How TV is foiling ad skippers
Think you have the commercials beat? Television programs are finding new ways to sell you stuff.
Take this week's "New Girl," which should should have been called "New Awesome Ford Fusion." The episode featured Zooey Deschanel's character Jess stumbling around for two minutes trying to model at an auto show. All the while, an announcer raved about the features in Ford's (F) new Fusion. (You can see a short clip here.)
Ford could have bought two minutes of commercial time, but we would have skipped right through it. How many viewers skipped through that segment of the show? Not many, I'd guess.
So viewers came out knowing much more about the Fusion -- which, by the way, also sponsors features on the "New Girl" website.
It's one of the more in-your-face examples I've seen from the generally cheeseball product placement business. And we'll see more going forward as advertisers explore ways to force their products upon captive eyeballs.
My colleague Jason Notte pointed out the ridiculous advertising placement for Toyota (TM) on "Bones." Check out this YouTube clip showing an awkward scene in which Emily Deschanel's character explains her Prius' intelligent parking. "The car guides itself into the parking spot," she says. "Wow, look at that," responds her co-star. What is it with the Deschanel sisters and product shilling?
Entertainment Weekly has more examples, including the proclamation on "90210" that "drinking Dr. Pepper is practically a requirement" on road trips. Ugh.
Product placement is pretty much a given now, and audiences for the most part seem to accept it. Usually, however, it's more subtle and artfully executed (unless it's "30 Rock," which takes the idea and smashes you over the head with it). See this roundup for more examples.
But television shows may be able to wring more advertising money from more blatant promotions, like the Ford Fusion gag. So expect to see more of these in-program stunts. It'll be enough to make you pine for the days of 30-second commercials.
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