Product Placement: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Part 1)
Product placement—it’s everywhere! We’re bombarded with it on a near-daily basis, and the older we get, the more aware of it we become. It goes without saying that certain instances are more blatant than others, but there’s something seriously wrong when the product being referenced directs your attention away from the film or television show you’re watching.
This blog is a testament not to the shamelessness of product placement (that’s a given), but to the obviousness of it.
There’s no getting around it: product placement is just something that we’ll have to coexist with. As with anything film- or television-related though, there are good and bad examples to be found.
Here’s a case where the offending instance of product placement really isn’t all that offending:
Making your audience aware that you’re contractually obligated to reference your auxiliary sources of income is generally a bad thing, unless you’re comedic genius Tina Fey, in which case it makes for a hilarious moment. With their “devil may care” attitude, Fey and company break the fourth wall in all the right ways. If you have to go out of your way to promote a brand, this is how to do it.
Less well done, however, is the following instance, where the reference isn’t meant to be blatant, but is:
I’d better snatch up as many Converse All-Stars as I possibly can and auction them off at Sotheby’s forty years from now, as they’ll obviously fetch a pretty penny. Truthfully, this isn’t the worst instance of product placement I’ve ever seen, but it could have been handled better. In any case, nice shoes, Will.
This pretty much speaks for itself:
Hold on just a second! Do you mean to tell me that this product will not only keep my skin clean but give me a burst of energy as well? I’m sold!
In essence, I just plain don’t like product placement. I understand how it works and why it’s more common now than ever, but quite simply, it’s tough for me to tolerate. This is partly because I’m a snob who can’t stand to see the film and television industries sell themselves out to highest bidder, but more importantly because product placement brings my suspension of disbelieve to a screaming halt. That, to me, is unacceptable.
Stay tuned for future installments of Product Placement: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Trust me, there’s plenty of it out there!
How do you feel about the above examples of product placement? What are your thoughts on the practice in general?