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ChexMix? What's ChexMix?
November 15, 2010 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Days of Our PepsiBlue. Product placement in daytime TV makes the satire in Wayne's World look subtle. Also, it makes the regular dialogue in daytime soaps sound relatively natural and not at all scripted.
posted by jacquilynne (108 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Tell me more about this 'Days of our Lives'? It sounds like something I would like to spend my disposable income to procure.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:18 AM on November 15, 2010


It's not just daytime TV, of course.
Anyone watching last week's episode of Bones was treated to a startlingly blatant in-show plug for Windows Phone 7. That show has been big on such things. I recall an episode where two characters extolled the virtues of the new Toyota minivan they were driving.

The king of blatant in-show placement, imho, was the entire episode of Modern Family devoted to the iPad release. That was too sad to even watch.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:19 AM on November 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


I loved these. These clips both remind me of my childhood and the homes of various old ladies who babysat me, and also make me chuckle with their awkward, awkward product placement. Thank you!

Maybe Guiding Light should have started flogging Chex Mix to save itself, grumble grumble
posted by ukdanae at 9:19 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


With dialogue that obvious and clunky, I might have to start watching Days of Our Lives just to catch all of these horribly-placed ads. The best part is how uncomfortable the actors look while talking about the products
posted by xingcat at 9:20 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


What disappoints me is the poor quality of the writing. Really, the marketers want it that clumsy? The Chex Mix one totally works when she is delighted to find some. Stop it right there, no more dialog (the wrestling leading to eventual shirt off could stay) on the subject, it would actually be pretty slick placement. But throw in the "million flavours in your mouth" and it is just horrid. I guess it is like your typical 'viral' attempt, or perhaps astroturfing attempt; heavy handed, obvious and insulting to the consumer.
posted by Bovine Love at 9:22 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. I just threw up in my future a little bit.

Luckily I have the great taste and clinically proven effectiveness of Pepto-Bismol to clear that right up!
posted by DU at 9:23 AM on November 15, 2010


On the other hand, I was hired last week to help tape a bit for a vacuum company on a daytime show. I got to pour jar after jar of hot gravy on all sorts of things, which is really a great way to spend the day for pay. It's insidious, these in-show ads, but then daytime tv? Really? I know it pays my mortgage and all, but does anyone watch this poop for the entertainment value? I tend to think of the audience as basically just shut-ins and people who have to deal with the public and have TVs hanging in the lobby as "waiting time" "entertainment."

Apparently it was a make-up for when they dumped a turkey and all the trimmings on a couch and destroyed it for all time, failing to clean it as they advertise...
posted by nevercalm at 9:24 AM on November 15, 2010


The king of blatant in-show placement, imho, was the entire episode of Modern Family devoted to the iPad release. That was too sad to even watch.

I don't want to be That Guy, but I haven't noticed this trend because I don't watch much "real" TV. OTOH, I do download commercial-free episodes, which has heightened my awareness to commercial messages, if you see what I mean. So the recent episode of Mythbusters, where they test the "myth" that some other TV show on Discovery has a car that withstand hurricanes....I forgot where I was in that sentence. But I turned it off and didn't watch the rest. Pretty sad.
posted by DU at 9:26 AM on November 15, 2010


Well, if you get the Kinect for the Xbox360, you will be shown only products you like.
posted by not_on_display at 9:30 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


What disappoints me is the poor quality of the writing. Really, the marketers want it that clumsy?

In my experience, the turnover in these departments on the network end tends to be pretty high, and the positions are not well-compensated. The whole thing, on the shows I work on, is generally executed by whoever can tolerate the most BS without coming to work with firearms. Television is an incredibly abusive, unappealing industry. The marketers don't want it that clumsy, but the ones who tend to show up tend to have....grey souls. Half of them are entranced to the point of being exasperatingly clueless at being near the TV-makin, and the other half are jaded and don't care.
posted by nevercalm at 9:34 AM on November 15, 2010


This actually seems kinda appropriate. The term "Soap opera" came from the fact that soap and other domestic products supported the old daytime radio dramas heavily, often with the characters using (and talking at great length about) the products.

I've always wanted to write a skit where rather then push their sponsor's product, the characters all have terrible experiences with their completion's products.
posted by The Whelk at 9:35 AM on November 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


I am frankly amazed at how much of this futuristic Digital Economy of ours is based on monetizing parts of your life that you didn't want to sell and stripping away privacy you didn't want to surrender so that companies you don't know can show you ads you don't want to see to sell you things you don't need.

But if the alternative, aside from "not participating at all" is being carpetbombed with swill like this? Jesus.
posted by mhoye at 9:37 AM on November 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


YES! I get to say it! *cough* Okay. Okay.

Is this something I'd have to have a Samsung 40" Touch of Color™ HD LCD Flat Screen to understand?
posted by cmoj at 9:37 AM on November 15, 2010 [14 favorites]


These are hilarious.

"Nature. Valley. Granola. Clusters. You love them don't you honey?" [nervous laugh]
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:37 AM on November 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


the characters all have terrible experiences with their completion's products.

