I don’t know about you, but in the last month or two, I have felt like I have been assaulted multiple times by brands making an appearance in some of my favorite TV shows. It’s got me thinking (again) about the line between entertainment and advertising…
About a month ago, I was watching my favorite guilty pleasure, Royal Pains, and one of the key characters starting talking about her new car.
It was innocent enough since it eventually became a key plot point in the show’s storyline.
Until they started talking about how easy it had been to find the car by using AutoTrader.com.
They even went so far as to show a demo of how the service worked on-screen!
A couple of weeks later, I was watching summer hit, Under the Dome, and Rebecca instructed Big Jim to “take the Prius” since they were experiencing a severe shortage of gas in the town.
This mention, while seemingly innocent, was actually a subliminal message that, should the world ever run out of natural gas, Prius drivers would be safe…
And then on the last few episodes of Boardwalk Empire, anti-hero Nucky Thompson mentions rum brand, Bacardi, by name, as he works to import it to once again increase his fortune.
Now, I usually don’t have a problem with product placement.
We have been experiencing it for literally centuries.
Who doesn’t have a warm spot in their heart for Reese’s Pieces after watching the movie E.T.?
And 007 just wouldn’t be the same without his Aston Martin…
But for some reason, these more recent examples seem a little less subtle, pretty much hitting the viewer over the head.
And to be honest, I found it somewhat offensive.
It was almost as if marketers (and to be fair, the writers of the show itself) were insulting my intelligence.
As if I wouldn’t notice that they had placed a big, blaring advertisement in the middle of my TV show!
Now, I certainly understand and appreciate the challenges we marketers are facing in today’s world of ad skipping.
But I would argue that there are more elegant ways to go about getting our message across.
Maybe force-feeding these messages won’t make consumer more amenable to trying our products.
Maybe it will actually deter consumers from trial instead of attracting them.
I could be wrong, but I kind of feel like this is not the best direction for us to be heading in terms of “creative” brand presence.
As always, tell us what you think in the Comments below…