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we've always been releasing zookeeper
July 6, 2011 11:43 AM   Subscribe


 
This stuff is pretty amazing, I saw a reel of if the other day but can't remember the technical term.
posted by thylacine at 11:51 AM on July 6, 2011


Single-Link Screenshot? Is there more to this I'm missing that would indicate a trend?
posted by odinsdream at 11:51 AM on July 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Holy crap.

That's amazing. And horrible.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:52 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you follow the links, there's disucssion of the trend and at least one other example.
posted by DU at 11:53 AM on July 6, 2011


Does anyone else have any information about this? It's so low that I can barely believe it's true.
posted by codacorolla at 11:55 AM on July 6, 2011


I'm skeptical. Show me some actual proof.
posted by Ardiril at 11:55 AM on July 6, 2011


Join the fun on Steamboat Willie! Mickey is playing his song! Oh no, his sheet music has been eaten by a goat! Have no fear! Mickey can download the song as a ringtone on Boost Mobile! Even Peg-Leg Pete joins in the dance!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:55 AM on July 6, 2011 [31 favorites]


I resent having a promo for the 10 o'clock show running across the bottom of the screen during the 8 o'clock show.
posted by Cranberry at 11:57 AM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


The crazy thing is does anybody even notice those? I'm a big fan of HIMYM and I've never noticed any background props before (except cases where they specifically tie in to the episode). I suppose it could all be subliminal or something, but hasn't that been show to be mostly bunk?
posted by kmz at 11:58 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sneaky mother fuckers.

And The Zookeeper? Isn't it obvious that the chosen movie is going to be another pile of shit "talking animals" movie? Pick something better to advertise you sneaky mother fuckers. I'm more offended that it was The Zookeeper than the fact they are pulling this sneaky shit.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:58 AM on July 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


Is there any proof that this works? There's no way that I'd notice that if the show was playing at full speed. The only way you'd really get any play out it is if people continue to make the screenshots and they go viral...

...oh, wait. I guess that's the point.
posted by moviehawk at 11:58 AM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd say it's a fair bet that if you are watching sitcoms you are open and susceptible to advertising for lame entertainment.
posted by DU at 12:00 PM on July 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


Does anyone else have any information about this? It's so low that I can barely believe it's true.

Its a bad movie called "Zookeeper" starring Kevin James but that's not important right now.
posted by hal9k at 12:01 PM on July 6, 2011 [49 favorites]


Not really new; I recall from years ago that baseball broadcasts were doing the same with real-time replacement of stadium billboards with local (to the viewer) adverts.
Like many, my gut-reaction to this kind of thing is along the lines of The Commissar Vanishes - that is, not a good thing.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:02 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I actually think it's sort of interesting, and I'm not particularly annoyed by it.

I mean, I'm particularly annoyed by bad, obvious, show-stopping product placement in general, at least until such a point as it becomes so bad it's hilarious.

But if there's an unobtrusive product placement in a show, and they want to swap it out for another, similarly unobtrusive product placement that's more timely? Go ahead. The artistic vision was already compromised by the commercial interests, so making it more up-to-moment makes no difference to me.

And even if there wasn't already a product placement in a particular slot, if the show in general contained placed products, and all they're doing is adding one more, it still makes no real difference to me.

In the interests of disclosure, I do work for a television network (though not in the television division, and I have no professional knowledge of any of this).
posted by jacquilynne at 12:03 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, the future is so cool. Shouldn't be too much longer until they start digitally inserting advertisements for products I'd actually buy.
posted by phunniemee at 12:03 PM on July 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Do they work? Depends on your definition of "work."

As get-asses-in-the-seats ads, probably not, since as we've all noted, most of us aren't noticing them on viewing.

As pays-fees-to-shows-I-like-to-view-for-free ads, presumably somebody is getting rewarded somewhere -- either in actual $$ or intra-corporate good will (if the production company is the same) -- along the chain of HIMYM and other shows that may do this that I also like, so these shows will continue to get made, at least in some small part, as ways to carry ads that I don't even notice.

So I'm a fan.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:03 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I saw the reverse of this a few years back. There's a bunch of McDonald's product placement in The Fifth Element, and the version that aired (on SyFy IIRC) had it digitally removed. I couldn't figure out why they would bother.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:05 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


In fairness, it's a pretty good sitcom.

