Watch: Michael Bay is the George Orwell of Product Placement

Say what you want about Michael Bay, but you could learn a thing or two from him about attracting sponsors.

Making a movie costs money, period. It doesn't matter if you're just starting out, reaching out across crowdfunding platforms to shoot your first short, or if you're at the head of a tentpole studio action blockbuster. Any way you shake it, you've got to find a way to get your project made.

As such, one of the first things aspiring producers learn to look for in scripts is their potential to chalk up some extra cash. Oftentimes, these opportunities come in the form of product placement from giant corporations looking to advertise.

Bay has placed a product somewhere within the frame of a shot a whopping 555 times.

And no one is better at product placement than Michael Bay. So, while Bay is never really going to be in the conversation for "greatest living director," perhaps he is indeed in the running for "greatest director/producer of all time."

Bay lacks just as much subtlety in product placement as he does in directing, but perhaps that's what allows him to rack up the budgets for his $100 million blockbusters. The good people at Screencrush set out on a mission to find just how many times Bay has advertised products in his 20-something year career as a director, and the number they came up with is pretty astounding. 

All in all, Screencrush found Bay has placed a product somewhere within the frame of a shot a whopping 555 times. The last 200 alone seem to come from the Transformer series—and this grand total doesn't even include the latest installment, Transformers: The Last Knight, which came out about a week ago. The video, which displays only the briefest snippets of scenes to highlight the placements, somehow still boasts a 12-minute runtime.

Bay started off as a commercial director, and many of the companies we see in his films return almost like recurring characters. Budweiser, Sony, Pepsi, and Chevrolet pop up again and again, so it's safe to say there is a relationship there. As Screen Crush comments, "It's sometimes hard to tell where the commercials end and the movies begin."       

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He's also the Ed Wood of blockbusters.

June 26, 2017 at 8:40PM

Henry Barnill
Director of Photography

Not sure if comparing a crowdfunded indiefilm to product placement in a Michael Bay movie is the same. Of of these is straight up capitalism and has nothing to do with the realization of the picture itself.

June 27, 2017 at 3:09AM


I really, really don't understand the headline. What has George Orwell got to do with anything? Is there a way to reverse the equivalence? as in,

if Michael Bay is the George Orwell of Product placement,

then George Orwell is the Michael Bay of _?_

What? Scathing political writers? Sickly Englishmen? Social commentators? Champions of prose clarity? Is the intended meaning that Bay is as clear and straight forward with the product placement as Orwell is with his opinions? I'm really stretching here...

June 27, 2017 at 6:41AM


Orwell's writing style is best known for it's clarity and straightforwardness. That seems to be the point. Look up his six rules for writers.

June 27, 2017 at 10:29AM


Thank you for circling the title picture.
Otherwise I would have overlooked the subtle product placement in that.

June 27, 2017 at 10:23AM, Edited June 27, 10:23AM

Steadicam Operator/Owner

I think you meant Orson Welles, not George Orwell. Because that makes a little bit of sense instead of none whatsoever.

July 2, 2017 at 7:47PM


I find it funny people criticising the Transformers movies for product placement. The whole thing is an advert for a toy company. The original series was commissioned by Hasbro and Tomy.

July 30, 2017 at 4:38AM