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  #1  
Old 12-07-2012, 08:36 AM
well he's back well he's back is offline
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Product Placement in TV Episodes

I’m used to blatant produce placement in movies. But I’d never noticed it much before last night in TV episodes. In "Elementary", Sherlock makes a big flourish of opening his new Microsoft Surface Tablet, clicking & attaching the keyboard and searching using Microsoft’s new Windows version. Ridiculous. Took any sentient being completely out of the story. I hope they were paid well. They lost this viewer.

I'm sure this has been going on for a long time & it had to be this blatant & egregious for me to notice.

Any thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 12-07-2012, 08:42 AM
zeldarae zeldarae is offline
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I noticed this same product being placed in Suburgatory the other night. In fact her story line centered on how she was filling her empty time with reading her tablet, of which they went to great pains to demonstrate the detatchable keyboard. If they would not have had so many commercials for it I don't think it would have bothered me so much.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:44 AM
RobDog RobDog is online now
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Yes I'm sure I'm noticing it more now too.

I don't have a huge problem with it in principle, but when it jars me out of the story it is annoying.

Example I can think of is when characters carefully swig from a can of drink making sure to hold it in a really odd way so as not to obscure the logo.

Or maybe I'm just confusing everything with that Wayne's World product placement bit.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:49 AM
RobDog RobDog is online now
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Just thought... didn't 50s American TV shows have the characters break right out of the story and do a full-on endorsement of some product or other, and then go straight back to the story? Or am I dreaming that?
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:50 AM
hajario hajario is offline
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So many people have DVRs and skip through the regular commercials and they also "need" to see what is being advertised.
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  #6  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:00 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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On Hawaii Five-0, the characters drive Chevys (and there's a commercial during the show mentioning the brand's association with the show) and they prominently use Microsoft phones, tablets and a table-top Microsoft Surface computer in their headquarters.

I think the American version of The Office had a product placement deal with Chili's Restaurants (where the gang went for the Dundies Awards) and Staples (one of the characters used a Staples-brand shredder in one scene shown in the opening credits). And you can see that they're using Cisco VOIP phones and HP computers.

But the worst, most blatant example of product placement I can think of is during Burn Notice, when Michael Westen's narration mentions (paraphrased, as I can't remember the exact text) that in a chase situation, it helps to have a vehicle with good acceleration and rear-wheel drive, as the camera tightly focuses on the Hyundai logo on the back of the car.

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 12-07-2012 at 09:00 AM..
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  #7  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:01 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobDog View Post
Just thought... didn't 50s American TV shows have the characters break right out of the story and do a full-on endorsement of some product or other, and then go straight back to the story? Or am I dreaming that?
Yes, TV and radio shows often had corporate sponsors (sometimes the show was even named after them), and those sponsors were plugged on the show instead of or in addition to having independent commercials shown during breaks in the program.
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  #8  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:01 AM
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
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When I catch a "How I Met Your Mother" rerun, I spend more time waiting for the obligatory Safe Auto insurance logo than actually paying attention to the show.

My wife and I just make a game of calling the placements out:
*Detective pulls out cell phone, showing logo...*
"Buy Samsung!!"
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  #9  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:04 AM
hogarth hogarth is online now
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I know "30 Rock" has had a number of product placements that I didn't find too offensive. Here's an article talking about it, although I don't remember the Kraft Singles bit.
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  #10  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:11 AM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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What would have become of Eureka if that antiperspirant hadn't bailed them out?

Or Subaru?
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  #11  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:17 AM
randwill randwill is offline
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Some old shows filmed commercials with the actors in character on the shows' sets enjoying the sponsor's products. These would air during the breaks in the show itself. Some that come to mind are cereal commercials with the "The Andy Griffith Show" folks and cigarette commercials with Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. I also remember cigarette ads with Lucy and Desi and, most interestingly, Fred and Wilma of the "The Flinstones".

This one seems created to air at the end of a particular episode of TAGS as it features characters, the little old ladies, who only appeared in that one episode.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuHQk3A3RAI

Last edited by randwill; 12-07-2012 at 09:22 AM..
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  #12  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:24 AM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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I don't watch very much network TV any more, but the first place I found it really blatant was in Modern Family. Every episode will have some of them in their Toyotas—sometimes discussing the car's features—and episodes have revolved around trips to a particular resort hotel in Hawai'i on Continental Airlines, and Phil's lust for an iPad. To me, that's a lot different from every car in Mayberry being a Ford.
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  #13  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:25 AM
Shakes Shakes is online now
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You want to know what's really weird?