I have a theory about culture -- that we have entered a sort of permanent now, in which so much culture is so instantly available that concepts like "new release" and "oldie" cease to matter. A piece of culture is new if you have never seen it, and old if you have seen it, and that's the only distinction that matters. And they're all available simultaneously, so they're pretty much all happening at once.

It's sort of the way Medieval storytellers were supposed to understand time, in that everything was understood as all happening at the same moment, which is why you could have a Dark Ages sheep stealer in England show up at birth of Jesus.

And so of course Zookeeper is in the background of an old episode. The moment you see it, it's new again, and every piece of culture that happened since then can be added in. It's all happening right now, and will be forever.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:05 PM on July 6, 2011 [25 favorites]


Hey MetaFilterers! Need a new computer? Well then, do I have a....

I'll be back to update this ad in a couple years.
posted by obscurator at 12:06 PM on July 6, 2011


And adding an ad to the background episode of a 30 minute sitcom is not remotely the same thing as re-writing history by removing those murdered by Stalin from pictures. Not. Remotely.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:06 PM on July 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I fucking knew something was up with Maynard G. Krebs reading that issue of Maxim.
posted by griphus at 12:06 PM on July 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'd say it's a fair bet that if you are watching sitcoms you are open and susceptible to advertising for lame entertainment.

I only watch HIMYM in those few hours of the day when I'm not reading Ovid in the original Latin or formulating a new unified field theory.
posted by kmz at 12:07 PM on July 6, 2011 [45 favorites]


This stuff is pretty amazing, I saw a reel of if the other day but can't remember the technical term.

Marketing Douchebaggery.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:07 PM on July 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


If sticking things in the background that I won't notice means they don't do those oh-so-obvious "Wow, this NeverEverLost(tm) in car navigation system is quite useful" asides, then more power to them.

Carry on, you brave marketeers!
posted by madajb at 12:07 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


New ads in a rerun of a crappy TV show. Outrage.
posted by R. Mutt at 12:07 PM on July 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


ChurchHatesTucker: "I saw the reverse of this a few years back. There's a bunch of McDonald's product placement in The Fifth Element, and the version that aired (on SyFy IIRC) had it digitally removed. I couldn't figure out why they would bother."

Probably because they didn't want to give McDs free advertising. Plus showing McDonalds on there might piss off one of the other fast food chains who advertise on that channel.
posted by octothorpe at 12:08 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I did sort of wonder if this was some weird viral marketing campaign and the Consumerist fell for it. 99% sure it's not the case, but I had never heard of this movie before I saw the Consumerist post in my RSS feed, and I have heard of it. Still not going to see it, but whatever.
posted by kmz at 12:10 PM on July 6, 2011


I WANT MY MAYPO!!!!
posted by The Deej at 12:10 PM on July 6, 2011


Holy shit they digitally inserted Jason Segel into How I Met Your Mother? These fuckers will stop at nothing.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:12 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not too many people outside of Hollywood know that Kevin James is in fact a CGI generic fat comedian.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:13 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was with you up until the last word.
posted by yerfatma at 12:14 PM on July 6, 2011


Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes, brought to you by Activia®, the yogurt that even Yosemite Sam can eat without cussing up a storm.
posted by blucevalo at 12:15 PM on July 6, 2011


(Sorry, I forgot to include scare quotes around "comedian" when referring to James.)
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:16 PM on July 6, 2011


He was funny once upon a time. His decline as a performer has been painful to watch.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:18 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder, though, if there isn't any risk of advertisers accidentally sort of gaslighting people in the audience who may already be predisposed toward susceptibility to that kind of thing. If so, this technological application could cause some grief to people with memory and perception problems.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:19 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yet another reason all your nostalgia television should come via bittorrent.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:19 PM on July 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


In a weird sort of coincidence, I was watching Network last night. During the final scene - which is quite horrific - the original "Mikey hates everything" commercial is playing in a small window. Not as product placement, but to enforce the message of the movie, that television is banal and isolating.

I realized that this probably wouldn't be allowed nowadays in a feature film, given the comfortable, intricate relationships between advertisers and media.

Oh well, I guess we have the internet for making fun of advertising now.
posted by mmrtnt at 12:25 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sony did something like this during the production of Spider Man, where they superimposed billboards advertising their own products over real-life Times Square billboards, and eventually got sued for it.

