Thursday was product placement night on NBC
The first one was when we saw The Office's Kevin going nuts over the Staples MailMate shredder. "This shreds eveything," he says with a sense of childlike wonder. "It shreds CDs. It shreds credit cards..." The look on his face after he realized he shredded his own credit card is priceless, as was the salad he made with the shredder right before the credits. Oh, and by the way, Staples had an ad for the MailMate during the "supersized" episode.
Then, on 30 Rock, not only did we see Alec Baldwin brilliantly play Jack Donaghy doing take after take of an employee video on "GE Product Integration," but Tina Fey and company made fun of the concept by making overt references to how great Snapple is. It was so obvious that there was a scene where Liz and Pete run into a guy in a Snapple bottle costume looking for Human Resources. Of course, there was a Snapple commercial during the show.
A few observations about "product-placement-palooza":
- Snapple? Did Tina and her staff write the Snapple references in before Snapple bought the ad or vice versa? Because if it's the former, Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld got to that joke first... fourteen years ago (see the episode "The Virgin," among others from Season Four).
- The MailMate is pretty cool. In fact, it was so cool that I was thinking of buying one for myself when I was reorganizing my home office a few weeks ago. But I found a shredder that did the exact same thing -- including shredding CDs, credit cards and floppy disks -- for $42 less (it was on sale). Guess where I found it?
- Not sure if the self-aware product placement joke works as well if you actually see an ad for the product during the show. I don't know... kind of erases any doubt about whether the placement was done for comedy purposes, even if that was the original intention. It just makes it look like NBC asked the writers to somehow include the products in the show. I mean, as far as I remember, I never saw a Burger King ad during that Arrested Development episode that played up a BK product placement...
- Boy, Alec Baldwin has gotten fat.
So, what did you think? Was it too much? Did the commercials after the product placement kill the comedy? Let me know in the comments.