Monday, November 24, 2008

really? you want me to buy your product?

Product placement on TV is getting ridiculous. I remember the days when sitcom families wouldn't have real brands of pop or potato chips. I found it distracting and fake. But now, it seems like every show is promoting a particular brand or five . . . which is just as distracting and fake.

Everyone knows the American Idol judges drink Coke. And anyone who watches The Amazing Race would be, well, as stupid as some of this season's teams if they didn't realize Travelocity sponsors the show. While reality shows have the most product placement, sitcoms, dramas, and tv movies aren't exempt.

Sometimes the placement works well, like when Michael gave away an iPod at The Office's Christmas party. I totally believe that's something Michael would do.

Sometimes it's not quite so seamless. On the current season of Psych, Steph and I started playing "who's today's Psych sponsor?" Dunkin' Donuts and Red Robin, for starters. The writers at least attempted to make it fit into the story, sometimes with better results than others.

And sometimes it's so blatant it's ridiculous. I was just watching this cheesy Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel. As they get to the big, climactic moment of the movie, the music swells, and the lead pulls a ring box out of his pocket. The camera zeroes in on the lid, which proclaims "Kay Jewelers." He opens the box, and the inside also screams "Kay Jewelers." I get that "every kiss begins with Kay," but seriously! Not that I have any reason to visit a jewelry store, but that placement made me less likely to consider Kay because it was just plain annoying.


  1. Thank you for writing this! I totally agree with your first paragraph.

    Remember when Michael Scott went to Sandals all inclusive beach resort? They sponsored the show.

    At least the woman receiving the ring didn't respond with "Oh, wow, Kay Jewelers!!" ha ha.

    I just watched last week's episode of 90210 (go ahead and make fun), and one girl needed another girl to program her Sidekick. They did a huge awkward closeup when she opened it and revealed "T-Mobile Sidekick". It made me want to throw up.

  2. Also, Chili's and Benihana on The Office. :)

  3. I agree with you on all accounts. :) I have noticed all the product placement in recent years and I'm afraid it will only get worse as more people get DVR's.
    I have pretty much gotten used to seeing products placed, but not until last week did I see a MOVIE being advertised in a sitcom. On Samantha Who? Samantha's friend went on and on about how hot Hugh Jackman was in the movie Australia....sure enough the next commercial break had an extended preview for Australia.
    I don't know if advertisers and writers realize that the audience is not dumb. We don't have to have the product on camera for 90 seconds for us to realize they are a sponser. A 3 second glance is long enough.


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