To say nothing of a Michael Bay film, which is 80% explosions, 15% product placement, and 5% godawful character development.
posted by schmod at 12:25 PM on July 6, 2011


Between this and what Lucas et al are doing to re-releases of their old films, a lot of people are going to think their brains are letting them down.
posted by davejay at 12:25 PM on July 6, 2011


This isn't a particularly, well-sourced post, but yes, this is a long standing thing. Previously; the orignal article is missing, but googling "digital insertion" "law and order" works.

I used to love to play "spot the coke" on L&O but alas, they seem to have stopped doing this (or I am just far less observant).
posted by lesli212 at 12:27 PM on July 6, 2011


I would love to see some hard research numbers on how effective this kind of advertising is but I imagine it would be damned hard to study in a controlled way
posted by The Whelk at 12:29 PM on July 6, 2011


That explains all those bottles of Zima in the Ten Commandments.
posted by davelog at 12:32 PM on July 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Did that Spiderman suit play out or was it settled? I'd be interested to see what a court would say on that issue.
posted by yellowbinder at 12:34 PM on July 6, 2011


This is very close to a dream/idea/pitch I have for sitcoms that never seemed possible -- I always thought it would be amazing if someone took an old familiar episode of a sitcom or any TV show, that was airing in reruns and they go in and totally change the episode. In other words, they re-shoot the second half of a show so that it takes an entirely new and unexpected plot twist.

So, you are watching some old episode of Seinfeld or something late at night, and all of the sudden it goes in some completely unexpected direction. That would be so surreal and fantastic. You would be calling people and asking around and wondering what happend. Hell, it would probably boost the ratings for re-runs as people try and catch these rare updates (maybe that is what this is all about).

If anyone here is a fan of Billy Madison, you might have experienced something like this. I think they needed to expand the TV version, so they added in this whole deleted scene involving a kickball game. I was so familiar with the movie (don't ask why) that I nearly fell out of my chair. The equivalent would be the octopus scene in Goonies that pops up on TV from time to time. This could give new life to old shows.

It is totally not practical, absurdly expensive, and most likely impossible given syndication rights, etc, but c'monnnnn...wouldn't that blow your gourd if George actually didn't experience "shrinkage" in the pool and that episode went in a whole new direction.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 12:35 PM on July 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


THOU SHALT DRINK FREELY OF ALCOPOPS
posted by kmz at 12:35 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


If sticking things in the background that I won't notice means they don't do those oh-so-obvious "Wow, this NeverEverLost(tm) in car navigation system is quite useful" asides, then more power to them.

It's like, a million different flavors in your mouth.
posted by odinsdream at 12:35 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


moviehawk: "Is there any proof that this works?"

It is assumed to work, primarily because advertising companies keep pushing it. Qualitative analysis of product placement in television and movies is spotty at best. But hope springs eternal.

Studies indicate that product placement tends to work better for some types of products than others.

Im unsurprised by the outrage, but I suspect most people don't think about how much subtle and overt product placement and advertising plays a part in most popular entertainment. Sporting events are flooded with ads and product placement. Automotive companies buy product placements very frequently to promote their brands, and it's usually not as overt as the Chevrolet / GM / Transformers connection.
posted by zarq at 12:38 PM on July 6, 2011


And yet if there is an Apple logo anywhere to be seen they will obscure that.
"We want cool set design!"
"Put an iMac on there! All the kids have them these days! It'll be so realistic!"
"But Apple isn't paying us for the product placement!"
"Stick something over the Apple!"
"Do kids do that‽"
"To hell with what the kids do! It you wanted realism you shouldn't be looking at the TV!"
In my mind the people who make these kinds of decisions are incapable of speaking without exclamation points and interrobangs.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:40 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Join the fun on Steamboat Willie! Mickey is playing his song! Oh no, his sheet music has been eaten by a goat! Have no fear! Mickey can download the song as a ringtone on Boost Mobile! Even Peg-Leg Pete joins in the dance!

Blam!
posted by schoolgirl report at 12:41 PM on July 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


I always enjoy it when they do product placement with the evil characters. Oh look, the treacherous people selling out the human race are drinking x brand of water! I must go out and buy that now!
posted by lesbiassparrow at 12:44 PM on July 6, 2011


Anyone seen a product placement of a MacBook Air with a Del logo pasted over the glowing Apple?
posted by jeffburdges at 12:46 PM on July 6, 2011


One more reason not to watch reruns.
posted by crunchland at 12:46 PM on July 6, 2011


All I can say for the potential effectiveness of the practice is that I just spent two minutes unknowingly watching a trailer for the wrong movie and being really confused by some of the comments here.
posted by wreckingball at 12:47 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


This doesn't bother me nearly as much as the idea of stopping the show every now and then to display products in a completely unrelated setting for 6 minutes at a stretch. I'm reserving my outrage for when products are inevitably inserted into live news feeds or historical documentary footage.

