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In the documentary "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" (a film specifically about the topic of product placement), director Morgan Spurlock notes that one of the first recognized product placements was in the 1919 Roscoe Arbuckle comedy The Garage, in which a Red Crown Gasoline logo was displayed on screen. I expect watching the documentary would more than ...
Wikipedia has a list of examples. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_placement#Product_placement_in_movies And over on Sociological Images there's a video that has a nice summary. http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/03/22/a-history-of-product-placement/
According to Wikipedia, product placement is almost as old as film, showing up even in the 1927 silent film Wings and Fritz Lang's 1932 film M. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_placement#Early_examples
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