This article on CNN.com discusses they ways in which more and more TV shows and networks are using in-content product placement to shove advertising down viewers’ gullets. (Every time a Desperate Housewife drinks a can of Coca-Cola with the label conveniently pointed toward the camera, that’s in-content product placement.) Product placement isn’t anything new, of course, but it seems the advertisers are stepping up their usage of it, largely because of all of those pesky TiVo boxes allowing viewers to–gasp!–skip all of the commercials.
But ha HA! You can’t skip the commercials if they’re part of the program itself, you stupid viewer! How dare you think you have the right to ignore our advertising!
I don’t really mind product placement advertising–it’s certainly less annoying then having to sit though extra commercials. And being a sports fan, I’m pretty much used to it, since everything on any given sports telecast is “sponsored by” some company or other. Doesn’t mean I’m anxious to see more of it, of course, but I understand that the TV networks are businesses and those businesses make most of the money from advertising revenue. Product placement’s relatively not so obnoxious, so hey, good on ya, networks.
The best part of the article was this quote from FCC Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein, discussing why the FCC should indicate to viewers at the beginning of a program that the show might have in-content ads:
But Adelstein agrees that “we may need to change our rules to address the fact that, even when there is some disclosure, people still don’t know that they’ve been advertised to. At a minimum, it seems that advertisers should disclose up front (in the program) there’s going to be a product placement, so that when somebody sees it, they know what they’re seeing.”
Ummm, maybe it’s just me, but…if the viewers don’t know they’ve been advertised to, if you have to explicitly tell them, then it’s not really very effective advertising, is it? If the viewer doesn’t know he’s looking at an ad, does that speak more to the lameness of the ad or the stupidity of the viewer?