And adding an ad to the background episode of a 30 minute sitcom is not remotely the same thing as re-writing history by removing those murdered by Stalin from pictures.

I'd say it's a bit early to judge the historical consequences of Zookeeper.
posted by Durhey at 12:49 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Idiocracy did it!"
posted by mark242 at 12:50 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wonder if Pepsi paid big money for all the product placement in "Leonard, Part 6"

(you heard me right)
posted by ShutterBun at 12:52 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there any proof that this works?

This whole thread is proof. Product placement and advertising is more about brand recognition and product awareness than compelling the viewer to buy in. They just want you to remember.

I wonder how many more hits that film's IMDB page has received today compared with previous days.
posted by geckoinpdx at 12:52 PM on July 6, 2011


This whole thread is proof. Product placement and advertising is more about brand recognition and product awareness than compelling the viewer to buy in. They just want you to remember.

So posting in this thread means I'm forced to buy a ticket for a Kevin James movie?
posted by eyeballkid at 12:54 PM on July 6, 2011


OH CRAP! IT DOES! I HAVE A TICKET NOW! THE HUMANITY!
posted by eyeballkid at 12:55 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Im unsurprised by the outrage, but I suspect most people don't think about how much subtle and overt product placement and advertising plays a part in most popular entertainment. Sporting events are flooded with ads and product placement. Automotive companies buy product placements very frequently to promote their brands, and it's usually not as overt as the Chevrolet / GM / Transformers connection.

I wouldn't say I'm outraged. I don't really like product placement as is, since it's less up-front than a standard commercial where I can (ideally) fast-forward past it, and if I can't I can just think "well, I'm not seeing that bullshit" and tune out. It's the fact that this has been digitally added in the background, changing the original show, that makes it seem sneaky and low-down - almost like they're expecting subliminal advertising to work. My emotion is "skeezed out" more than it's "outraged", like when people pull you over and start what seems like a normal conversation that suddenly turns to Hari Krishna / Jesus - if you're going to sell something then at least be honest with me about it.

Really though, fuck it, I don't even have TV service any more and don't particularly like HIMYM, so I guess it doesn't affect me.
posted by codacorolla at 12:56 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Red Letter Media's non-Plinket review of the Zookeeper trailer discuses product placement at length and is very entertaining.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:58 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


What totally spooked me was that when I looked at the altered version, I did not question the presence of books standing in the air all by themselves.

I can totally imagine a critique that argues such types of digital product reinsertion lull viewers into visually (and so perceptually) accepting things that are physically impossible.

Then again, maybe the book end behind the last book may be shorter than the last book…

SEE! Digital product reinsertion conditions viewers to rationalize the impossible things they see on screen.
posted by mistersquid at 1:01 PM on July 6, 2011


And yet if there is an Apple logo anywhere to be seen they will obscure that.

Apple does pay for some product placement, like in 30 Rock which has a little note in the end credits. So why give it away for free?
posted by smackfu at 1:03 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


And yet if there is an Apple logo anywhere to be seen they will obscure that.

Oh, hell no. Apple is one of the biggest players in product placement. They're just a little more subtle about it.
posted by rh at 1:08 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Oh well, I guess we have the internet for making fun of advertising for now."

FTFY
posted by Eideteker at 1:09 PM on July 6, 2011


Red Letter Media's non-Plinket review of the Zookeeper trailer discuses product placement at length and is very entertaining.

That was the funniest thing I've seen all day.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:12 PM on July 6, 2011


What I find interesting are the unintended side-affects of product placement.

People these days often wear clothes that have logos/advertising on them. On 'reality' shows, in order to not give away product placements for free, they putting floating fuzz over them. I used to think it was to hide a naughty word, but I'm pretty sure that's not always the case.

