The Brought to You by TV Squad Award: Winner - VIDEO
by Jen Creer, posted Jun 6th 2008 11:59PM
Product placement is everywhere, inescapable. According to Dr. Jean Kilbourne, author of Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel, Americans are exposed to approximately 3000 advertisements every single day. Kilbourne has a compelling video called Killing Us Softly that reveals how insidious advertisements are. Ads tell us that women should be thinner, quieter, nicer, want to have cleaner houses. They tell us that men are boarish, lust after women while drinking cheap beers, and order endless rounds of pizza without ever developing a gut. Advertisements not only tell us what we should buy: They tell us how we should think and feel about things and who we should be.
Unfortunately, the price of our entertainment is advertisements. Even when you go to the movies these days, before you have seen any previews, you have seen six commercials for new phones from Verizon and Sprint; and you have paid handsomely for the privilege. This TV Squad Award is amusing, but it is also a testament to how ubiquitous ads are: They have now found their way into the very scripts of some of our very best shows. The only advantage shows like Lost and Battlestar Galactica have is that they mostly take place anachronistically, so advertising would stand out too ridiculously. However, sadly, other outstanding shows have succumbed. And one of the finest is TV Squad's choice to win this award.
But before we talk about the winner, let's take a look at the problem in general. I found this YouTube video from one year ago that talks about product placement, and includes our winner in its discussion.
Eventually, it might be kind of cool (in a sick way) to be able to reach into your television and pull out an icy Coke when you are watching American Idol. But until that time, unfortunately, we are stuck with being inundated with advertising unless we decide to retreat entirely from the world.
During TV Squad voting, I thought we were going to have a tie. The voting was soooo close between Smallville and Heroes that I honestly thought we might have two winners on our hands. But we finally got a vote that toppled the winner (not that the big photo at the top of this post hasn't given it away already). But a big shout out to Smallville for creating an entire episode around a brand of gum.
However, that doesn't beat the over-the-top product placement going on in Heroes. I found out today that there are entire Wikis devoted to Heroes' product placement. The overall wiki is further divided into wikis for the individual products, including Hiro's precious Nissan Versa. I really tried to find some video of him saying Nissan Versa repeatedly, but I didn't have any luck. Does anybody know where we could find that?
But don't beat up on Heroes too much for winning this award. It doesn't mean that Heroes sucks more than other shows out there. Even though a show that is otherwise so extraordinarily written (first season, I'm talking about first season) should know better and perhaps demonstrate a little more integrity. Unfortunately, I think this is just the beginning.