"iPhone, you complete me, but AutoCorrect has screwed up so many MetaFilter comments that I'm now divorced, friendless and broke."
posted by DU at 9:38 AM on November 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Everybody on Dexter really really loves them some Jose Cuervo Silver©. Based on how much everyone on Dexter really really loves Jose Cuervo Silver© it's surprising that they always seem to turn the bottle so the Jose Cuervo Silver© logo isn't facing them but instead the front of their bottle of Jose Cuervo Silver© is accidentally pointed at the camera.
posted by Babblesort at 9:38 AM on November 15, 2010


I'm not attempting to be snarky (I swear this time) when I express my complete astonishment that soap operas still exist.

I'm not saying that they shouldn't exist, mind you. I just thought they had died off years ago.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:39 AM on November 15, 2010


Thorzdad: Anyone watching last week's episode of Bones was treated to a startlingly blatant in-show plug for Windows Phone 7.

And then there was the atrocious Avatar plug, including three of the main characters taking turns camping out for a movie that no one really got that excited about. By comparison, the continuous Win7 phone plugs were subtle and fit within the story.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:39 AM on November 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


So the recent episode of Mythbusters, where they test the "myth" that some other TV show on Discovery has a car that withstand hurricanes....I forgot where I was in that sentence. But I turned it off and didn't watch the rest. Pretty sad.

Weirdest thing about that is that Adam Savage has been very vocal about wanting to have integrity on both the show and the network, going as far to dis the company that signs his check publicly. He actually raised a stir at Dragon*Con when during his Q&A he flat out said "you can't support what we're trying to do on the show, trying to promote science and facts, and then tell us you love shows like Ghost Hunters."

Of course right now Discovery's parent company is running a reality show about Sarah Palin on a network that has "learning" in its title so we've probably lost this fight already.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:45 AM on November 15, 2010 [12 favorites]


I'd much rather have "natural" sounding/lloking product placements than the stupid "Gimme whatever brand non-specific beer happens to be closest to your hand" or products with crudely altered labels. The attempts to disguise product labels always come off much worse than actually product placements.
posted by MikeMc at 9:45 AM on November 15, 2010


Senor Cardgage: I'm not attempting to be snarky (I swear this time) when I express my complete astonishment that soap operas still exist.

I'm not saying that they shouldn't exist, mind you. I just thought they had died off years ago.


Let me guess, you work during the day? Or prefer to wander around the internet than watch daily mega-dramas unfold? Or maybe you just skip past them without registering what you're seeing. They're like ads, in that you can generally recognize them when skipping channels, and you move on without a second thought.

A few years back, when I was in college, I had a room-mate who watched soaps, and there are some astounding programs. One features, I kid you not, a floating head in a powdered wig. I know no more than that, and I don't wish to find out more, for fear I'd be sucked into a vortex of Soap Opera Absurdity.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:45 AM on November 15, 2010


The best ones are on the Biggest Loser (what? No, I don't watch the Biggest Loser, a friend of a friend totally told me this) where they'll all go to Subway for a nutritious, low calorie breakfast or one of the trainers will go into the kitchen where one of the contestants is "looking for a snack" and offer them a piece of Brand Name (R) Interesting Flavor (TM) 5 calorie sugar-free gum and the contestant is all "wow, yes, this makes me forget completely about that decadent three-layer devil's food chocolate cake I wanted!"
posted by phunniemee at 9:46 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


How to do product placement.
posted by dhens at 9:49 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm probably going against the majority here, but I really don't mind product placement when it's not done clumsily* and I even find it defensible from an "artistic" perspective. I'd rather see a Coke bottle on somebody's table than a large two liter bottle marked "COLA" -- which makes an already unreal scene unreal. If it could be weaved in naturally, especially in a world where I'm not watching any other commercials so I understand why they might want to bring it up, I feel a bit like "well, I'm getting it for free, so sell me your shit." But I know my tolerance for this is much higher than most -- if only because I find it more amusing than annoying


* which admittedly these are not -- I remember catching a bit of Days recently and seeing stuff like this and being amazed... and I say this as a fan of the soap opera genre.... how much this stuck out. It says a lot about how poorly its done when contrived dialogue stands out in a genre where the serialized nature means lots of drama that has already happened needs to be covered with heavy exposition and in this particular time where people don't watch soaps as regularly as they used to, so even more of this expository dialogue is used

posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:49 AM on November 15, 2010


Apparently a character on Hawaii Five-O last week said the hilarious line that has never been otherwise spoken in anything but jest, "Don't believe me? Bing it!"
posted by Legomancer at 9:50 AM on November 15, 2010 [18 favorites]


I'm probably going against the majority here, but I really don't mind product placement when it's not done clumsily* and I even find it defensible from an "artistic" perspective. I'd rather see a Coke bottle on somebody's table than a large two liter bottle marked "COLA" -- which makes an already unreal scene unreal.

Oh, I agree completely! As long as the can of coke isn't positioned in the person's hand so that the logo is perfectly readable and positioned squarely as the focal point of the scene. That, too, tends to destroy the "reality" of the scene.

