I just came back from a media event at Future Shop where Tod Maffin, Amber MacArthur and Leo Laporte were discussing the future of HDTV. Although this was not explicitly meant to be an advertising event for one of Canada’s biggest big box electronics stores, the branding was very obvious and the debate participants had no problems with dropping company names and talking directly about the product selection at Future Shop. Later today (or possibly tomorrow morning), I plan on putting a blog post on Beyond the Rhetoric exploring this event in further detail.
On Monday, I watched the season premiere of Heroes on NBC. Each time it came to a commercial break, there was a reminder that this episode of Heroes was presented with limited advertising, courtesy of Nissan. The commercial breaks were less numerous and generally shorter than most other network programming. The reasoning was that there was a significant amount of Nissan product placement in the episode itself and they received premium ad time during the commercial breaks. In regards to the former, Claire received a Nissan Rogue from Mr. Bennet as a present. As you recall, Hiro was driving around in a Nissan Versa.
Watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report last night, both of them made mention of a entertainment news program that was presented with limited commercial breaks as well and that’s because it too had quite a bit of product placement, specifically for Halo 3 and Walmart.
I’m OK with product placement so long as it is subtle, but this latest string couldn’t be more blatant. If you want to sell me something, just sell it to me in an advertisement that explicitly says, “Buy me!” I feel that I am being a bit of a hypocrite, though, because we’ve seen the ‘net version of product placement in the form of paid posts and paid reviews. I have no problem with those so long as they come with proper disclosure.
What’s your take on product placement? Is it effective marketing and everyone wins, or is it little more than a sleazy ploy?