NEW YORK – Product placement has come a long way since E.T. got his long, skinny fingers on Reeses Pieces.
Firms vie to peddle their goods not only in movies and TV shows, but also in video games -- and even books.
Now come the first-ever Product Placement Awards.
"Product placement is increasingly becoming a more relevant way for marketers to reach consumers," says Anthony Dever, who organized the Australian-based honors using judges in the marketing, entertainment and ad fields from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.
While the award winners may not be crazy about this kind of attention, their corporate sponsors aren't complaining:
1) Minority Report
Lexus designed a futuristic car for Steven Spielberg's sci-fi thriller, which also promoted Nokia, Oakley, Reebok, Burger King, the Gap, American Express and others.
2) Die Another Day
Some wags dubbed the Bond flick "Buy Another Day" for its blatant rollout of cars -- Aston Martin Vanquish, Ford Thunderbirds, Jaguars -- a newly favored vodka (Finlandia), Omega watches and a shopping list of other goodies.
3) The Sims Online
You'll find Intel's logo all over the game, while the characters chomp on McDonald's chow. Want some virtual french fries while you wait for a download?
4) Liberation Day
British novelist Andy McNab loaded his latest thriller with mentions of Traser U.K.'s Swiss-made watch -- and collected about $150,000 for the plug, in a deal widely criticized by the literary crowd.
The box-office beauty took place in New York, land of giant billboards. What better way to place an ad in the film than to digitally alter real signs to fit in ads for Cingular, Hershey, Kellogg's and USA Today.
Jaguar scored bigger than Beyonce Knowles' afro with its starring role in this year's Austin Powers installment.
7) My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Windex cleans up in this little film that could, since the bride's Greek father uses it as a cure-all for everything from warts to baldness.
8) All My Children
For three months, Revlon paid several million dollars to be written into the story line of ABC's soap operas. The cosmetics giant had a starring part as a rival to the fictitious "Enchantment" makeup line run by Susan Lucci's Erica Kane.
In Australia, the Mars candy company released a hit CD single titled "Get Your Juices Going." It reached No. 28 on the charts there.
10) American Idol
The amateur talent show was the real thing as far as Coca-Cola was concerned -- with frequently seen curvy red, logo-like couches in the waiting room for contestants.