Product Placement

The combination of a discussion on advertising with my roommate and this week’s Leverage brought this post about. Product placement is just something that shows have to deal with now in order to get money, for show-making. The thing that ultimately decides if I like the product placement or not is how exactlyleverage-toblerone it’s worked into the show. Take this week’s Leverage, the Toblerone bar was a hilarious little bit as well as a shameless plug, so I liked it.

Two other examples of product placement I really liked are from 30 Rock and How I Met Your Mother, though they’re from opposite ends of the dealing with product placement spectrum. In 30 Rock they were actually discussing product placement in the show, when they started to drink and talk about Snapple, working it in as a joke much like the Toblerone. With HIMYM, I didn’t actually realize it was specific product placement until I was watching commentary for the episode. Barney finds out his brother is in a relationship, and grabs his phone from him to look atchloes-laptop the wallpaper to finds  picture of his brother and his boyfriend (thus confirming the relationship). In this case they actually wrote the product placement into the script in an unobtrusive way, which is really cool.

There’s some product placement that falls into the meh category, such as Lex and Chloe’s laptops on Smallville. Laptops always have logos on the back, it wold be more jarring if they were blanked out or camouflaged in some way. I’m fine with Chloe having a Dell. The same goes for cars (see Chloe again), at least up to a point. When every car in a show is from the same company it gets annoying, but for the most part things like cars and computers don’t bother me.

Of course sometimes product placement is done really terribly. The best example of truly horrible placement in recent memory is the redemption-nextelcell phones in 24: Redemption. In one scene Robert Carlyle was driving and talking on his phone, and they shot it so he was holding the phone facing directly into the camera the whole time, with NEXTEL quite obvious. The last few seasons of 24 have been pretty bad with the phone placement.

Out of all these examples I’ve listed HIMYM is the one I hope to see replicated in the future, working the products into the show’s story so that their inclusion doesn’t seem obvious or turn the show into a commercial. We’ll see if people are clever enough to pull this off.



~ by Jerk on January 29, 2009.

4 Responses to “Product Placement”

  1. I can’t believe you left out Stride! I caught a Dr Pepper ad on.. i think it was Greys last week and Hardison is always drinking Orange Jones Soda’s.

    I’m with you, it can be almost an easter egg if they do it properly. Oh and Sam Winchester’s computer is never a product not to say they’ve never had one.

  2. Hardisons product placement of jones soda is an interesting one. It is obvious that he is drinking them all the time, but I can’t recall ever seeing the label displayed in an episode.

    As far as car advertisements go, the absolute worst one is the GM freeway chase in the Matrix reloaded.

    An interseting twist to product placement is Big Bang Theory and their anti-approach. Sure there was the Age of Conan and Wii bowling that has fit in well (there is also a Halo 3 SE mask in the background of the apartment, but what I find funny is they didn’t get a soft drink sponsor so they have very nice replica cans in a lot of scenes.

    I like this choice because it doesn’t limit them to either Coke or Pepsi and add an authenticity to the show.

  3. I noticed that too! It wasn’t the label I recognized really.. The orange pop’s in the little online game thingy too.

    True Blood had Wii Golf in it too. That made me laugh.

  4. I can’t believe I forgot Stride either. That was the worst product placement EVER.

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