In a conversation about the WGA Strike (no,this post isn’t about that…) a few days ago, Jackson Miller said that the true future of revenue in television was most likely in product placement. I’ve been re-reading that statement in my head over the last week, and I have to tell you. I think Jackson is dead-on. And I have to further tell you that I think I find product placement in my shows both entertaining and memorable. For the most part, that is.
I was watching NCIS [shut up! It's a good show!] last night, and the Diet Coke product placement was both subtle and entertaining, but I remembered the product. Arrested Development‘s tie-ins with Burger King were hysterical and left me craving BK for a week afterward.
All of that being said, I am sick and tired of the product placement in the reality shows I watch. I’m not big on most reality TV because I just don’t find it all that entertaining, but I will cop to both Little People, Big World and Deadliest Catch. After last night, though, I’m about ready to cancel my season pass to LPBW. It’s been obvious for awhile that Matt Roloff is gaming the popularity of the show to cash in on endorsements and product placement. I started watching the show to see how someone with a unique condition faces the obstacles and challenges of daily life. I kept watching because I liked the family dynamic. But now? I can’t help but think all of the strategic product placement is ruining the show AND the kids. On the last episode there were 4 minutes devoted to watching Amy Roloff and two of the kids play with a new Wii. We even got a close-up of the box and a mention of the product name. A recent episode mentioned “Mountain Dew” about 11 times. [Don't even get me started on all of the underwritten trips and home improvements that I initially whined about a year ago.]
I guess I don’t mind seeing products crop up in a subtle way when the show works them into the plot. But when the entire point of the show is diverted to such mindless pursuits as “watch us play with our Wiis!” then I feel like I’ve been tricked into an infomercial.