TV shows and movies often use brands and product placements. And more often then not, these placements end up giving huge sales boost to the product. That is exactly what happened to Cinnabon as well. This is because the brand featured in the famous prequel series to Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul.
However, what makes this Cinnabon sales boost really interesting is that it happened by accident! And it was not even from Better Call Saul. Jimmy McGill, aka Saul Goodman, ended up working at a Cinnabon in an Omaha mall just because of a single line from the final season of Breaking Bad.
How Jimmy McGill became a Cinnabon manager in Better Call Saul
The season finale of Breaking Bad is one of the finest endings any show has ever had. And it was especially troublesome for Saul Goodman. He hired the services of Ed the Vacuum Repairman to adopt a new identity and leave Albuquerque to save himself from the heat. And when Better Call Saul started, they got to see flashbacks of Jimmy as Gene Takovic, working in a Cinnabon at Omaha.
What’s really funny is that this idea sprang from a simple line Saul Goodman uttered in the episode “Granite State” of Breaking Bad. In it, he told Walter White:
“If I’m lucky, a month from now, best-case scenario, I’m managing a Cinnabon in Omaha.”
And that’s how Jimmy McGill’s fate was sealed. But, you know what’s funnier? The fact that initially, the showrunners only took that Cinnabon line as a joke. They never intended it to be Saul Goodman’s ultimate fate in Better Call Saul.
While talking to USA Today, the showrunner for both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, Peter Gould revealed that the line was just a joke for him. But then, it was just too hard to resist for Gould to not make Cinnabon Jimmy’s permanent destiny. He said:
“I just wrote that scene and it sounded funny, but it never occurred to me in a million years that we’d actually show what we show at the beginning of episode 1 [of Better Call Saul]. Of course, you could always give yourself the out, like, ‘He’s just speculating; he could end up anywhere’. But there was something so darkly delightful and so much fun about actually seeing his words realized, that we found it hard to resist.”
What did Cinnabon think of being associated with the show?
At first, the Cinnabon executives were shocked by hearing their brand’s name on Better Call Saul. Company spokesperson Loryn Franco said:
“We were as shocked as everyone else.”
But later on, they wholeheartedly accepted the product placement. And why wouldn’t they? The name recognition they got from the show was enough to convince Cinnabon. They even created Better Call Saul themed boxes and ran a trend named #SaulSelfie to promote their affiliation.
Even the AMC executives were happy. As Executive Vice-President of marketing Linda Schupack said:
“What’s terrific is Cinnabon is this all-American brand, it’s known to everyone, and it fits with the Saul Goodman character.”
And sure enough, Bob Odenkirk, the actor who plays Jimmy McGill, worked at a Cinnabon as well. Though of course, not for a living. He spent time learning how to work as a Cinnabon employee. Breaking Bad showrunner Vince Gilligan recalled:
“I had an iced-coffee drink Bob made, and it was quite delicious. I think Bob has a second career awaiting him, managing a Cinnabon in real life.”
Better Call Saul has reached its final season. And in those flashbacks from the Cinnabon at Omaha, we might learn what Jimmy McGill’s ultimate fate really was.