Big Bang Theory. They drink this stuff called "Cola" It looks exactly like a Coke can only except it's not Coke. WTF?

I assume they do this because they don't want to give away any free product placements. But why the hell would you go through the trouble of making your faux soda look exactly like a Coke can? Thus giving most unobservant people the impression they are drinking Coke anyway? (And unwittingly giving Coke a free plug)

The mind boggles.
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  #14  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:29 AM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakes View Post
But why the hell would you go through the trouble of making your faux soda look exactly like a Coke can?
Maybe I'm being whooshed, but that's been done on TV for decades.
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  #15  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:39 AM
Eyebrows 0f Doom Eyebrows 0f Doom is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
I don't watch very much network TV any more, but the first place I found it really blatant was in Modern Family. Every episode will have some of them in their Toyotas—sometimes discussing the car's features—and episodes have revolved around trips to a particular resort hotel in Hawai'i on Continental Airlines, and Phil's lust for an iPad. To me, that's a lot different from every car in Mayberry being a Ford.
Eh. I'd rather have this then have Phil wanting to by a MyPad. Fake names of real products take you out of the story immediately, as if they are saying "What you are watching is fake and takes place in a fake world! This is a TV show!"


Now when it's clearly added in just to be an ad, like they did with a car on one terrible episode of Bones, and currently on episodes of Shark Tank, then it's off-putting.

Last edited by Eyebrows 0f Doom; 12-07-2012 at 09:40 AM..
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  #16  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:41 AM
RobDog RobDog is online now
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Originally Posted by randwill View Post
Some old shows filmed commercials with the actors in character on the shows' sets enjoying the sponsor's products. These would air during the breaks in the show itself. Some that come to mind are cereal commercials with the "The Andy Griffith Show" folks and cigarette commercials with Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. I also remember cigarette ads with Lucy and Desi and, most interestingly, Fred and Wilma of the "The Flinstones".

This one seems created to air at the end of a particular episode of TAGS as it features characters, the little old ladies, who only appeared in that one episode.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuHQk3A3RAI
To me that seems quaint and charming, compared to the modern embedding technique which seems cynical and manipulative. They should go back to that. I'm thinking maybe Jack Bauer breaking out of interrogating a suspected terrorist:

"Tough, sticky blood stains? I use JIZZ brand washing flakes. JIZZ, for all your washing needs. Use JIZZ, or I will break you like a stick".

(Background: terrorist beams and gives two thumbs up... interrogation resumes.)

Last edited by RobDog; 12-07-2012 at 09:42 AM..
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  #17  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:42 AM
Rubixcube Rubixcube is offline
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Most blatant one I can think of was the Bones episode where they shilled Avatar. The characters stared in awestruck amazement at clips from the trailer and exclaimed that it was going to be "so much more than a movie" before three of them go to camp out for good seats. I seem to remember it be a pretty crappy mystery too. It annoyed me because it wasn't simply an awkward mention or a lingering shot on a logo, it was an entire subplot made purely as an advertisement.
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  #18  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:44 AM
Kimballkid Kimballkid is offline
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The most extraordinarily blatant bit of product placement I think I've seen was on Pawn Stars when they plugged Subway constantly. They even made it part of their little office bets.
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  #19  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:45 AM
Max Torque Max Torque is offline
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Most blatant I've seen has gotta be Chuck. For no reason, they would stop in the middle of the show and wax eloquent about Subway sandwiches, going ingredient by ingredient. It took several minutes.

Edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyebrows 0f Doom View Post
Eh. I'd rather have this then have Phil wanting to by a MyPad. Fake names of real products take you out of the story immediately, as if they are saying "What you are watching is fake and takes place in a fake world! This is a TV show!"
One of the funniest of those, I feel, is iCarly. Instead of Apple Computer products, they have "Pear" everything. PearPads, PearPhones, PearBooks. And the pear-shaped phones are so ridiculously-impractical looking that it's downright comical.

