Just when I thought I had enough reasons to hate the entertainment industry they come up with an idea like this.
From a recent Reuters article on Boston.com:
A breakthrough in television advertising debuted without fanfare last spring as a brand-name box of crackers appeared on the CBS sitcom ”Yes, Dear” for about 20 seconds, seen but hardly noticed by millions of viewers.
Unbeknownst to them, the image of Kellogg’s Club Crackers had been digitally painted onto the top of a coffee table after the scene was filmed, launching the latest advance in a marketing practice known in the industry as product placement but derided by critics as ”stealth advertising.”
This is worse than the advertisements which now seem to frequent the bottom third of the screen as you’re trying to watch your favorite program. At least when Shrek started popping his ugly head into the frame you knew you were seeing an advertisement!
Now when you see a box of crackers, pop-tarts, a box of trojans, a bottle of Coke, or a BMW in a series you’ll never know if it was put there by a careful writer, a skilled set dresser, or just a network advertising department who has no interest in the artistic integrity of the show.
Now I’m not naive enough to think the entertainment industry hasn’t been taking payoffs for putting brand name products in their shows, but at least it was part of the original composition, not an afterthought. There can be some give-and-take between the advertisers and the writers and, while advertising is inevitable, at least there are some checks.
So where does this end? Well, my bitching probably won’t get them to stop placing ads in more and more programming, so I’d like to offer this suggestion for the future of “stealth advertising.”
Advertising in the news. That’s right, the news. Try these on for size…
Would George W. like a cracker? (or should that be “Is George W. like a cracker?”)
How about some great moments in history? Everyone needs crackers…
There were crackers on the moon right?
What’s a war without crackers?
You can go great places with crackers!
And my personal favorite.
Tasteless? Well, yes, but since we’ve already turned anything artistic into a commercial, what’s left? Just the news.