And, then, there's the opposite of product placement...where product logos that appear incidentally in the background of "reality" shows or location shoots are purposely blurred so as to be unrecognizable.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:54 AM on November 15, 2010


Does anyone else remember "Lisa Catera" from "Chicago Hope"?
posted by briank at 9:55 AM on November 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


In the UK there have historically been comparatively strict rules limiting product placement in actual programs themselves. So I was impressed by whoever thought of a recent TV show, Carpool [Stephen Fry example] featuring Robert Llewellyn interviewing comedians while he drives them to work in a Prius. Toyota get a full half hour of the product in use for their money.
posted by rongorongo at 9:59 AM on November 15, 2010


Do we mean like 30 Rock and Snapple?
posted by Wild_Eep at 10:01 AM on November 15, 2010


^^^ although note how this all goes wrong in the above example after 10 minutes when they happen to start following a Tesla.
posted by rongorongo at 10:02 AM on November 15, 2010


you can actually see the actor's souls shrivel up and die as they reluctantly speak their lines. Painful to watch.
posted by the bricabrac man at 10:02 AM on November 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Apparently a character on Hawaii Five-O last week said the hilarious line that has never been otherwise spoken in anything but jest, "Don't believe me? Bing it!"

You know, I was watching that and I actually turned to Mrs. Bellman and said: "Wow! What an incredibly clumsy product placement".* Now that I have watched the "Chex Mix" one from the FPP link I realize that I owe Microsoft a HUGE apology. I can't even watch the others -- it makes me want to cry for the poor actors.


* (And then we had to roll it back so I could show her the Windows 7 phone, and then I explained the tie in to the Windows 7 phone launch and . . . so I guess it worked).
posted by The Bellman at 10:07 AM on November 15, 2010


With any luck, the pharmaceutical product placement is the most dystopian thing I'll see all day. I'm surprised she didn't nonchalently read out a list of side effects.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:09 AM on November 15, 2010


My favorite bit of this recently was on an episode of Burn Notice, where instead of Michael talking about the thing he was MacGuyvering ("When picking a lock, you need two things: A sense of patience, and a good ear... etc") he was talking about the importance of anti-lock brakes or some shit while showing copius shots of the car he was driving (the 2010 Hyundai Genesis, a sponsor) which is now Fiona's car.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:09 AM on November 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


And, then, there's the opposite of product placement...where product logos that appear incidentally in the background of "reality" shows or location shoots are purposely blurred so as to be unrecognizable.

Example from The Big Bang Theory.

TVTropes calls it Product Displacement.
posted by Wild_Eep at 10:12 AM on November 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


you can actually see the actor's souls shrivel up and die as they reluctantly speak their lines.

I like the way I work here.
No dignity.
I gotta ham it up.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:13 AM on November 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's a wonderful restaurant!

It's suuure is!
posted by dzaz at 10:15 AM on November 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


Cell phone placement is part of our 24 drinking game ("Nokia! Chug!"), along with words like "protocols" and every time another head of CTU gets canned.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:21 AM on November 15, 2010


Just reading "Bo and Hope talk about Cheerios" made my day!
posted by tommasz at 10:35 AM on November 15, 2010


With any luck, the pharmaceutical product placement is the most dystopian thing I'll see all day. I'm surprised she didn't nonchalently read out a list of side effects.

Hmmm ... very interesting. Is that sidestepping the law?
posted by Bovine Love at 10:42 AM on November 15, 2010


Also, can I point out the irony of the Chex Mix clip is that she spilled salad dressing (Ken's brand) on his shirt and offered to clean it with soda water instead of...oh, maybe...SOAP?!?!
posted by briank at 10:45 AM on November 15, 2010


After she spilled V8 Fruit Splash on the dude while fighting for the Chex Mix, she totally should have whipped out her Tide To Go Stain Remover Pen. I would watch the hell out of a show - infomercials do not count, thought the Magic Bullet one comes close - whose narrative consisted entirely of scenarios that lent themselves to as many awkward product placements as possible.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:45 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Speaking of badly written lines, I remember watching Y&R many years ago and one of the characters was hollering at the daughter about teen sex. Every time she lectured her about the risk of AIDS, she would say, "HIVTheVirusThatCausesAIDS". The whole sentence. Every time AIDS or HIV was mentioned. It was so scripted that it was absurd.

And what is with the soap characters being dressed up just to hang around the house all the time? What's up with that? Dressing in high heels and pantsuits when you're spending the day at home...Do people really do that? :P
posted by sundrop at 10:47 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really dislike the nudge nudge wink wink product placement in 30 Rock and Arrested Development. Sure, that joke might have been funny a long time ago, but you can't just keep using that same joke over and over again.

Much better was the KFC tie-in on Community. That product placement was brazenly interwoven into the plot, but came off as surreal and absurd, not just jokey. It's one of the few recent instances where I think the show was probably significantly better with the product placement. And hopefully all that extra chicken money will keep the show on the air for at least one more season.
posted by Hubajube at 10:51 AM on November 15, 2010


I've always wondered why some companies seemingly opt-out of product placement. I.e., Apple computers having the logo removed/taped over. My husband thinks its because they didn't pay Apple for the right to show their product. It seems to me that Apple should be paying them. Or maybe the network doesn't want to give free product placement to a company who didn't pay. The whole thing is weird and distracting.
posted by halseyaa at 10:56 AM on November 15, 2010


Mr. Ant and I are currently watching the Syfy series Eureka on streaming Netflix. Sometime during Season 3 the product placement for Degree For Men antiperspirant became laughably invasive - lab assistants wore coveralls with the Degree logo across the shoulders, there were lingering shots of antiperspirant on scientists' desks, really unsubtle stuff.
posted by workerant at 11:02 AM on November 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


The best product placement I've ever seen was when Patton Oswalt's Tivo thought he was gay on The King of Queens. The Community KFC Taste Shuttle Simulator runs a close second, though.

