Monday, June 13, 2011

Runner-Up: Product Placement: Yay or Nay?

Product Placement. We’ve all seen it and to be honest, it doesn’t bother me too much...when used properly. For example, it can:

Discretely add to the realness of a scene. As is the case in the Mac laptop pictured in The Office below. Barely noticeable and not at all inappropriate for the work setting. All in all, I think The Office does a good job of slyly incorporating product placement without cheapening the show. It’s almost like a subliminal message.

and even...

Add an element of humor to a plot. Take the not-so-subtle, but very hilarious example of Junior Mints on Seinfeld a few years back. The entire episode revolved around Kramer’s comical obsession with the candy. “Who’s gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It’s chocolate, it’s peppermint, it’s delicious!” Discreet? Not quite. But did millions of viewers feel the sudden urge to discover what they'd been missing? You betcha.

Trouble viewing the video? Check it out here!

But alas, every now and then, an out-of-place second product pitch can be the most painful 5 seconds of your life. Well, maybe not really, but it’s pretty bad. Take for example, the shameless (and almost comical) plug for Vitamin Water on Gossip Girl recently. Now for those of you who don’t watch the show, Gossip Girl follows the “scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite”. The characters are known for their impeccable taste in fashion and their exquisite taste for the fanciest of foods and drinks which include tea, scones, caviar, tarts, French macaroons, champagne, and apparently...Vitamin Water. I don't have a problem with Vitamin Water, but really? As if momentarily diverging from the main storyline and lining up an array of the brightly colored bottles (placed beside a Chanel book of course) wasn’t enough, Eleanor Waldorf proceeds to flip through a book for the Vitamin Water design competition. *cringe* Thankyouverymuch CW, but I personally would like the cherished snippets of show that come in between frequent commercial breaks, to actually be focused on the plot.

So what do you guys think of product placement in TV shows? Cheesy at all times or clever when used correctly? Does anyone else feel that out-of-place product placements distract from the show and should be left for the commercials?

-Posted by Erika Roach

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