Placement of Products

Sunday, March 26, 2006


I found an article ( claiming that an average of 11% of a show on prime time television is devoted to product placement, according to a study by TNS Media Intelligence. They had no way to measure which mentions of products were paid for, but the overall conclusion is that product placement is rapidly on the rise.

Reading this, I was a little shocked. I watch at least 5 hours of prime time television a week. And I’m talking about the shows known for product placement, such as “24” and “Gilmore Girls” and “American Idol.” If 11% of the content of these shows really is product placement, I’m not seeing it. Once in a while I’ll see an Apple computer or a Coca-Cola bottle, but at least to me, it isn’t affecting the plotline of the shows.

When speaking to my other friends who tend to watch these shows with me, they agreed. One friend said that she only noticed products when she used them. For instance, if she saw a Mac laptop, she’d look closer to see if it was a PowerBook like she uses, and if it wasn’t, she would ignore it and turn her attention back to the plot of the show. However, none of them felt that the placement of brands into these shows made a difference in the grand scheme of things. If Jack Bauer didn’t have his handy Sprint camera phone on 24, he could never have sent to government pictures of those terrorists who were holding the airport hostage. It didn’t interfere with the show, since that would have been part of the plotline to begin with. Instead, it put a brand on the phone, and no one really noticed a difference since all of our phones also have a brand name on them.


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