My wife is watching the complete run of I Love Lucy while she recovers from an injury, and boy, Lucy and Ricky smoke like chimneys. The first several seasons were of course sponsored by Philip Morris.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:03 AM on November 15, 2010


halseyaa: "I've always wondered why some companies seemingly opt-out of product placement."

It's more complicated than that, and I don't understand it either. I had a bit part on a cable show a few years ago, and the host insisted that his crew cover the manufacturers' logos on several items in the shoot, but not all of them.
posted by workerant at 11:04 AM on November 15, 2010


Everything old is new, of course. From the first episode of Burns and Allen, 1950:
posted by LEGO Damashii at 11:09 AM on November 15, 2010


^^^ although note how this all goes wrong in the above example after 10 minutes when they happen to start following a Tesla.

i suspect it was no accident.
posted by jjoye at 11:09 AM on November 15, 2010


So it's not enough that commercials get 8 minutes out of every half hour on TV? Now they have to be woven into the 22 minutes we do get? It's absolutely outrageous. But not as outrageous as Big Cheese Taste of new Cheetos-Extreme®.

That sound you hear? It's the last gasps of a dying medium. The sound of millions of people turning their TVs off. And if you're lucky, it's the crispy crunch of new Cheetos-Extreme® exploding inside your mouth with three different cheesy flavors -- Smoky American, Spicy Mozzarella and NACHOSPLOSION!

So maybe we should all just throw some dirt on the corpse and step on up to bigger things. Like the giant 62-ounce NO SHARING! bag of new Cheetos-Extreme®, available everywhere x-treme cheese snackitude™ is sold.
posted by PlusDistance at 11:14 AM on November 15, 2010 [10 favorites]


Hubby and I recently watched all of the single season of the pretty decent family drama Jack and Bobby. Product placement in that show began as slightly painful and proceeded to terrible, I assume as ratings plummeted. In the second-to-last episode, a pair of teenage boys steal a pair of panties from a teenage girl's room, and she has a bevy of suave products and a box of q-tips perfectly centered on her dresser over her underwear drawer. Oh, and when his older brother loses his virginity in another episode, his girlfriend has a big bottle of Lubriderm hand lotion on her nightstand (ewww).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:16 AM on November 15, 2010


I've always wanted to write a skit where rather then push their sponsor's product, the characters all have terrible experiences with their completion's products.
posted by The Whelk at 9:35 AM on November 15 [+] [!]

I love this idea, because it really does seem like a much more natural way to insert an advertisment than the cheery "Thank goodness for Midol!" sort of placement. And it's always more fun to badmouth stuff.

Interior: Jenna's apartment, Day
Jenna sits on the floor amid a smallish cloud of dust, an overturned vacuum cleaner lies nearby AS Stacy bursts in through the front door
Stacy: Jenna! You're still here?! You're supposed to be seeing Devon off at the airport! What on Earth happened?
Jenna: (sobbing) It's... it's Eduardo...
Stacy: Eduardo? What are you talking about? Eduardo's been dead for two years, Jenna! Let go! You need to be there for Devon now!
Jenna: But Eduardo...he's...
Stacy: Eduardo is DEAD! Why aren't you at the airport with the man who loves you!!
Jenna: (gesturing weakly around herself, through the dust cloud) Eduardo.... His urn... I dropped it as I was saying my final goodbye ... and now he's all over this goddamn carpet because this f&%^& vacuum cleaner works for SHIT!!
Stacy: Jesus, is that a Hoover Mach Cyclonic Upright, model UH70040W? Christ! Don't you read the Amazon reviews? Everybody hates that thing!
Jenna: (miserably) I know, I know, but when I found out Devon was leaving for Belize I got plowed on Charles Shaw-
Stacy: Packs a punch for two bucks!
Jenna: -and I drunk ordered this piece of crap from The Home Shopping Network at 2 am. Dammit, why can't I find a way to disable my stupid Bank of America Visa Plus after 10PM and/or a blood alcohol level of .06! Now I've lost my true love, the final remains of my departed husband, and $170 plus shipping! (she buries her face in her hands) Mmmmmrrrgaaaaah!
Stacy: (sigh) Well, you blew it. Whatever, life goes on, we'll stop by Vacuum World on Ventura tomorrow and pick you up a nice Panasonic Upright for under two hundred dollars. John'll probably even throw in a hose and tool set worth $20 dollars for free.
Jenna: Oh Stacy, thank you. You're always there for me. (they embrace)
Stacy: (cough) I can barely breathe with all this Eduardo floating around! Let's Febreeze this shit and polish off the rest of that Two Buck Chuck!
Jenna: Thank god for Trader Joe's and thier cheap, healing booze! (both rise and head for the kitchen)
FADE OUT
posted by biddeford at 11:19 AM on November 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


I stopped watching most TV many years ago now. Hearing about stuff like this isn't exactly convincing me to start again.
posted by JHarris at 11:22 AM on November 15, 2010


That Chex Mix one cannot be real.
Is daytime acting really that bad?

