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Ford is the best at product placement in box office hits

LONDON - Ford has been named the top product placement company, appearing in almost 50% of all US number one films in 2005 including 'Crash' where its Lincoln Navigator is featured, according to US website Brandchannel.

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To tie in with the Academy Awards, online brand magazine Brandchannel has published the results of its second annual Brandcameo Awards to recognise notable product placement in film.

The car company beat Coca-Cola and Apple to take first place. Ford also gets special recognition for appearing in typically brand-lean horror films such as 'Boogeyman', 'The Fog' and 'SAW II'. Pepsi, last year's winner in this category, dropped to seventh place where it joins whisky brand Johnnie Walker.

The survey singles out innovative uses of product placement, as well as the number of appearance. Audi was recognised for the best performance by a product for a part in 'Transporter 2', and Gatorade scored a "lifetime achievement" award for its appearance on screen in the 1974 American football film 'The Longest Yard' and the 2005 remake of the same name.

The best documentary Oscar nominee, 'March of the Penguins', was given an award for achievement because attendance at penguin exhibits in the US increased by record numbers following its release. Other award winners include eBay and Calvin Klein.

In the US, product placement is the fastest growing area of advertising spend and is worth over £1bn a year. Brandchannel tracks brands appearing in top films, as well as independent and foreign language productions. A cross-referenced database lists all the brands that have appeared in 195 films since 2001.

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