The other oddness was something I noticed in the 'Thor' movie. Natalie Portman was serving breakfast to the Thor guy in her kitchen. The kitchen was completely empty of products, which looked un-natural. Except for the box of cereal (I think it was some kind of Kashi). They weren't obnoxious about shoving the box in your face, but it did stay in camera shot, making for a few oddly composed scenes. Kitchen empty except for a box of Kashi. It was just plain unsettling.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:16 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, cjorg, was going to say that Apple has been neck deep in placement for years. What you are seeing is when they don't come to terms with Apple or otherwise not getting paid.
posted by cavalier at 1:16 PM on July 6, 2011


Apple gets into the product placement game in a more subtle way because it's WAY easier to integrate an Apple product into the script than Chex mix. Numerous episodes of 30 Rock, for instance, have had plots that hinged around chracters calling Lemon where there were a number of loving shots of her iPhone.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:17 PM on July 6, 2011


Oh, and incidentally, the filmed about 50 seconds of The Zookeeper across the street from my apartment. I was thinking I'd go see it in the theater, but after seeing the ads for it, I'm not sure I can make it through the DVD. Maybe get it from the library and play it at 4x until the key scenes.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:18 PM on July 6, 2011


Most Egregious Product Placment That's Already In The Rerun

Show: 2001: A Space Odyssey, many, but in particular, the Pan Am space shuttle.

Place: The FBI (A Quinn Martin Production), sponsored by Ford, in a world where all cars are Fords.

Win: Route 66, sponsored by Chevrolet, and starring the current model year's Corvette.
posted by Herodios at 1:23 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are we seriously discussing Apple product placement in movies? Counting screen appearances of the gowing apple logo would make you think they hold something like 95% of the laptop market.

Also, my boy David has me covered as far as product placement is concerned.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:23 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


On 'reality' shows, in order to not give away product placements for free, they putting floating fuzz over them. I used to think it was to hide a naughty word, but I'm pretty sure that's not always the case.

I prefer to believe that people are walking around with obscenities plastered all over their clothing.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:25 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Everybody is getting off track, the real question is:

"People watch 'How I Met Your Mother'?"
posted by signal at 1:25 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Herodios: " Win: Route 66, sponsored by Chevrolet, and starring the current model year's Corvette."

They're going to replace that Corvette with a Tesla Roadster. I hear it's the quietest and most fuel-efficient car on the market! Roomy, too!
posted by zarq at 1:26 PM on July 6, 2011


signal: " "People watch 'How I Met Your Mother'?""

DON'T JUDGE ME!
posted by zarq at 1:27 PM on July 6, 2011


Herodios: "Most Egregious Product Placment That's Already In The Rerun
"

I don't think it's the product placement that skeeves people out-it's annoying, like all advertising, but okay-but rather that they're changing history. Yes, in an exceedingly minor, not-nearly-the-same-deal-as-The-Commisar-Vanishes way, but still. It's creepy.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:27 PM on July 6, 2011


They're going to replace that Corvette with a Tesla Roadster.

Unfortunately the computers inserting the Tesla will need to be rebooted every 7 minutes while rendering.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:29 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


nathancaswell: " Unfortunately the computers inserting the Tesla will need to be rebooted every 7 minutes while rendering."

Plus in a couple of years, they'll have to replace its appearance on celluloid with the latest model Kia.
posted by zarq at 1:33 PM on July 6, 2011


Everybody is getting off track, the real question is:

"People watch 'How I Met Your Mother'?"


An even better question is: "People watch four-year-old reruns of 'How I Met Your Mother'?"
posted by pardonyou? at 1:34 PM on July 6, 2011


The one's that really got me scratching my head were the digital ones they put on the glass behind the goalminders during Washington Capitals home games. They go through all the effort to make them work perspective-wise, which means they're essentially useless for the viewers at home who they're for. I wonder if any other team's home feeds do this? ( The Rangers don't )
posted by cloax at 1:35 PM on July 6, 2011


"One must not put a Big Mac on the stage if no one is thinking of eating it"
- Ronald McChekov
posted by longbaugh at 1:47 PM on July 6, 2011 [19 favorites]


This whole thread is proof.

Proof that some folks will take offense at damn near anything. It's as if people cannot believe movies and TV shows are made and shown with the intention of making money.
posted by 2N2222 at 2:00 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


DU: I'd say it's a fair bet that if you are watching sitcoms you are open and susceptible to advertising for lame entertainment.

Man, you're good. You made this post and managed to mock those who watch the show which is being discussed in the post? Amazing.