I've been noticing more car product placement in primetime TV lately.
Bones is particularly egregious about this as is Royal Pains.
posted by madajb at 11:27 AM on November 15, 2010


The classic this year, of course, was the iPad episode of Modern Family but that was almost a joke in and of itself.
See also, the product shills on 30 Rock.
posted by madajb at 11:29 AM on November 15, 2010


LEGO Damashii: Everything old is new, of course. From the first episode of Burns and Allen, 1950

Except in the 1950s, programs were fully sponsored by companies, seeming more akin to sports stadiums naming rights. This site lists coffee, batteries, grape-nuts and spam (look towards the end) as sponsors of Burns and Allen at one time or another. And in the gameshow What's My Line?, the product was featured in the show's opening, on the front of the panel's desk, above the sign-in board, and on scorecards (intro clip, featuring a sponsorship from Champion Sparkplugs, an end clip, sponsored by Remington Rand Typewriters, and another end segment, featuring Stopette deodorants advertised in three places).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:33 AM on November 15, 2010


I really dislike the nudge nudge wink wink product placement in 30 Rock and Arrested Development. Sure, that joke might have been funny a long time ago, but you can't just keep using that same joke over and over again.


I'm not sure about 30 Rock, but the Burger King product placement in AD is immediately followed by Fonzie jumping over a shark. That's good writing, in my book.
posted by codacorolla at 11:36 AM on November 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Product placement really drives me crazy. I hate it when it happens, because it yanks me out of the story. However, I realize that I am part of the problem. I watch television on a DVR, and have been since 2000. Unless there is something instantly intriguing as I zip past the commercials at 3x ffw, there's pretty much no chance I will watch them, short of being in a stoned stupor where I forget that I'm watching television. (In other words, the ideal condition to be watching stupid advertisements.)

Broadcast and basic cable programs are designed to be vehicles to feed commercials to us, and have been since the 1950's. If we don't ingest them one way, they'll force us to ingest them another way.

I'm willing to forgive Mythbusters for a few obvious shills, since I figure it helps them pay for the making of a program I love, But since programs like Dexter, which are supported directly by our premium cable television subscriptions are now doing it, though, we've definitely crossed a line.

As I said, this stuff really annoys me, but my wife somehow manages to completely ignore them. Almost like she's been conditioned to ignore annoying things...
posted by crunchland at 11:46 AM on November 15, 2010


FWIW, my favorite product placement is still the over-the-top obvious method utilized during the Dana Carvey Show Taco Bell Dana Carvey Show.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:47 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I probably won't be worried about ads aimed at grownups until we reach the Futurama era when they're beamed into our dreams. Or until ad-blocking software is outlawed and my internet is ruined.

But when I talk to my coworkers and hear about their kids clamoring for various toys, something my kid almost never does, I realize the only difference is that we don't have cable and he watches PBS or his DVDs and that's it. I guess poverty occasionally works in one's favor.

(even so, he knew about freakin' Pillow Pets because every child in daycare talks about them nonstop. Apparently.)
posted by emjaybee at 11:49 AM on November 15, 2010


Wow. Wow. It's been a long time since something on the internet literally made my jaw drop. I've familiar with the insane product placement on Bones and Modern Family (and One Tree Hill, which spent an entire season loving on Sunkist Orange), but THIS. This just blew my mind. Soap operas have got to be in some serious, serious financial trouble to go to these lengths.

Some of those 30 Rock "product placements" are not actually paid advertisements. I can't remember specifics, but they did something with McDonalds that was just a joke.
posted by something something at 11:49 AM on November 15, 2010


I've always wanted to write a skit where rather then push their sponsor's product, the characters all have terrible experiences with their completion's products.

They kind of did this on a couple of Adult Swim shows. There was an Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode where they started hanging out with a giant Boost Mobile phone that kept annoying everyone, and Shake spent most of the episode essentially mocking the brand and their "urban market" (ad speak for "we are trying to sell this to poor black people") targeting. Scion had a deal with the network too and their cars started appearing in a couple of episodes, irregardless of the fact that most of the time idiotic characters were driving around in them. Not sure how and why the company wanted "Scion" to fit in one's head next to "talking set of ass cheeks" but it happened.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:52 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everybody on Dexter really really loves them some Jose Cuervo Silver©.

I'm going to have to watch for this one now.
Can't say that I've noticed it.
Do they do the awkward-spread-finger-so-we-don't-obscure-the-label hold as well?
posted by madajb at 11:53 AM on November 15, 2010


/derail

"So the recent episode of Mythbusters, where they test the "myth" that some other TV show on Discovery has a car that withstand hurricanes....I forgot where I was in that sentence. But I turned it off and didn't watch the rest. Pretty sad."

