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At the beginning of the original Ghostbusters movie, right after they get kicked out of the University, Venkman walks up to Egon and says "You.... you've earned this." and hands him a Nestle Crunch bar. Ray shoots them both a knowing glance with a smile.

enter image description here

Anyone know the reasoning behind this?

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    A wink at Product Placement maybe? Sep 16, 2014 at 23:20
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    @MeatTrademark - More like straight product placement; brandspotters.com/movie.aspx?id=292. No winking required.
    – Valorum
    Sep 16, 2014 at 23:41
  • There's some wild speculation here about whether Egon simply had a thing for junk food. However, though it's been a while since I've seen the movie, I think I agree with Richard and meat that it's merely product placement in the guise of a silly moment to end the scene. Sep 16, 2014 at 23:48
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    In universe, I always assumed it was basic conditioning. 'Do something good, get a treat' -- despite being something we associate with training pets, it's often used (at least in fiction) on the very intelligent -- Sheldon Cooper has it done to him, for example on The Big Bang Theory -- and Egon DOES seem to have enough oddness to him that they may be trying to use reward stimulation to train him into certain behaviors.
    – K-H-W
    Sep 16, 2014 at 23:49
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    Incidentally, it was before they got kicked out of the University; it was after they had interacted with the Library ghost. I assumed the good behavior being reinforced was Egon's coming up with a commercially viable idea.
    – K-H-W
    Sep 17, 2014 at 0:01

3 Answers 3

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This was almost certainly a deliberate and paid-for 'product placement' by the filmmakers. Along with the Nestlé bar, there were also prominent and unsubtle placements of Coca Cola, Perrier, Cheez-its, Budweiser beer, real-world magazines, newspapers and pharmaceuticals ("Do you have any Excedrin or extra strength Tylenol?", "That's a very big twinkie", etc).

enter image description here

Interestingly, in the two official novelisations the bar was changed to a Baby Ruth in one, and unnamed in the other.

Venkman reached into his pocket. “Egon, I take back every bad thing I ever said about you. Here.” He held up a candy bar. Egon smiled delightedly and reached for it, but Venkman pulled it back. They looked at each other for a moment, then Venkman pressed it into his hands. “You earned it . . .”

“Baby Ruth,” Spengler said reverently, ripping off the paper and cramming it into his face. “Gooomph!”

In the comic series, Egon's favourite bar is replaced with a "chomp" bar, identical in size, shape, colouration and font to the Nestlé product but with a slightly different (and generic) name.

enter image description here

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  • I'm willing to buy this as an answer. I just always thought there was far too much in the scene for it to be a simple product placement.
    – krillgar
    Sep 17, 2014 at 0:21
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    This answer is as refreshing as a cool Pepsi™ on a hot summer's day! Sep 17, 2014 at 1:09
  • @krillgar -- I think you are right, actually. Despite the answer being correct, Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis wrote Ghostbusters-- even if they included it for Product Placement, given how they seem to think, I think it was meant to be a small plot / character 'flavor' point anyway.
    – K-H-W
    Sep 17, 2014 at 2:04
  • The "chomp" bar is a chocolate bar made by cadburys ;) Sep 18, 2014 at 12:34
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Spengler constantly snacking was a character trait origninally conceived by the writers.

In the DVD commentary, Director Ivan Reitman, writer/actor Harold Ramis, and associate producer Joe Medjuck are talking during the during the "Twinkie" scene, after Venkman is visited by Walter Peck.

Upon seeing the Twinkie, Harold Ramis comments:

Ramis: ... we also had this notion that Spengler snacks constantly.

Medjuck: I noticed that! He gets offered a chocolate bar at the beginning.

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  • An interesting find. He doesn't really show this trait for the remainder of the film series.
    – Valorum
    Jul 20, 2016 at 0:13
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Harold Ramis and Bill Murray did several movies together Meatballs, Ghostbusters I & II, Caddyshack, Stripes, and Groundhog Day.

The candy bar scene in Ghostbusters was a reference to a scene in Caddyshack. The prank with the candy bar in Caddyshack was based on a event that Bill Murray experienced as a kid. Dan Aykroyd's laugh at the scene is genuine because the action is totally improvised by Bill Murray.

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    Welcome to SFF:SE. This is an interesting answer. Can you back it up with any sources?
    – Politank-Z
    May 3, 2018 at 1:49
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    Welcome! I would love to hear more about that story.
    – krillgar
    May 3, 2018 at 11:48

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