money a number different ways but Subway earned the rights to this plug with their outrageous idea. Teeing up a sub and driving it down someone’s throat shouldn’t be anyone’s idea of a realistic TV commercial, it’s more like satire you would see on SNL. Subway and the producers of the movie took a risk by throwing regular placement subtleties out the window to try something different. It was bold, but they did is shamelessly so it went along well with the rest of the movie’s humor. I can’t think of many other movies [Wayne’s World] that have had the guts to try something this absurd. Give credit where credit is due!

You have to admit that Subway foot-long Happy is holding in the commercial looks extremely delicious. I’ve seen the movie so many times now, the only words that do it justice are the ones Happy uses: Fresh, delicious, tasty, neaty. I had never tried Subway or even heard about it at the time I first saw this movie, but it certainly made my mouth water and taste buds curious. Roger Ebert felt the same way. In his review of the film he made the following comment, “Halfway through the movie, I…know what I wanted more (of): …mustard” [Check this link if you don’t believe me].


Last Word

In the 90s, the sandwich industry was a rapidly growing market with competitors like Quiznos and Blimpie all looking to get a piece of the action. That cold cut combo from the commercial spinoff gave Subway something that other companies weren’t getting, mass brand recognition. According to Subway’s Website, the audience’s demographic falls perfectly into their target market. Like Mr. Ebert and myself, I’m sure the movie-screen-sized foot long appealed to plenty of other people’s appetites.

Who’s up for replacing Jared with Happy Gilmore in Subway’s Super Bowl commercial this year?

Talk about a hole in one.

happy gilmore

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