product placement has been going on in the movies for years and hasn’t been completely absent within the television world but if you look around you’ll now see it all over the television programs you watch. that greatest of all shows, 24 made a deal with ford after its first season. the deal was that ford would pay them money and they would use ford vehicles for all the good guys (only evil people drive non-fords). thus far in an attempt to stay true to their creative vision the writers of “24” have pushed away suggestions from ford concerning how ford trucks and cars could be used within the script. there are plenty of other shows that have no problem molding scripts around products. just think about the apprentice. donald trump has no problem making an entire show focus on one product. survivor doesn’t have a problem bringing products into its story line either. in fact, the second season of survivor is consider a watershed moment for “adutainment.” in the second season survivor offered doritos and mountain dew to people who had barely eaten anything for three weeks. they responded in true excitement. it was great advertising and “adutainment” was born from it.
the reason for companies paying for product placement within a television shows is that we have gotten really good and avoiding advertisements – both mentally and electronically. mentally we simply ignore ads. think about it. you mentally dismiss most ads seconds after watching them. the second way that we have gotten really good at avoiding ads is via electronic recording equipment. people have fast forwarding past commercials with vcrs for years but now you have tivo. tivo automatically skips up to 92% of commercials. so what’s a company going to do when you don’t watch their ads? how is it going to get you to buy it’s product if you never actually see what they sell? it’s going to pay to become a part of the story that you are watching and that’s exactly what companies are doing.
pam and i have taught our kids that advertising is simply meant to get you to buy the product that it is selling. that is why every now and then when we see an ad that is really out there we will scream at the screen “that’s a lie.” it has been our way of constantly reminding our kids that they should not trust advertisements. maybe we will have to start teaching them to randomly scream “that’s a lie” at the television shows they watch.
i’m still not sure that it’s a lie that all the good guys drive ford trucks (i actually kind of think that is true) but i definitely know that it is a lie that mountain dew is what i want when i’m stranded on a desert isle. mountain dew stinks and they should pay you to drink it.
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