What Would Happen If Your Favourite Novels Included Product Placement?

William Boyd got paid a six figure sum to include Land Rover in The Vanishing - is this the beginning of novels getting RUINED?!


by Stevie Martin |
Published on

Following in the footsteps of movies, books are now the latest section of the arts to fall into the product placement vortex, otherwise known as the place in which Brad Pitt pauses fighting zombies in World War Z to take nice sip of cool, cold Pepsi. So cringeworthy, and we don't want our novels to go down the same road - apparently, William Boyd got paid a six figure sum by Land Rover to ensure the protaganist in The Vanishing Game drove, you guessed it, a Honda. Only joking, it was a Land Rover Defender, obviously.

So this has already started happening and we don't know how pervasive it is or how bad it's going to get, which got us thinking about our favourite novels. How shit would they be with added product placement? Via the medium of an incredibly scientific experiment, we inserted brands as sneakily as possible into some famous passages from famous novels - can you spot them?

1984, George Orwell

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him. The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats, so Winston wrinkled his nose and gave the corridor a healthy spritz of Oust. Within seconds, it seemed, the odour had disappeared, leaving a clean fresh smell that reminded him of clouds. He continued down the hallway, feeling a little brighter.

Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his Ikea bed into a monstrous vermin.

READ MORE::a[Think You Don't Have Time To Read Anymore? We Totally Disagree]{href='https://thedebrief.co.uk/2014/10/think-you-don-t-have-time-to-read-anymore-we-totally-disagree' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'}

Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling

'Devil's Snare, Devil's Snare... What did Professor Sprout say? It likes the dark and the damp-' Hermione muttered, moisturising her hands with Nivea Hand Cream.

'So light a fire!' Harry choked.

'Yes - of course - but there's no wood!' Hermione cried, giving him a Strepsil and admiring the smoothness of her palms

'HAVE YOU GONE MAD?' Ron bellowed, holding a Kit Kat. 'ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?'

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife and a bank offering low interest rates such as HSBC.

Fifty Shades Of Grey, E.L James

'You’re a sadist?'

'I’m a Dominant.' His eyes are a scorching gray, intense. I wonder if he uses Optrex.

'What does that mean?' I whisper.

'It means I want you to willingly surrender yourself to me, in all things.'

I frown at him as I try to assimilate this idea.

'Why would I do that?'

'To please me,' he whispers as he cocks his head to one side, and I see a ghost of a smile.

Please him! He wants me to please him! I think my mouth drops open. Please Christian Grey. And I realize, in that moment, that yes, that’s exactly what I want to do. I want him to be damned delighted with me. It’s a revelation. I am wearing Nike trainers.

The Lord Of The Rings, J.R Tolkien

'I am old, Gandalf. I don't look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. Well-preserved indeed! Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can't be right. I need a change, or some Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, or something.'

American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis

'I need to return some videotapes to Blockbuster.'

So, what have we learned throughout this exercise? In short: NO. LEAVE OUR BOOKS ALONE, PLEASE.

Like this? You might also be interested in...

Sick Of All Books Being Referred To As The New Gone Girl? Here Are The Books That Actually Are...

The Autobiographies To Read That Aren't Shit

Life Lessons We Learned From Lena Dunham's New Book

Follow Stevie on Twitter: @5tevieM

Picture: Maggy van Eijk

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us