Last edited by Max Torque; 12-07-2012 at 09:47 AM..
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  #20  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:47 AM
April R April R is offline
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Make a drinking game out of it and relax.
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  #21  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:53 AM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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Make a drinking game out of it and relax.
This. I mean, as fulfilling as your appreciation for well-crafted tv is, it's not edible.
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  #22  
Old 12-07-2012, 10:00 AM
Shakes Shakes is online now
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Originally Posted by KneadToKnow View Post
Maybe I'm being whooshed, but that's been done on TV for decades.
Not a whoosh. I'm just late to the party I guess.

I just recently got a 55" HDTV. So guess that shines a spotlight on things that weren't completely obvious to me before.
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  #23  
Old 12-07-2012, 10:18 AM
leahcim leahcim is offline
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
Yes, TV and radio shows often had corporate sponsors (sometimes the show was even named after them)
Or in the case of Soap Operas, the genre as a whole was named after them.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:24 AM
Infovore Infovore is offline
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Originally Posted by well he's back View Post
I’m used to blatant produce placement in movies. But I’d never noticed it much before last night in TV episodes. In "Elementary", Sherlock makes a big flourish of opening his new Microsoft Surface Tablet, clicking & attaching the keyboard and searching using Microsoft’s new Windows version. Ridiculous. Took any sentient being completely out of the story. I hope they were paid well. They lost this viewer.

I'm sure this has been going on for a long time & it had to be this blatant & egregious for me to notice.

Any thoughts?
Actually, it hasn't. Believe me, I would have noticed--the spouse works for Apple, so we definitely notice the Apple products in the show (there have been a lot of them--Sherlock prominently uses an iPhone and an iMac, but they're in the background. As far as I know, Apple doesn't pay for product placements--or at least they didn't used to. Producers just like using them in the show.) Having Sherlock whipping out his Surface, doing that cutesy little "click" thing with the kickstand, and making a show of attaching his bright red keyboard just pissed me off. Not that he was using the Surface, but that he made such a *big deal* out of using it.

They didn't lose me as a viewer--I still like the show--but my respect for Sherlock went down a few notches. Nothing against folks who like the Surface, but I'm pretty sure most people who show a marked affinity for Apple products (as Sherlock seems to) wouldn't buy a Surface. It would have been more realistic to have him use an Android tablet instead.
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  #25  
Old 12-07-2012, 10:32 AM
RandMcnally RandMcnally is offline
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Originally Posted by Max Torque View Post
One of the funniest of those, I feel, is iCarly. Instead of Apple Computer products, they have "Pear" everything. PearPads, PearPhones, PearBooks. And the pear-shaped phones are so ridiculously-impractical looking that it's downright comical.
For some reasons, I think those are hilarious. Each brand has it's own take off a real brand. Here's the entire list.



I can't find the link right now, but I think it was Hawaii Five-O that practically did a subway commercial during the episode. Found it.
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  #26  
Old 12-07-2012, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Max Torque View Post
Most blatant I've seen has gotta be Chuck. For no reason, they would stop in the middle of the show and wax eloquent about Subway sandwiches, going ingredient by ingredient. It took several minutes.
I was fine with the blatantness of Chuck. The show was on the bubble of being canceled perpetually and the team pretty much acknowledged that without the product placement they would have surely not been able to continue. I think the obviousness of it was part of the joke.

Survivor is the same way, everyone knows it's blatant product placement but it's what keeps the lights on.
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  #27  
Old 12-07-2012, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Shakes View Post
You want to know what's really weird?

Big Bang Theory. They drink this stuff called "Cola" It looks exactly like a Coke can only except it's not Coke. WTF?

I assume they do this because they don't want to give away any free product placements. But why the hell would you go through the trouble of making your faux soda look exactly like a Coke can? Thus giving most unobservant people the impression they are drinking Coke anyway? (And unwittingly giving Coke a free plug)

The mind boggles.
You can buy those brand lookalikes from any theater prop company. It's not like they're putting a lot of effort into it.
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  #28  
Old 12-07-2012, 11:05 AM
Quimby Quimby is offline
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The episode of Suburgatory mentioned above actually seemed to go out of its way to not mention the exact tablet she was using. I assumed it was because they did not get any product placement.
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  #29  
Old 12-07-2012, 11:19 AM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
I think the American version of The Office had a product placement deal with Chili's Restaurants (where the gang went for the Dundies Awards) and Staples (one of the characters used a Staples-brand shredder in one scene shown in the opening credits).
The sponsorship which Staples has with "The Office" extends to Staples selling Dunder Mifflin brand copy paper.
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  #30  
Old 12-07-2012, 11:33 AM
hogarth hogarth is online now
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How about the "30 Rock" product placement for the movie "Hot Tub Time Machine"?