Anyway, discussion does not equate with increased viewership. Zookeeper still doesn't look like a movie I'd pay to see, and I'd hazard a guess that this is true of many who are discussing the post here.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:02 PM on July 6, 2011


No love for Mac and Me?
posted by everichon at 2:04 PM on July 6, 2011


When Lucy starts shilling for Absolut instead of Vitameatavegemin, please link to that.
posted by not_on_display at 2:16 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Videogames have been doing "up-to-date" advertising for quite some time. I remember several years ago buying a used copy of a racing game (Burnout: Paradise, I think) that was already a couple years old at the time. The in-game billboards you see all over the city were advertising real, current products (I think it struck me because one was for a movie about to come out).

Obama '08 even bought ads in it.
posted by mkultra at 2:21 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I work at an ad agency and a vendor that does this sort of thing (actually, it may have been exactly this thing - their deck included mostly screen shots from HIMYM) reached out to us a few weeks ago. We didn't take a meeting because we don't do much consumer stuff and it wouldn't be a good fit, but it was still pretty cool.

Does anyone else have any information about this? It's so low that I can barely believe it's true.

To all who are massively offended by this, just remember that if your wish comes true for TV commercials, online banners, and streaming video pre roll advertisements to just go away forever, the void will only be filled by things like weird product placements and tacky sponsorships. Luckily this HIMYM post-production placement doesn't intrude much, but I could see this sort of thing getting Idiocracy-levels ridiculous if networks continue to have such a tough time selling traditional ad inventory.

I can practically hear some slick network account exec pitching it to us now: "Oh we're DIFFERENT from other networks, you see, it's called 'Integrated Brand Story Telling' where we actually have a TEAM of advertising copywriters on the writing staff of every show to ensure that your brand is fully integrated into the story line!"

I like to joke that this is the future of television in a world without commercials.
posted by windbox at 2:25 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Proof that some folks will take offense at damn near anything.

Welcome to MetaFilter.


srsly it was a goddamn observation not a condemnation, relax
posted by geckoinpdx at 2:30 PM on July 6, 2011


Sony did something like this during the production of Spider Man, where they superimposed billboards advertising their own products over real-life Times Square billboards, and eventually got sued for it.

Oh. So I guess in movies, you can advertise where this isn't any advertisement, but you can't advertise over what's already being advertised.

That would ruin the movie.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:56 PM on July 6, 2011


I've been doing this for years in my comments.




apple!
posted by blue_beetle at 3:05 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]



srsly it was a goddamn observation not a condemnation, relax


Really? Filthy light thief points out what seems to be some pretty nasty observin' going on.
posted by 2N2222 at 3:09 PM on July 6, 2011


That explains it! I didn't think Jell-O pudding pops existed when I Spy was on the air!
posted by Mael Oui at 3:13 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can only speak for myself...I was only referring to my post. I won't get into that particular hornets' nest.
posted by geckoinpdx at 3:15 PM on July 6, 2011


I was previously unfamiliar with Blam! but I am now familiar with Blam! Blam! is an appalling thing but there is a parody of it.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:38 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a giant product placement for Fridays right in the trailer for that stupid movie. There's no escape, they're putting commercials inside of commercials.
posted by octothorpe at 3:48 PM on July 6, 2011


Herodios: "Most Egregious Product Placment That's Already In The Rerun"

I don't know if it's egregious, but there's also that scene in Demolition Man where we learn that Taco Bell won "the Franchise Wars" and is now the only restaurant in existence. It's kind of funny, actually.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:14 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you Metafilter, for reminding me why I stopped watching TV.
posted by JHarris at 5:26 PM on July 6, 2011


I am surprised to see the skepticism here. This has been going on for some time now, and it is an established practice that is growing constantly.

The industry calls it "Dynamic Product Placement" It is relatively simple to accomplish with modern post technology.

The biggest player, SeamBI.

Here's a competing technology from Microsoft.

Some shows, like How I Met Your Mother (YT) were designed from the ground up for Dynamic Product Placement. Watch that YouTube link to the end, they show a demo of it. Look at this Cult Of Mac blogger get upset that the "writers sunk so low". It was an automated placement, buddy. But the blogger's surprise demonstrates that people do not understand what is happening.

