I've been planning on this post for a while. So, I ventured across the Internet - thinking my use f "integration" fit the topic better - and just as I'm about to link articles, there the word is. Seems everyone is using it and I knew nothing about it.
Now what am I going on about? Overdone product placement in programs, films, and written fiction. The easiest way to see this in action is to watch any recent episode of the show Eureka. It's hard to overlook lines such as: "I really like your new Subaru [model name here]."
Pretty much everything appearing in the show is a product. Basically, they use real products - not cans labeled "BEER," but commercially produced beer. They speak about it, place it in clear view, and then speak about it again.
Having a bit of experience in the advertising world from working with a magazine, I can tell you that there will probably only be 1 product of a given brand per show. This means if Subaru is advertising, then all other cars become generic. If Coke is advertising, then there are no other soft drinks with real names. And their mentioning must be placed within appropriate editorial - meaning, the have to write the "integration" into the show as content.
The NBC show 30 Rock does this as well, although they make fun of themselves for doing it as though to make it appear they are not really doing it. Sounds more confusing than it is.
It does seem that the FCC has responded. This quote comes from a Washington Post article:
FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin said product placements and integration intoI'm not sure listing anything in the speed-of-light, crunched into a small box credits will help anyone realize a product is being promoted. But I suppose it is a start.
story lines have increased as television viewers increasingly use recording
devices like TiVo and DVRs to fast forward through commercials. Currently,
agency's rules require television programmers to disclose sponsors who have
embedded products into shows. Those disclosures typically are done during the
credits at the end of the show, which fly by viewers in small script.
"We want to make sure consumers understand and are aware that they are
being advertised to," said Martin, who first pushed to clarify disclosure rules
last fall. "We ask how we should update our rules to reflect current trends in
And yes, it is happening in fiction as well, but I won't list books titles - they are easy to find. What once was thought to be verisimilitude is now actual product placement.
What is more striking is that Nielsen is already tracking the product integration. Yes, these are the folks who track TV ratings, ringtone sales, book sales, and pretty much anything that needs tracking. I wonder if this means shows with low reception to product integration will be cancelled? Too many people watching and not enough buying.