Product tie-ins have long been a staple for TV shows and movies. While this is sometimes done to great success, other times the greedy executives at production companies and TV networks result in watered-down products of Krusty-the-Klown proportions. Below are 12 of the worst TV and movie product tie-ins of all-time.
Photo credit: sylvar, Flickr
12 McDonald’s Clone Wars Toys
In theory, the idea of bringing Clone Wars toys to McDonald’s is a great idea. However, one look at these toys and you’ll realize just how much of a disaster they are. The giant head/tiny vehicle idea just smacks of ugliness and results in hardly any actual play value for the kiddoes. Great job, McDonald’s, for giving a full 30 percent on this one.
11 Bill and Ted’s Excellent Cereal
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, Ralston Purina was the king of the food industry when it came to poor product tie-ins (I guess that’s what you get when a dog food company attempts to make food for humans). Anyway, despite being based off the “wildly popular” Bill and Ted’s Saturday morning cartoon, it’s not hard to see why the cereal didn’t last long. Somehow, I don’t think the fact that the cereal pieces were shaped like Kibbles n Bits helped the product’s cause.
10 Shaq Fu
Shaq Fu isn’t a direct TV tie-in, but it did rely heavily on the daily television coverage of the main character – Shaquille O’Neal. Generally regarded as one of the worst video games of all time, the game begins by having Shaq slip into an alternate dimension while on his way to a charity basketball game. From this awful beginning, the game only gets worse.
9 G.I. Joe Shampoo
Apparently, real American heroes really dig having brilliant and bouncy hair. Back in the 80s – at the peak of popularity for the G.I. Joe cartoon – these poorly marketed products attempted to get little boys everywhere worked into a lather about looking their Sunday best. Never mind the fact that every Joe on the packaging is wearing a hat or helmet.
8 Star Trek Waffles
Eggo recently released an entire line of Limited Edition Star Trek waffles. The series boasted 25 different images, icons and phrases from the classic series. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think the idea of pouring syrup all over Captain Kirk and eating him with a side of eggs is all that appetizing of an idea. In the words Mr. Spock, this product tie-in is far from logical.
7 Spiderman Raid
Raid thought they were being creative when they ran a print ad that featured a presumably dead Spider-Man next to a can of Raid. In a way, the tie-in makes sense. However, in a much more disturbing way, the idea of KILLING everyone’s favorite web-slinging superhero doesn’t do much to increase brand identity. Stick to killing animated cockroaches, Raid.
6 ALF Burger King Records
ALF – the cat-eating alien – rolled into Burger King in the late 1980s. Unfortunately, the powers that be decided to inject ALF into the Burger King experience via musical record. The records include such classic songs as “Melmac Rock” and “Take Me, Alf, To the Ballgame.” If anyone actually wanted to hear ALF sing before these records came out, they certainly didn’t after they listened to them.
5 Rocky “The Meat” Action Figure
According to toy maker Jakks Pacific, the meat that Rocky Balboa uses to train with isn’t just a toy accessory – is a full-fledged action figure. While I admire the apparent attempt at humor here, the joke is a lot better in theory than in practice. I can’t imagine any kid actually getting excited about picking up this ridiculous product.
4 Sherlock Holmes at 7-11
I think it’s pretty safe to say that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never expected the legendary Sherlock Holmes to be found peddling 99-cent taquitos for a worldwide convenience store. However, such a sad movie tie-in took place with the 2009 release of the Sherlock Holmes movie. I’m not sure what fried sticks of meat have to do with solving mysteries in Industrial London – perhaps the marketing team at Warner Bros. should take their own advice and “Get a clue.”
Ralston makes the list again with perhaps the worst cereal idea of all time. Urkel-Os were based off the mega success of nerd extraordinaire Steve Urkel. Beyond the association with Urkel, the folks at Ralston didn’t put much thought into the cereal (marketing materials referred to the cereal as a “fun, circle-shaped product!”).
2 McDonald’s Oz Dolls
Back in 2007, McDonald’s decided to strike while the iron was hot and release a series of Wizard of Oz toys (a movie more than 70 years old). Given the timeless appeal of the movie, it’s safe to say that the toys could have still done okay. However, the choice to commission Madame Alexander to design the toys proved disastrous. Much like the Clone Wars toys that would soon be released, these Oz dolls were frighteningly creepy.
1 Star Trek Casket
Only most dedicated (and nerdy) of Star Trek geeks could ever get excited about being beamed up to heaven courtesy of a replica Star Trek coffin. Based off of the “Photon Torpedo” coffin used in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, this is the ultimate WTF product tie-in. However, for the manufacturer – Eternal Image – such a geeky product seems par for the course. They also sell Star Trek urns and burial products that feature your favorite MLB baseball team.
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