“And the People’s Choice Award goes to Emma Stone whose shiny red hair was washed with Pantene Pro-V (available at your local CVS) and just recently finished playing Assassin’s Creed on her Xbox 360!”
If you didn’t see the People’s Choice Awards, you didn’t miss much more than a comprehensive two hour commercial interrupted by commercial breaks. Host Kaley Cuoco offered lots of awkward mini-infomercials before presenters took over with awards. Audiences were treated to three minute long stories about Pantene’s greatness smashed in between awards.
I understand: the People’s Choice Awards is probably the least important show during awards season. But awards season is my NFL playoffs, so it really bothered me that the show was stripped down to a play date for advertisers.
Only a handful of celebrities were allowed to make acceptance speeches, and most awards were just thrust into a person’s hand in the audience. Or not even announced.
Emma Stone won for favorite movie actress, but they ended up giving her two awards. What was the other one for? We’ll never know. As soon as Nathan Fillion won for favorite TV actor drama, an announcer mumbled something about Castle, practically clocked Fillion’s costar with the crystal award, and then cut to a commercial.
I know that without the sponsored awards and in-show commercials, the People’s Choice Awards would cease to exist. But there’s a fine line between supporting the show and taking over the show.
When you cut out acceptance speeches and dozens of awards to make room for a five minute commercial about how CVS carries everything you need for an awards show; from eye shadow to lip balm; from pantyhose to hemorrhoid cream; you’re taking over.
Thankfully, there were two brands that integrated with style. P & G asked celebrities what they wanted to thank their mothers for, and an Xbox 360 played clips of winning movies and music.
By humanizing famous people and adding visual elements to the show, these brands figured out how to integrate themselves without annoying the viewers.
There have to be better ways for advertisers to get their brand impressions. Maybe celebrities could obviously sip on Coca Cola products or take a picture of the crowd with their brand new Samsung phone. There could be a shot of the host chomping down on Honey Nut Cheerios backstage. Heck, I would prefer physical banners on the walls of the theater to poorly-acted “Like, oh my God, CVS is totally the best!” advertisements. Product placement is always superior to product cram-down-your-throat.
Most of this is our fault. When commercials are on, we speed through them, turn down the volume, or hightail it to the bathroom. Fortunately for the advertisers, product integration works. What’s unfortunate for consumers is that 4 out of 5 times, the advertising/writing team fails at making it humorous or subtle.
Between celebrities making fun of the product placement, and critics across the board despising it, let’s hope that the People’s Choice Awards can make next year’s integrated advertising almost as cool as 30 Rock or Chuck.
Did you suffer through the advertising horror of the People’s Choice Awards? Can you think of a time when a product was poorly integrated into a TV show or movie? Any other suggestions for how they can better integrate their advertising?