"A content owner may not want fast-food services to be advertised within his or her show. That restriction remains in the inventory," Baharav said. "Once an order has been received, it has already been approved by the advertiser, the rendering farm is rendering the video, and then it sends a customized version of the episode at the relevant time directly to the station. Almost everything is automatic."

Everything is automatic, indeed. Perhaps we need a general re-thinking of just how plastic this imagery and these stories are.

To be clear, image manipulation, beautification, and ad-insertion are happening RIGHT NOW at the capture level (self-link), at the network level (here, password seamBI) and at the display level, in real time. You've seen it, you've used it, and it is in your pocket.
posted by fake at 6:08 PM on July 6, 2011 [15 favorites]


I really wish I could link to the "Sister, I've just come from a fire" scene in "State and Main", you know, when they pan to ye olde "BAZOOMER.COM" sign. Ah, me.
posted by mauvest at 6:08 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]




Probably the most gratuitous and annoying product placements that I've noticed in the past few years are those for Ford automobiles (and related car functions) in episodes of Fringe.
posted by Auden at 6:44 PM on July 6, 2011


Red Letter Media's non-Plinket review of the Zookeeper trailer discuses product placement at length and is very entertaining.

The best part of the TGI Friday's product placement was the image of the TGI Friday logo appeared as a reflection on the windshield of Paul Blart's The Zookeeper's van. Which would mean that we should have seen the mirror image of the sign. But through the magic of hollywood the logo appears perfectly readable.
posted by birdherder at 6:50 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thus proving that the deadliest animal of all... is The Zookeeper!

This Dynamic Product Placement for Futurama brought to you by Torgo's Executive Powder. New episode this Thursday at 10 (9 central)!
posted by Rhaomi at 6:53 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Were you being serious here, Herodius, bringing up the Pan Am shuttle in 2001?

I thought I'd read - maybe in the production diary Arthur C. Clarke published - that Kubrick wanted to use Pan Am and the production company / studio had to beg and beg to get them to agree... He used the popular brands to ground the future in something audiences could relate to.

If you're saying it was more traditional "product placement as advertising," I'd be interested to see a source for that...
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 6:56 PM on July 6, 2011


Huh. I thought discovering that we're living in a genuine Philip K. Dick novel would be cooler than this.

Yeah, it starts with stupid TV reruns being not quite like you remember them. It ends with Glen Runciter's face on your paper money.
posted by Rockear at 8:04 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


From fake's links (thanks for that legwork, btw):

Baharav said his firm maintains its own creative team that works with content producers/owners. Localized, revised episodes are fed via secured lines to stations, with each episode formatted correctly (i.e., 4:3 or 16:9, or 1080i for most CBS stations; 720p for most Fox outlets). Upon transmission to a station, the localized content can be sent directly its on-air server. "This works on a daily basis in many markets, and we expect to expand very soon," Baharav said.

Current trendy hacking group: if you want my eternal respect, then find a way into these files and goatse.cx a nation.
posted by codacorolla at 9:14 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Were you being serious here, Herodius, bringing up the Pan Am shuttle in 2001?

Uhm. . . jokey post is jokey?

Funny, I thought the first criticism of that list would be that 2001 isn't a television program.

No, the corporate logos in 2001 were a different thing. In 1968, those sort of deals weren't being done with films, and the appearance of those logos signaled mostly negatives for the film's audience. Hence HAL instead of IBM.

Television programs in the 1960s were another matter. TV shows have sponsors. Shows like Route 66 (Corvette), The Saint (Volvo P1800) and later the Rockford files (Trans Am), and later still Dukes of Hazard (Dodge), Husky and Starch (Ford), Knight Rider (Pontiac), et al are one thing, where a specific automobile is integral to the show, somewhere between a prop, a location, and a character.

Maxwell Smart drove, in succession, a Sunbeam Tiger, a VW Karmann Ghia, and an Opel GT.

But in the 1960s, there were also numerous tv series wherein everyone drove the same brand of automobile:

GM Shows
I Dream of Genie
My Three Sons
Bewitched

Ford Shows
The Twilight Zone
77 Sunset Strip
Andy Griffith Show
Hawaii Five-0
The FBI
Green Acres (including, prominently, Oliver's Lincoln ragtop with the suicide doors.)

