Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Commentary: Product Placement

The product placement in two of my favorite TV shows to watch with my wife is getting ridiculous. Both Castle and Bones, on different networks, frequently feature the main characters using Windows phones with close-ups on the phone screen and the user interface. Smallville did the Windows phone rather blatantly in one episode as well, but I haven’t noticed it as obvious lately. Bones is even worse about product placement beyond the WinPhone, with the titular character driving a Prius and extolling its virtues to her partner: it’s gas mileage and it parks itself.


Product placement can be integrated unobtrusively into television programs. A quick Google search shows that Glee has (or might have) product placement for shoes and pianos. I didn’t notice, because the camera didn’t linger on those items for too long, and the characters didn’t break the 4th wall by practically reading an advertisement script about the product.


Other times, product placement is blatant, but I find it acceptable as an obvious sponsor of the program – such as the Coke cups the judges used on American Idol the last time I watched several seasons back. It’s bad enough broadcast television has to rely on commercial breaks to keep programs on the air, but lazy product placement too?


I’d write more, but I need to kick off my Nikes, pop open a Coke, and order some Dominos Pizza using my AT&T iPhone that I purchased from Best Buy.





(I don’t actually have Nikes or an iPhone…)



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