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A little about product placement

September 22, 2009

So, it’s no secret that at this blog, we are big fans of CBS Mondays. I watch 5 TV shows, and 3 of them are on Monday night: (Big Bang Theory, How I met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men.)

So of course, I had to watch last night’s premiere of all three. And there were two products that appeared to pay for prime product placement on Monday during The Big Bang Theory.

1) Amazon’s Kindle. This show seems to be an obvious product placement set-up for any technological product. And Amazon’s Kindle fit right in, being mentioned in the opening few minutes of the show.

2) Pepsi. The show has never shown the brands of the beverages Leonard, Sheldon and Penny are drinking. Or, when it did show, they would change the brand names and color schemes slightly. Cola for Coke. Sprint for Sprite. Until yesterday. Now, Sheldon’s mom was holding a diet Pepsi for almost an entire scene. I guess that’s part of what Pepsi was paying for as the evening’s title sponsor.

Speaking of product placement, it’s beyond me that more companies don’t use product placement to launch new products. Let’s say your a beer company. Do you really need to place Budweiser on Two and a Half Men? Or would you rather have Charlie Sheen pop a Bud Select 55…? What brand needs the name recognition boost?

People watching these shows aren’t really paying attention to the Diet Pepsi or Budweiser that someone’s drinking, because these ubiquitous products fade into the background. (This was proven in the book Buyology. If you haven’t read it, GM payed millions to place their cars in American Idol, and it didn’t help their brand’s recognition at all.) So I like that Amazon put their newest product, the Kindle, into the episode (I’m assuming Amazon paid for this).

At the very next commercial, my girlfriend turned to me and asked if I’d like a Kindle for my birthday. It created conversation. It’s what product placement should be. And it got me thinking about the Kindle (which I wasn’t, but now am.) And that’s exactly why you should never pay to place an established product on TV.

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