TALLADEGA NIGHTS: “The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”

“Dear lord baby Jesus, or as our brothers to the South call you, Jes’us  . . . We thank you so much for this bountiful harvest of Domino’s, KFC . . . and always delicious Taco Bell. . . .  and thank you for two beautiful, beautiful, handsome, striking sons . . . Walker and Texas Ranger”.  This meal-time blessing dialogue came out of a scene from the humorous spoof on NASCAR racing movie called TALLADEGA NIGHTS: “The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”, starring Will Ferrell and John Reilly.  This movie was saturated with product brands and logos, occurring in both the dialogue and plot’s placement.   Will Ferrell wrote into the script mentioning all kinds of brands and Logos, in order to poke fun at the sponsors on the NASCAR level.  In this particular movie, advertisement was free  and many companies more than likely did benefit financially simply due to product placement of their product. (Lester, P.M, pg. 82, 2011)

Accordingly to our text, product placement is “ showing a product and having the product used as part of the show’s plot”.  For example, some viewers can become frustrated with the constant bombardment  of commercials during a regular television program viewing.  It may also be noticed with other media methods as well, like broad cast news, radio etc.   For those who dislike advertisements breaking up their regular viewing or listening process, thanks to technology, we can by-pass those pesky commercials with satellite TV receivers or TiVo or mp3 recorder.  With technology, we are given more choice what programs we want to see and hear  and when and how we want to see or hear them.  Regardless if one likes or does not like commercials/advertisements, regular television or radio programs need sponsors funding their programs and sponsors use a particular TV or radio program as an avenue to advertise their products and profit by it.  Movies are another indirect method companies can use to advertise their product to the mass public, as in the case mentioned earlier, the movie TALLADEGA: “The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”. (Lester, P.M, pg.81-83, 2011) (IMDB, 2012) (realityfanforum.com, 2012) (hortonmotorsports.info, 2012)

In movies, product placement is integrated into the film in a seamless fashion, whereby, the viewers see   the product or may hear of the product through means of the movie’s plot and/or dialogue. This type of ‘not-in-your-face’ advertisement, allows viewers to remain captive in the story’s progression, while at the same time, targeting them with through brand placement.  The company’s clever and indirect method uses  product placement as a prop that is significant to the story line.  For the NASCAR enthusiast and/or those who enjoy Will Ferrell, or for those just looking for hidden brand placements, this movie TALLADEGA  meets the requirement. (IMDB, 2012) (realityfanforum.com, 2012) (hortonmotorsports.info, 2012)

From the beginning  and throughout the movie, various company brand and logos are seen.  There are so many, it is hard to count.  Each NASCAR race car has a primary sponsor, along with other brand-names and logos.  Decals are used as  brand placement on  each race car and are printed on the each driver’s fire-proof jump-suit and helmet.  Some brand placements observed on the race cars are the following: Penzoil, Havoline and Dodge, McDonald’s, Kodak,Tide, Old Spice ( Ricky Bobby’s best friend and competitor Cal Naughton/ John Reilly), Perrier (Ricky Bobby’s French fierce rival)  and Ricky Bobby’s (Will Ferrell’s character) race car’s is“WONDER”.   Other printed logos and brand names are noticed on Ricky’s  suit, such as “Good-Year”, “Dennit Racing”, and “Power Ade”.  On Ricky’s car, several other brands and logos were noticed, which are the following:  “3M”, “Budweiser”, “Mobile One”, “ EA Sports” (Electronic Arts), “Gillett”, and “USG” (United States Gypsum/ Fortune 500 company. (IMDB, 2012) (realityfanforum.com, 2012) (hortonmotorsports.info, 2012)

One great scene scanned the contents of the meal served on the table where the meal-blessing was quoted from at the beginning of this paper.  The meal consist of “Wonder bread”, “Power Ade”, “County Crock”, “Coca Cola”, and “Budweiser” along what was mentioned in the quoted grace mentioned earlier.  Some of the characters sitting around the table also each had a brand and logo printed on their jacket.  John Reilly’s character (Cal) had “Old Spice” on his jacket and Will Farrell’s character (Ricky) and his two sons character’s ( Walker and Texas Ranger) had “Power Ade” printed on their jackets. (IMDB, 2012) (realityfanforum.com, 2012) (hortonmotorsports.info, 2012)

At the “Pit Stop” bar scene some other brands and logos were introduced such as Target’s  Logo, M&M candy and “Citi financial”.  At the race track, emergency crew wore “Lowe’s” printed on the back of their jackets while such brands as “Subway”, “Visa”, “3M” and “Ford” were observed on the race track side boards and pit stops.   Applebee’s restaurant was introduced in another scene as a special place to “go out with the whole family . . .  and have a gourmet meal”.  Another scene took place in a mechanic’s shop where “Craftsman Professional” was on display on the back wall of the scene.  Early in the movie, viewers were acquainted with Ricky and Cal’s motto “Shake and Bake” that represented loyalty to each other, however this motto changed at the end of the movie after Cal wins his first NASCAR 500 race.  Cal became “Magic Man” and Ricky became “El Diablo”.   When Cal ask Ricky what ‘Diablo’ meant, Ricky states, “Its Spanish for a fighting chicken”. (IMDB, 2012) (realityfanforum.com, 2012) (hortonmotorsports.info, 2012)



Lester, P.M. (2011) Visual Perception

(pp. 82), Visual communication, images with messages, 5th edition, Wadsworth Cengage,   printed in United States


Lester, P.M. (2011) Visual Perception

(pp. 81-83), Visual communication, images with messages, 5th edition, Wadsworth Cengage,   printed in United States

Anonymous  (2012) TALLADEGA  Ballet of Ricky Bobby


Received April 22, 2012 from IMDB website


Anonymous  (2012)  Ricky Bobby NASCAR suit (JPEG)


Received April 22, 2012 from realityfanforum website



Anonymous  (2012)  Ricky Bobby race car (JPEG)


Received April 22, 2012 from hotonmotorsports.info website



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