There were Chrysler shows, I'm sure I'm forgetting, and Mr. Ed included a curiously high number of Studebakers, including an Avanti.
posted by Herodios at 9:15 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always thought it would be amazing if someone took an old familiar episode of a sitcom or any TV show, that was airing in reruns and they go in and totally change the episode. In other words, they re-shoot the second half of a show so that it takes an entirely new and unexpected plot twist.
They did something a tiny bit like that for the VHS release of Gremlins 2: there's a "fourth wall breaking" scene in the theatrical release (and later in the DVD) where the Gremlins are messing with theater projection booths; in the VHS version they're flipping through TV channels instead.

This is just barely possible when all it requires is some new muppet work or digital fakery; I don't think we'll ever see it happen in a situation where aging actors would have to come back to rebuilt sets to shoot new scenes.
posted by roystgnr at 9:16 PM on July 6, 2011


there's also that scene in Demolition Man where we learn that Taco Bell won "the Franchise Wars"

...which became a Pizza Hut joke in prints for international markets where Taco Bell didn't do business at the time.

(I'm rewatching "Arrested Development" at the moment and kind of hoping any eventual movie does a callback to Burger King's gratuitously heavy-handed placement.)
posted by Lazlo at 9:47 PM on July 6, 2011


I'm suddenly overwhelmed by this urge to have my shirts dry-cleaned while I watch college basketball in Connecticut.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:50 PM on July 6, 2011


I'd say it's a fair bet that if you are watching sitcoms you are open and susceptible to advertising for lame entertainment.

Community? Arrested Development? Peep Show? HIMYM is pretty funny too.

I read somewhere that there's a recent videogame that will stream new ads and add them to the game.

This is annoying, but it only matters if it ruins the verisimilitude of a scene.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:17 PM on July 6, 2011


Birdherder: You might want to look at that reflection again. Readable, but correcty mirrored.
posted by stephennelson at 11:10 PM on July 6, 2011


Herodios writes "TV shows have sponsors. Shows like Route 66 (Corvette), The Saint (Volvo P1800) and later the Rockford files (Trans Am), and later still Dukes of Hazard (Dodge), Husky and Starch (Ford), Knight Rider (Pontiac), et al are one thing, where a specific automobile is integral to the show, somewhere between a prop, a location, and a character. "

I don't know about most of those shows but Dodge didn't sponsor the Dukes of Hazard. The General Lee was 10 years old by the time the show was produced and most of the other featured cars were in the 5-10 year old range (IE: cheap and plentiful). EG: Jessie's truck was a mid 70s Ford; Boss's Caddy was a 1970; the police cars were assorted Matadors, Monacos and Furys, the newest was 4 years old (and the C-body Chryslers were extremely common as small department cruisers because of their good cop package and excellent durability). The exception to old and cheap was Dixie, Daisy's Jeep, which was actually part of an AMC sponsorship deal and predated the Chrysler buyout. It was also the only brand new vehicle of note to feature in the show.

While that was because of budget issues it actually fit in with the setting of a economically depressed rural area. One of the worst things about product placement is it tends to break those kinds of settings when poor people are all driving around in expensive new cars.
posted by Mitheral at 12:01 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


PS: the Rockford files ran from 1974-1980 (just barely as the last episode aired January 10th). The Dukes of Hazard ran from 1979-1985.
posted by Mitheral at 12:06 AM on July 7, 2011


It's bullshit that no one has linked this clip yet.
posted by speicus at 3:05 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been recently watching Smallville from beginning to end, and product placement on that show tends to teeter on the ridiculous.

Now, with any show, after X amount of seasons, you really start to run out of things for the characters to do, and it starts to almost become an improv troupe, wherein the actors take on wildly different roles; in Smallville it generally involves some kind of "possession" or switching bodies, the like. Late into the series, cast mainstay Chloe is possessed by Brainiac (an alien supercomputer), who gradually takes over her body and makes her do and say stuff. Also, there are some admittedly inconsistent rumblings about whether or not she has a superpower herself, and what it is, etc.

I tell you those stories to tell you this one: In the ad-heavy episodes, poor Chloe is usually the one to have the episodic "Chex Mix" lines (off the top of my head, the Stride Gum episode, the one where she hands Clark a GPS enabled LG Sprint phone and says 'Everything you need at your fingertips!' and so on) For me, those moments take on a different context when paired with the admittedly campy sci-fi plotline, like she's still stricken with some kind of neural interference, and whenever she touches a branded product, she unwillingly vomits ad copy.

But i digress.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:49 AM on July 9, 2011


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