Agreed. If anyone from the program is reading this, you should know you lost a massive amount of respect in our household for doing that show. Watching Jamie literally lie facedown in the mud to shill for some blatantly exploitive show is indeed sad.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:58 AM on November 15, 2010


Or until ad-blocking software is outlawed and my internet is ruined.
While not outlawed (yet), some websites are set-up to cripple certain features if they sniff you are using an ad blocker. ArsTechnica does this. If you block ads, they disable the in-line commenting system. They also reserve the right to ban you outright.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:01 PM on November 15, 2010


Mr. Ant and I are currently watching the Syfy series Eureka on streaming Netflix. Sometime during Season 3 the product placement for Degree For Men antiperspirant became laughably invasive - lab assistants wore coveralls with the Degree logo across the shoulders, there were lingering shots of antiperspirant on scientists' desks, really unsubtle stuff.

I was wondering if anybody else was going to say something about that. It was an episode where it gets hot because someone's experiment makes a new sun or something else that made the town really, really hot. They even quoted several lines from the then-current commercial with a Degree logo printed on some boxes in the background. It was horrible.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 12:04 PM on November 15, 2010


I've been watching some South Park and I've been surprised to see Dr. Pepper all over it.
posted by Trochanter at 12:07 PM on November 15, 2010


Sometime during Season 3 the product placement for Degree For Men antiperspirant became laughably invasive - lab assistants wore coveralls with the Degree logo across the shoulders, there were lingering shots of antiperspirant on scientists' desks, really unsubtle stuff.

Don't forget the new police car. Jo even ran down the specs in case you didn't get it the first time.
They're also big fans of the "drive up and park the front grill logo right in the center of the frame" shot.
posted by madajb at 12:10 PM on November 15, 2010


Remember how on Charles in Charge, the only soda in the fridge - perhaps the only thing in the fridge - was a rainbow of Shasta sodas? Always found that strange.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:22 PM on November 15, 2010


Another '50s classic: Fred and Barney duck out back for a Winston break.

So, you know, there's shilling, and then there's criminal negligence.
posted by gompa at 12:23 PM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


How about the Munster's shameless pimping of Ed Roth's ridiculously customized hearse?

And honestly, how many brooms do the producers of Bewitched think I need to buy in a year?


Sheesh.


posted by mmrtnt at 12:23 PM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Regarding Modern Family and the iPad, it wasn't product placement. They insist Phil is really that big of a dork Apple Fanatic
posted by Mick at 12:28 PM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why don't you let me fix you some of this new Mococoa drink? All-natural cocoa beans from the upper slopes of Mt. Nicaragua! No artificial sweeteners! I've tasted other cocoas... this is the best!
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 12:34 PM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


LEGO Damashii: Everything old is new, of course. From the first episode of Burns and Allen, 1950

Satirization of the phenomenon also goes as far back as the 50s. Elaine May and Mike Nichols had some lovely skits where they winkingly used soap drama to sell refrigerators and accountancy.
posted by marco_nj at 12:53 PM on November 15, 2010


Dear Lord. If I can't trust the artistic integrity of soap operas, what hope do I have left?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:54 PM on November 15, 2010


OK, a thread about product placement and Chex Mix without a reference to "Dreamgirl" by The Lonely Island?
posted by dhens at 12:56 PM on November 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, just when I thought The Simpsons couldn't get any more disappointing, they discovered product placement. Apu shilling for confectionary brands to Bart and Lisa in the quick-e-mart. Very sad.
posted by moorooka at 1:00 PM on November 15, 2010


ArsTechnica does this. If you block ads, they disable the in-line commenting system.

If I use Adblock, they turn off comments? Oh, don't throw me in that briar patch, Br'er Fox.
posted by Legomancer at 1:13 PM on November 15, 2010 [13 favorites]


I have nothing to support this, but I strongly suspect that the reason they are going to product placement is that it's too easy nowadays to skip commercials or download commercial free versions of episodes and they want to make sure that you are seeing some kind of advert.

I wouldn't even mind it much, but fucking hell they can't seem to do an insert without clubbing me over the head. I'm reminded of something recently where the camera panned quickly over the rear of a car and you could just see the make and model. My thought was "nNce, that's how you do it." only to have the characters a minute later go on at length about the GPS or something. Totally turned me off and broke me out of the episode.

What I'm going to love is when one of these products turns out to be horribly dangerous or something, and the show will, forever more, have to deal with having endorsed it as the episodes move into syndication.
posted by quin at 1:23 PM on November 15, 2010


I remember reading an interview with Josh Schwartz during the first season of "The O.C." where he was furious with the network bigwigs because they told him the "kids" had to stop wearing distinctive white earbuds because they weren't going to advertise iPods if Apple wasn't going to pay for it. And he countered that of course THESE CHARACTERS would listen to iPods and to use different earbuds would be false to the story, but he lost.

The interplay of product placement and accurate reproduction of reality on TV is interesting.

(But the sky isn't falling; if you're not paying for the product, you ARE the product; TV has always been about selling you shit. Remember cartoons in the 80s created entirely to sell toys? And I mean AWESOME CARTOONS. The sky isn't falling because it's always been down here on the ground.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:28 PM on November 15, 2010


Of course right now Discovery's parent company is running a reality show about Sarah Palin on a network that has "learning" in its title so we've probably lost this fight already.

