"It's excellent for swimsuit season!": Out-of-Control TV Product Placement

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    Aug 15, 2012 4:54 PM GMT


    I've honestly been falling out of my chair lately at how badly writers and advertisers are at "Sponsor Integration" (read: Product Placement) in the age of skip-over-it DVRs. It's like a return to the old days of single-sponsor TV, but weirdly, much more clumsy and insulting.

    I've lost count of the number of times that the camera shamelessly zooms in on a brand name -- Yes! Brenda has a tough case to crack on The Closer, but who's got Twizzlers?! -- or the plot quite literally grounds to a ridiculous halt as characters discuss their favorite foods -- how will the hot-ass cops on Hawaii 5-0 ever get their man unless they fuel up on delicious Subway sandwiches? -- for upwards of a minute.

    I quit watching Bones all together -- for multiple reasons -- but chiefly because the product placement got so embarrassing. "The Prius can park itself! We won't be late to crime scenes anymore!", or "Thank God for the new iPad, hot lab technician. We'd have never caught that cannibalistic serial killer without the new perp tracker app!" It's clear that Toyota and Apple especially own controlling stock in several series.

    Easily the worst example has got to be the amazingly stupid Rizzoli & Isles, which featured a jaw-dropping exchange in which a supporting character complained about her high heels just killing her, girl. Seemingly out of nowhere, one of the lead actresses produces an unopened (!?) pack of Dr. Scholls In-Soles, chirping "Just put these in your shoes, I'm able to wear heels all day with them!"

    rizzoli_isles_dr_scholls_shoes.jpg

    Wow, thanks bitch!

    I wish that I could be in the room when Vagisil buys air-time and the poor writing staff collectively holds their head in their hands and sighs in despair.
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    Aug 15, 2012 4:57 PM GMT
    WOW!!!!!!!!! THAT WAS F***ING SHAMLESS!!!!! HAHA
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    Aug 15, 2012 5:00 PM GMT


    Soaps are easily the worst.

    If you can get through this one minute exchange without your sides splitting, then you are made of wood and a sponsor's focus-group dream.
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    Aug 15, 2012 5:07 PM GMT
    I never say this, cause it is really gay and girly and betrays my masculine soldier persona but here I go:


    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!
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    Aug 15, 2012 8:58 PM GMT
    With soap operas being cancelled left and right (long-time soaps like Guiding Light, All My Children and One Life to Live have been cut over the last few years alone), it's no wonder that they're forced to do these shameless product placements. But if it keeps them on the air for their devoted fans, it's hard to blame them.
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    Aug 15, 2012 9:12 PM GMT
    Soaps in many respects have painted themselves into their own narrative corners. It's the medium's obsession with asinine wealth. It could take some risks and -- No! Never! -- put a creative spin on actual problems facing sentient human beings, but no. Writers essentially ran out of story lines about twenty years back. Rather than continue with played-out series, I wish networks would re-air the older creative ones.

    There's only so many times that you can rehash "Talon, it's not your baby! It's Sergio's!," "Omigod! I know you totally slept with Capri after the regatta!," and "Help! Somebody's trying to kill me -- and I think it's my husband!"

    "Who needs the Self Help aisle when you can self-help yourself to Amazon.com and get exactly what you need?!":
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    Aug 15, 2012 9:30 PM GMT
    On a recent episode of the (frankly, brilliant) Community, Subway's sponsorship literally took over the entire episode -- in the sense that it became the main plot point, with students rebelling against the chain's inclusion in the cafeteria and one member of the student body actually branding/changing his freakin' name to the company's brand.

    I've never seen anything like this in my lifetime. In one sense, it represents the writing team's canny meta-ability to make something out of a really bad hand forced upon them by the network, but in another, it's deeply depressing and creatively bankrupt.

    aZ2zI.jpg
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    Aug 16, 2012 7:34 AM GMT


    Wow, this is just sad.
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    Aug 16, 2012 7:37 AM GMT
    Elusium said{Subway on Community}

    Subway seems to like NBC. I remember seeing a really really obvious Subway placement in Chuck where they literally held the logo-emblazoned sandwich in front of the camera.