Product Placement

I was watching Flash Gordon the other night. No, not the movie (which is awesome), but the new Sci-Fi Channel TV show (which made dozens of needless changes to the Flash Gordon mythos but has potential if they can avoid more silly crap like the “IMEX”). In one scene, Flash goes to Google some information… no, wait, he doesn’t Google it, he “Snifferbot.com”s it, or something like that.

Seriously, does Google (or Yahoo or MSN or whoever) really charge a ton to be able to use their site in a TV show? This kind of little junk is usually what ruins TV shows for me. How can I ever suspend disbelief when they completely detach from reality like that? I thought companies paid money to get product placement… why are no TV producers taking advantage of having their actors actually drink Coke on screen instead of “Cola”?

Wake up guys. People are not watching commercials anymore. Except maybe during the Superbowl. If you want people to see your products, you need to get people in these fantasy worlds to be using your products.

On the flip side, last week when the esurance animated superspy chick showed up on Who Wants to be a Superhero? I threw up in my mouth a little bit. It was like someone hit the show with an esurance bomb and it got esurance goo on everything. There is a line… please don’t cross it.

6 comments

  1. Corvus says:

    That line is different for different people. Pointless inclusion of real brands in a show distract me from the entertainment of the show and remind me I’m actually watching a brainwashing tool proven quite useful in producing generation after generation of loyal consumers.

    I’d rather character’s use fictional brands. If I want to be sold to in everything I do, I’ll leave the house and drive around for a bit.

  2. Jason says:

    I think you are distracted by the focus on pointless inclusion, not the inclusion itself. A guy drinking a Coke wouldn’t distract you… but when he awkwardly holds the Coke to maximize label presentation, it is distracting. I’d rather they just use real products the way people use real products. I drink a Coke, I don’t turn my body and display the label as I drink a Coke. People recognize the can’s colors, they don’t need to see the words to know its a Coke.

  3. Corvus says:

    No, I’ve become so hypersensitive to pervasive advertising that a character simply holding a Coke, label-out-or-no, is enough to scrape across the surface of my consciousness in a distracting fashion.

    Even if I clearly see an automobile name or emblem, I am similarly distracted. I cut filmmakers more slack there, though. I figure it’s highly impractical to whip up mock cars.

  4. Jason says:

    Wow. I couldn’t imagine being that sensitive to it. I would suspect you are in a very small minority though. Heck, I think even I’m in a minority because most people I’ve talked to don’t seem to mind the totally overt advertising.

  5. Corvus says:

    Yeah, I’m a nation of one. Well, two–my wife is similarly sensitive.

    I suspect that most people as bothered by it as I am don’t expose themselves to much media.

  6. kevin tupy says:

    I too watched that stupid episode of Flash Gordon. I saw the snifferbot.com reference and immediately bought the domain name. Anybody want it? Yeah…enough said.

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