See, I think that's one show where TLC actually lives up to its name. It's a real-life cautionary tale for anyone who might be thinking about voting that idiot into office in 2012.
posted by zarq at 1:37 PM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I want to know is, like those stupid cheap signs they stick into the ground around every traffic median around an election time, is the product placement even effective? Are you more likely to buy Chex Mix or Cuervo if you think that a fictional character on television uses it?

I mean, why is Cuervo even comfortable with the fact that their product is being endorsed by a serial killer?
posted by crunchland at 1:40 PM on November 15, 2010


Are you more likely to buy Chex Mix or Cuervo if you think that a fictional character on television uses it?

I mean, why is Cuervo even comfortable with the fact that their product is being endorsed by a serial killer?


Yeah!

I mean, if you're pouring Cuervo on your Chex Mix in the morning, you're probably already a cereal killer!
posted by mmrtnt at 1:49 PM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I want to know is, like those stupid cheap signs they stick into the ground around every traffic median around an election time, is the product placement even effective?

Sometimes. It depends on the situation. Positive and neutral visibility can be helpful during a election season.

Are you more likely to buy Chex Mix or Cuervo if you think that a fictional character on television uses it?

Personally, I'm not. But product placement does work. It increases visibility for a brand, making it more recognizable to viewers. This does not always translate into purchases, but sometimes it does. I've worked with companies that have placed products in movies and television shows. The results are unpredictable, but when they hit it can be a big deal.

Product placement is more effective when done in shows (or films) that do not have commercial breaks. The playing field is leveled by paid ads.

I mean, why is Cuervo even comfortable with the fact that their product is being endorsed by a serial killer?

"Drink this swill and you too can be a badass motherfucker. Just like Dexter."
posted by zarq at 1:51 PM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like how people are picking out specific instances, but in reality this happens on any show you've watched in the past week and the fact it didn't pull you out of it's reality goes to show how they don't necessarilly do it right in front of your face.

Don't forget the new police car. Jo even ran down the specs in case you didn't get it the first time.
They're also big fans of the "drive up and park the front grill logo right in the center of the frame" shot.


Name any "cop show" and I bet money this is in there. Including Dexter, Bones, CSI's, Mentalist, etc., etc..
posted by P.o.B. at 2:13 PM on November 15, 2010


The best clumsy soap opera advertising was on Passions (yeah, I watched it occasionally, don't judge me!) just before they pulled it off the air and switched it to DirectTV. There were countless awkward scenes with the characters going on about how great DirectTV was, everyone should watch it, blah blah blah. It was so clumsy it was actually fantastic, much like these Days product placements. Sadly I don't think things went so well for Passions after the switch, as every single main character now seems to be a regular (coincidentally enough) on Days of Our Lives. I say good on Days--they're getting back to the original point of a soap opera and saving themselves from bankruptcy.
posted by Go Banana at 2:35 PM on November 15, 2010


"What I want to know is, like those stupid cheap signs they stick into the ground around every traffic median around an election time, is the product placement even effective?"

In local races, yes; name recognition matters and signs provide good votes-per-advertising-dollar. In national races, no; they're just a waste of money.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:47 PM on November 15, 2010


I miss crystal pepsi - anyone remember that clear sugary goodness!? :P
posted by steich314 at 2:59 PM on November 15, 2010


Van Halen sure does.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:04 PM on November 15, 2010


I remember one episode of Heroes where I swear all Hiro did was yell "Nissan Versa!" at every person he met.
posted by emeiji at 3:09 PM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Ford Fiesta advertising in Being Erica (a Canadian Show) is cringe-inducing:
"Oh, you bought a car? Weren't we just fired?"
"I ordered it beforehand! It's a Ford Fiesta!"
"I love the colour! And so roomy inside!"

Every commercial break also has an ad with the actress who plays Erica driving one of these things.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 3:14 PM on November 15, 2010


"Why do you want to have a baby with me? You can't stand me."

"That's not true... Why don't you let me fix you some of this new Mococoa drink? All-natural cocoa beans from the upper slopes of Mt. Nicaragua, no artificial sweeteners!!"
posted by Rhaomi at 3:33 PM on November 15, 2010


until they start pushing thorazine and saying stuff like this, i'm not interested.
posted by rainperimeter at 3:35 PM on November 15, 2010


Every commercial break also has an ad with the actress who plays Erica driving one of these things.

I think that would fall foul of the regulators on British commercial television. (Adverts are not allowed to feature actors from the shows before or after them). I tried to find the code but since Ofcom took over from the ITC the rules can be a bit elusive.
posted by fullerine at 5:34 PM on November 15, 2010


Name any "cop show" and I bet money this is in there. Including Dexter, Bones, CSI's, Mentalist, etc., etc..

Sure, no doubt, but the Eureka ones are especially blatant. They'll actually set up shots specifically to include the logo(think crane swooping down), shots that have no other business being done as opposed to the standard waist level camera where the car slowly fills the frame that the other shows tend to favor.
posted by madajb at 6:45 PM on November 15, 2010


They'll actually set up shots specifically to include the logo(think crane swooping down), shots that have no other business being done as opposed to the standard waist level camera where the car slowly fills the frame that the other shows tend to favor.

