After last night’s Burger King product placement pimpfest on Arrested Development, I’d like to write the former letter along the lines of “THANK YOU FOR GIVING MY SHOW MONEY, I’ll be spending a lot more money at Burger King because of your product placement, PLEASE GIVE MY SHOW MORE MONEY, sponsoring such a great show puts your business in a very good light, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD HELP KEEP MY SHOW ON THE AIR.”
Now, to whom in the company should I address such a letter? The head of advertising? Should I send more than one copy, and to which employees?
I did something like this in 1994 for ‘The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr’. I sent the notes to the President of the firms involved and the VP for marketing or business development (whatever I could find). I also sent copies to the production house for the show.
Didn’t get the job done, of course. But I got some McDonalds gift certificates, a call from a very nice woman at Saturn, and a voice mail from Bruce Campbell thanking me for trying.
I’ll admit that I’m not very well-versed in network television economics, but surely there’s a difference between advertising (like commercials) and product placement? Since Arrested Development was frantically (and hilariously, of course) shoehorning in Burger King placements throughout the episode, there had to have been a special deal there. (Presumably a lucrative one for the show.)
I’m not sure they did, though it certainly would be logical.
No, what I’m talking about is the fact that it’s always the network’s call about cancelling a show. The advertiser gets charged for ad space no matter what ad placements there might be. The network will try to maximize its income by leaning toward shows with the highest ratings possible.
Any money BK paid AD bypasses Fox completely, so it isn’t a factor in their decision. And any advertiser pays Fox the same rate for ads on the show. If the ratings go up, they pay more. The issue is whether a replacement show would get higher ratings. That’s the main reason Fox renewed: they had a critical success, and figured that they had nothing to replace it that would do better, so they’d renew it. They’ve also treated the show especially well – making sure it ran at 8:30 during football season so it wouldn’t go up against Desperate Housewives.
Ultimate, it’ll be Fox’s decision, and that was be based very heavily on ratings. The advertiser has little influence, if at all.