Liz: I'm sorry. You have a problem with the science of Hot Tub Time Machine?
Wesley Snipes: Yeah, not the time travel. It's the hot tub. You don't just turn one on and it's immediately hot. I should know, I've been in a hot tub two times.

Last edited by hogarth; 12-07-2012 at 11:34 AM..
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  #31  
Old 12-07-2012, 11:37 AM
Ibn Warraq Ibn Warraq is offline
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Maybe I'm being whooshed, but that's been done on TV for decades.
Agreed. That's along the same lines as people at a bar ordering "a beer."
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  #32  
Old 12-07-2012, 11:41 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
Yes, TV and radio shows often had corporate sponsors (sometimes the show was even named after them), and those sponsors were plugged on the show instead of or in addition to having independent commercials shown during breaks in the program.
That was more common in radio than TV. TV game shows usually had the name of the sponsor prominently listed throughout the show, but dramatic/comedy shows didn't.
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  #33  
Old 12-07-2012, 11:42 AM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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It always makes me chuckle if I notice it. It doesn't bother me.
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  #34  
Old 12-07-2012, 11:43 AM
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Remember Heroes? "Nissan Versa! Nissan Versa!"

As for the "not really a product", the winner has to be Dexter. If you look closely, it's clear they have someone mocking up UI for their computers and iPhones. It's not the Mac OS, but it's close. I spend those scenes looking at the fake UI and wondering why they bothered.
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  #35  
Old 12-07-2012, 12:25 PM
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Chuck was running on fumes for most of its lifetime, i think they kept going by constantly shelling for subway. I miss Chuck
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  #36  
Old 12-07-2012, 12:45 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
I don't watch very much network TV any more, but the first place I found it really blatant was in Modern Family. Every episode will have some of them in their Toyotas—sometimes discussing the car's features—and episodes have revolved around trips to a particular resort hotel in Hawai'i on Continental Airlines, and Phil's lust for an iPad. To me, that's a lot different from every car in Mayberry being a Ford.
Don't forget the Christmas episode where Claire & Haley spent at Target.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by RobDog View Post
Just thought... didn't 50s American TV shows have the characters break right out of the story and do a full-on endorsement of some product or other, and then go straight back to the story? Or am I dreaming that?
I have a multi-DVD set of old TV commercials, and it has lots of examples of that. It stopped when sponsors stopped buying entire shows - you can see product logos on the closing credits of some of them.

And yes the reason for this coming back is for advertisers to force you to see the products in a way that you can't fast forward through. Though I fast forward through most shows, fast enough that I don't even see them.

The Adventures of Pete and Pete dealt with this by having all product be made by the Kreb company. Krebstar flashlights, cans of Creamed Corn had the Kreb label, and there were even KrebScouts.
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  #38  
Old 12-07-2012, 03:55 PM
The Devil's Grandmother The Devil's Grandmother is offline
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There was an episode of Royal Pains, just after HP released their ill-fated tablet (TouchPad, IIRC), where the normally low-tech Hank suddenly had to use a tablet to get medical information. The logo was painfully obvious.
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  #39  
Old 12-07-2012, 04:44 PM
Eyebrows 0f Doom Eyebrows 0f Doom is offline
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Originally Posted by Morbo View Post

