The New “Product Placement”

I’m watching the season premiere of 30 Rock and I’m thinking to myself, “Oh, product placement, my how far you’ve come.”

Undercover product placement and sponsorship have been the norm in television and film for as long as I can remember, but shows like 30 Rock and Arrested Development (*sigh*) are throwing this norm out the window. Product placements, i.e. back-to-back MacBook Pros in last night’s 30 Rock, are being used less as a hindrance to writers and more of a comedy additive. Did they even get paid for the Apple nod? Probably not. But is it still funny? Absolutely.

For anyone who can claim to be an Arrested Development fan, we all remember the ridiculous use of Burger King during their last, groveling season on the air and it was great. At this point, I think we can all agree that product placements aren’t fooling anyone (thank you marketing degree for ruining the way I watch anything!).  So, we might as well have a little fun with them. I’m willing to bet that the domain “funkyvintagewallpaper” has received a ridiculous amount of hits in the last 24-hours just because Liz Lemon called it a “cool site.” Well, the joke’s on you folks, because it isn’t even real!

Traditional product placement strategies will no doubt continue to infiltrate our favorite tv shows and films, and I wouldn’t have it any other way (they pay for things, duh!), but it’s also refreshing to see “product placements” taking a new spin within recent years.

One final note – let’s try to make a point to watch good television this year, so that brilliant shows don’t get canceled. Whether we like it or not, ratings are what make or break TV shows and, unfortunately, most of the good ones have been broken. So, let’s turn off Dancing with the Stars and watch some real TV. Writers can still be artists in this day and age, but not if we don’t give them a chance. Okay, public service announcement over. Thanks for tuning in.

3 Thoughts

  1. Evan says:

    I can’t NOT comment on a post that references Arrested Development…COME ON!

    Given the changes to the way we watch TV (online via computers and/or Roku-type devices), I think producers will need to change the way they approach advertising and product placement. Since the days of “tricking” the consumer by using brand names in movies and tv shows are basically over, the product placement needs to somewhat self-aware and in some cases highlighted to the extent that it’s humorous.

    For example, http://www.dumbdumb.com was setup by Jason Batemen (and I think Will Arnett) to be a vehicle to specifically create short skits which highlight certain products. “The Prom Date” is a funny video that promotes Orbit gum, while also being…well, freaking hilarious. I’m all in favor of this type of product placement!

    Evan

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tina Cipara, Evan Shaw. Evan Shaw said: Great post from @tinacipara on product placement, 30 Rock, and Arrested Development (RIP) >>> http://bit.ly/bFFpEZ […]

  3. Tina Cipara says:

    @Evan I can’t believe dumbdumb only has 656 fans on Facebook. They’re so funny that it should definitely be more : ) Thanks for sharing!


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