It's blatantly in a bunch of shows. It happens quite a bit on Dexter. I think every episode of NCIS from season 4 onward has them, and then NCIS Los Angeles. The Mentalist has them all the time. Lie to Me blatantly has them. I think I watched both Bones and 24 like once or twice and in those episodes they both had them. Trust me, look around, those shots happen all the time. Also, the shows with routine car chase scenes have them for reasons other than ACTION!
posted by P.o.B. at 7:05 PM on November 15, 2010


I started drinking white russians because of the Dude.

Also, the first time I noticed product placement was for Aquafina in Minority Report. It beats a 3minute full blown ad and if they started spending all that mindpower that they have designing "artistic" ads on solid story supporting product placement I think it'd be a fair trade.
posted by M Edward at 8:01 PM on November 15, 2010


I started drinking white russians because of the Dude. --- Well, I really don't think the people who make Kahlua or cream were paying the Cohen brothers to feature that drink in their movie, so its not quite the same thing. But by that line of thought, I wonder if Ray Ban got the makers of Risky Business to put Tom Cruise in those wayfarers when he did his little underwear dance, and if that dance made the sales of the sunglasses go up?
posted by crunchland at 8:56 PM on November 15, 2010


Or the sale of the underpants go down.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:42 PM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


A few years back, when I was in college, I had a room-mate who watched soaps, and there are some astounding programs. One features, I kid you not, a floating head in a powdered wig.

Passions? That is the soap on acid, totally worth watching at least once, maybe many more times ... Many years back, way back in the early '90s when I was sporadically employed and typically at night, a friend/roommate and I (around college age) used to get high and watch Passions nearly every day. You can tell it's written by people who intend to push the absurdity to surreal levels, sort of like the Weekly World News of daytime drama. I don't keep up with it, as I have a regular daytime job now, but I fully support that kind of subversive ridiculousness.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:03 PM on November 15, 2010


I started drinking white russians because of the Dude.

I started drinking Advocaat because of The Shining.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:45 PM on November 15, 2010


Trust me, look around, those shots happen all the time.

Indeed, however the ones in Eureka stand out more to me.
Perhaps it's the product name dropping that draws attention to it.

Dunno, but there ya go.
posted by madajb at 12:04 AM on November 16, 2010


Eureka even managed to get Degree into the plot of one of their episodes. There was... some very hot place the hero had to go and, um, the heat-shielding properties of the antiperspirant was relevant in some way. I mean, maybe it was some fictionalized research version of the product, but the connection was very clear.

I also find myself very aware that most of the shows on USA are sponsored by an automobile company. (Ford? I think...)
posted by Karmakaze at 6:18 AM on November 16, 2010


Come to think about it, "How I Met Your Mother" is frequently bad about this, not so much that they HAVE product placements, but that they're so blatantly put center stage. The most prominent example I can think of was where Marshall and Lily literally stopped mid-fight to go to Red Lobster, the whole time being like "Holy shit let's go to Red Lobster! Yeah!!!" There was something similar with the Wolverine claw toys when that movie came out, and I haven't seen it yet, but apparently last night's episode did something pretty blatant with the Windows phone.

I will say that I almost prefer this clumsy approach to shoehorning products into shows instead of, as was mentioned above, the false irony "Hah hah hey aren't product placements dumb, like if I had to endorse SNAPPLE?! haw haw, but seriously guys buy Snapple." approach that's been done to death.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:30 AM on November 16, 2010


Passions is no more, which is a shame it was Spike and Giles' favorite soap and literally the best thing in the world because HER SCAR IS FAKE!

Seriously just too at the Tv Trope page. How can you beat that? You cannot.
posted by The Whelk at 6:57 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


This isn't quite product placement, but I was struck by how blatand the advertising was in this interview, especially when combined with the constant, extreme rhetoric used to describe the opposing country. Plus, you'd think Mike Wallace is a trusted name in news...

http://solstice.ischool.utexas.edu/tmwi/index.php/David_Hawkins
posted by leviathan3k at 2:24 PM on November 16, 2010


TV Tropes: Star Trek Voyager is responsible for the Obama presidency:
1. Jeri Ryan wanted to move to Los Angeles after she got the job as Seven of Nine, but her husband at the time, Illinois politician Jack Ryan, objected.

2. A bitter divorce drama plays out in 1999, where the results are sealed in the interests of their child.

3. In 2004, Mr. Ryan campaigns to be the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate. One of the local papers, acting on a tip, sues to unseal the divorce records.

4. The unsealed records tell stories of Ryan bringing his wife to sex clubs against her will, demanding she have sex with him and strangers in public.

5. Ryan withdraws from the race. His replacement loses the race to the Democratic challenger, a fresh-faced state senator named Barack Hussein Obama.

6. Obama wins the seat, which had been held by Republicans for several terms.

7. Four years later...


Thus making this the best Star Trek series ever. TOS launched the franchise, broke barriers, and named a shuttle. Voyager elected a president.

By this logic, the series fulfills Star Trek's utopian vision of the future by paving the way for our first African American President.
posted by zarq at 2:39 PM on November 16, 2010


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