What ad campaigns have been adapted into feature films?
May 4, 2008 11:22 PM   Subscribe

I just saw the trailer for the ostensibly terrible Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher vehicle, "What Happens in Vegas." Can anyone tell me if this is the first time that an ad campaign has been adapted into a feature film? I'd also like some background information about the ads themselves. Who is responsible for them? Where and when did the expression "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" originate?
posted by PM to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
In answer to your first question, the Transformers movie springs to mind as an example of a feature length advertisement. Probably plenty of other kids' movies too.
posted by nomis at 11:32 PM on May 4, 2008

I'm confused about your question- they didn't really adapt an ad campaign into a movie, at least not in the tradition sense of adapting. The saying "what happens in vegas stays in vegas" preceded the ad campaign. It was such a common saying that the Las Vegas tourism board decided to embrace it for TV ads. I'm assuming the tourism board is either a group of casinos or is funded by city taxes to increase tourism to Vegas.

Maybe the writer or creative executive was inspired by the campaign to come up with a Las Vegas movie, or maybe they just had a Vegas script and pasted the title on after the fact.
posted by sharkfu at 11:36 PM on May 4, 2008

Best answer: Not a feature film, but your question made me think of ABC's failed attempt to turn GEICO's caveman ad campaign into the premise for a sitcom.
posted by emelenjr at 11:36 PM on May 4, 2008

Best answer: The Ernest films.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 12:04 AM on May 5, 2008 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Background information about the ads: the WHIV campaign was developed by R&R Partners, Inc., for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. There was some legal scuffling over trademarking the phrase, as variations of What Happens in X Stays in X has been part of many local vernaculars and even trademarked by others prior to LVCVA's campaign, which launched in 2004. Given that WHIV is a service-marked phrase, using it as a title for a movie would have required it clearing both 20th Century Fox's and LVCVA's legal departments and the deal was no doubt seen as a good cross-sell opportunity.
posted by jamaro at 12:22 AM on May 5, 2008

Not from Hollywood, but a series of Kit Kat ads were the basis of Hana and Alice. (Really good film, by the way.)
posted by Xere at 2:27 AM on May 5, 2008

In answer to your first question, the Transformers movie springs to mind as an example of a feature length advertisement.

The Transformers were a toy first, so that's not entirely accurate. I'm not sure if Care Bear or My Little Pony was a toy as well first, but my gut tells me that most toy examples you can think of came before the advertising campaigns and movies (and lunchboxes, and breakfast cereals, and bed sheets, and underwear, and soap, and toothpaste, and...)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:40 AM on May 5, 2008

Mac and me.
posted by the dief at 3:42 AM on May 5, 2008

A search on imdb.com bring up this list.
posted by sapphirebbw at 3:54 AM on May 5, 2008

You've got Mail?
posted by psmealey at 5:42 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Johnny English: The character of Johnny English himself is based on a similar character called Richard Latham who was played by [rowan] Atkinson in a series of British television advertisements for [credit card company] Barclaycard. The character of Bough (pronounced 'Boff') was retained from the advertisements though another actor, Henry Naylor, played the part in the ads. Some of the gags from the advertisements made it into the film, including English incorrectly identifying a waiter, and the ballpoint pen scene (Latham inadvertently 'shot' himself with a tranquilizer dart which fired from the gadget pen when Latham attempted to use it during a demonstration to a class of spy recruits, saying as he collapsed "take over for a Bough, will you moment?").
posted by dash_slot- at 5:42 AM on May 5, 2008

Cast Away was a big FedEx commercial with Tom Hanks crashing a FedEx plane and, being stranded on an island, FedEx packages kept washing up on shore.

Wikipedia: "Cast Away is a 2000 film by 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks about a FedEx employee who..."

posted by cda at 6:18 AM on May 5, 2008

Diamonds Are Forever; the links between De Beers's 1947 slogan and Ian Fleming are not obvious, but if you scroll down this article to the section "Historical gems" you will find a synopsis of the relationship between Fleming and the security branch of the diamond cartel that led to Fleming writing a series of newspaper articles and the book "The Diamond Smugglers" in addition to the Bond novel, which eventually became the movie.
posted by TedW at 7:05 AM on May 5, 2008

There were a couple of made for tv movies about the California Raisins, characters which were originally created for tv commercials to advertise, well, California raisins.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:31 AM on May 5, 2008

Not a movie, but the Noid from Domino's Pizza starred in two games.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:25 AM on May 5, 2008

Breakfast of Champions was a cereal slogan, then a book title, then a movie.
posted by ManInSuit at 8:36 AM on May 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

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