As for the "not really a product", the winner has to be Dexter. If you look closely, it's clear they have someone mocking up UI for their computers and iPhones. It's not the Mac OS, but it's close. I spend those scenes looking at the fake UI and wondering why they bothered.
Yes, that one bothers me. They even use the standard iPhone text alert sound, but then when Dexter types in CU, it's clearly a fake OS. It was really obvious in last week's episode.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:49 PM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is offline
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Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
I think the American version of The Office had a product placement deal with Chili's Restaurants (where the gang went for the Dundies Awards) and Staples (one of the characters used a Staples-brand shredder in one scene shown in the opening credits). And you can see that they're using Cisco VOIP phones and HP computers.
They also have a deal with the grocery store Wegmans. All of the food in the break room is Wegmans brand, which is actually ridiculously accurate for businesses located in the same city as a Wegmans.
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:26 PM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is offline
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Several episodes of South Park seem like extended adverts for a particular product. There was the World Of Warcraft episode, and the Guitar Hero episode, where only positive things were said about the product. These were so different in tone from other episodes where various big companies are mocked mercilessly. Even the Cartman thinks he's a ghost episode, and others, has a plug for KFC, as opposed to a generic made up brand like Cheesy Poofs.

Last edited by Peter Morris; 12-07-2012 at 06:28 PM..
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  #42  
Old 12-07-2012, 06:36 PM
Peremensoe Peremensoe is offline
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Several episodes of South Park seem like extended adverts for a particular product. There was the World Of Warcraft episode, and the Guitar Hero episode, where only positive things were said about the product.
Really? I recall those episodes as merciless mockery of the players of those games.
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  #43  
Old 12-07-2012, 06:58 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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Today's product placements can't compare with those of the past. A classic example is The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. You can actually tell which season the episode is from by watching the product placement of that year's major sponsor.

Sponsor: Hotpoint Appliances. Watch for long scenes showing the kitchen range and refrigerator, washing and drying clothes, etc.

Sponsor: Kodak. Ozzie and Harriet take pictures of everything, at least once in every episode.

Sponsor: Coca Cola. You won't see them drinking a pitcher of iced tea.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:03 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
I think the American version of The Office had a product placement deal with Chili's Restaurants (where the gang went for the Dundies Awards) and Staples (one of the characters used a Staples-brand shredder in one scene shown in the opening credits). And you can see that they're using Cisco VOIP phones and HP computers.
They also have a deal with the grocery store Wegmans. All of the food in the break room is Wegmans brand, which is actually ridiculously accurate for businesses located in the same city as a Wegmans.
I didn't know that, but now that I do, I don't object as it seems to add realism.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:07 PM
DigitalC DigitalC is offline
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Originally Posted by Peter Morris View Post
Several episodes of South Park seem like extended adverts for a particular product. There was the World Of Warcraft episode, and the Guitar Hero episode, where only positive things were said about the product. These were so different in tone from other episodes where various big companies are mocked mercilessly. Even the Cartman thinks he's a ghost episode, and others, has a plug for KFC, as opposed to a generic made up brand like Cheesy Poofs.
Southpark pictured warcraft players as complete no life losers, how the hell could that possibly be seen as endorsing the product?

Last edited by DigitalC; 12-07-2012 at 07:07 PM..
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  #46  
Old 12-07-2012, 07:19 PM
FordTaurusSHO94 FordTaurusSHO94 is offline
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What was up with Seinfeld and Snapple? There are several times when someone is offered a Snapple, but it's always shot down with an insult like, "No thanks, too fruity." Is it product placement when they keep slamming the product?

Last edited by FordTaurusSHO94; 12-07-2012 at 07:19 PM..
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  #47  
Old 12-07-2012, 07:23 PM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is offline
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Southpark pictured warcraft players as complete no life losers, how the hell could that possibly be seen as endorsing the product?
The villain of the episode, yes. The rest of them treated it as a really fun game.
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  #48  
Old 12-07-2012, 07:58 PM
etv78 etv78 is offline
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I have a multi-DVD set of old TV commercials, and it has lots of examples of that. It stopped when sponsors stopped buying entire shows - you can see product logos on the closing credits of some of them. .
When did the change happen? (approx.)
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  #49  
Old 12-07-2012, 08:04 PM
friedo friedo is offline
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What was up with Seinfeld and Snapple? There are several times when someone is offered a Snapple, but it's always shot down with an insult like, "No thanks, too fruity." Is it product placement when they keep slamming the product?
Seinfeld did that with a lot of products, mostly because they thought real products were funnier. According the Larry David they didn't do paid product placements.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:53 PM
MyFootsZZZ MyFootsZZZ is offline
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