Force Feeding the Masses
My husband and I were recently discussing the astonishing increase in branded entertainment that we’ve noticed of late. He was frustrated with two hit network TV series which had copy blatantly promoting Miller Genuine Draft Light 64 (the brand’s new 64 calorie beer) written directly into the script. It reminded me of a recent piece written by Advertising Age’s television editor, Brian Steinberg, featured in The Boston Globe. “Product ads gain more screen time” tells how the state of the economy has led TV networks to increase product placements featured in their series.
Savvy business operators know the power of third party endorsements but does product placement count as such? In theory, I, along with several media watchdogs, consumer advocacy groups, producers and directors, believe it challenges the conventional laws of creative leeway and artistic integrity. But I, as consumer, also recognize that paid advertisements compensate for the bulk cost of my entertainment. Product placement is nothing new to the airwaves but the recent and abrupt shift in subtlety has folks questioning whether these advertisements will backfire and cause an inverse effect. For example, my husband refuses to test the Miller’s new beer because a scene from a recent episode of TNT’s Dark Blue features a bartender handing a patron his drink while saying, “Here’s your MGD 64.” The camera then pans to an advertisement on the wall that plugs none other than Miller Genuine Draft 64. What happened to the good ol’ days where James Bond effortlessly crushed Alfa Romeos and Aston Martins while serving Her Majesty and saving the world from evil villains?
It’s probably safe to assume that Bernie Madoff and Michael Lewis didn’t realize how they had changed the course of entertainment history when they crashed our economy last year but I’m anxious to see how the people respond. Will we sit back and take the force-feeding? Or will Hollywood reclaim some of its integrity and tact? Hit me up. I want to know.
Posted by Elizabeth