by Dennis Yang
Wed, Nov 24th 2010 9:27am
As DVRs usage and on-demand program watching increases, commercial breaks are becoming easier to skip. Product placement has long been discussed as a way to combat this trend, with shows like SNL getting into the act. However, if more shows are going to be placing products into their shows, it's important to remember that it's not just a matter of shoehorning a sponsor's product into the plotline. The soap opera, Days of Our Lives painfully illustrates this point with several embarrassingly awful product placements. Sure, the writing on soap operas might not be great to start with, but the product placement in these spots is so incredibly awkward, that it's hard to believe that the sponsors were happy with these ads. Surely writers struggled with trying to fit the term "Wanchai Ferry Chinese Food" into normal dialogue:
But, the phrase sounds painfully out-of-place, even in soap opera land, which, ironically, was created by Procter & Gamble as a platform with which to hawk their wares. Of course, it's not exactly clear if these are paid placements, since there's no active indication on the screen as such. Then again, when a bag of Chex Mix gets an obvious close up:
it certainly feels like a paid placement. These placements almost feel formulaic, when you start to watch them in succession. Product shot, check. Marketing message inserted in dialogue, check. This placement for Cheerios follows this formula perfectly, and ends with a hilariously melodramatic shot of the comely protagonist, with a huge box of Cheerios included inexplicably in the shot:
These placements are so bad that I almost wonder if this is yet another case of anti-product placement designed to muster negative sentiments for a competitors' products.
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