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October 13, 2015

Should viewers be told about product integration in shows?

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 27th 2008 5:23PM

Hollywood sign

Interesting piece over at Nikki Finke's site. While everyone is concentrating on a possible actors strike (the deadline is Monday for SAG to make an agreement), there's another little controversy going on. The Writers Guild of America West has asked the FCC to look into the ever-increasing habit of product integration in network shows. Not only does the WGA want to see the use of products on television eased up, which the FCC is already looking into, they also want to go one step further and make viewers fully aware that they are seeing an ad.

And how would the networks do that?

The WGA wants "real-time" disclosure, which basically means they want to see a crawl at the bottom of the screen when product placement is happening in a scene, similar to crawls for sports scores, weather, other news, and ads for other shows. They want to see this during the show because they don't feel a disclosure at the start or end of a show would be as noticeable or as effective.

Part of me fully understands why viewers should know it's a paid ad they're seeing (though I would hope viewers would know that already), however, a crawl in the middle of a TV show seems like a weird idea.

What do you think of this idea? Do you already assume that it's an ad when you see someone talking about Snapple or a cool car on a TV show? What should the networks do to tell viewers, if anything?

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What's the big deal about product placement. I don't even notice it. But crawls at the bottom of the screen would drive me crazy. Terrible, terrible idea. Would just draw more attention to the products. The advertisers would probably love it because people would be more apt to notice the products. I'd rather have more product placement with no crawls and no commercials than anything. Why would product placement bother anyone, it is so unobtrusive.

June 29 2008 at 11:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

imo, a crawl would be too obtrusive...
i'd vote for a centralized site where we, as viewers, can look at what product placement is featured in what shows, with a disclaimer at the beginning of said shows informing us of the website.

June 28 2008 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe if enough people say it, the advertising morons will get the idea -- product placement is one thing; great, so, you drive a Ford, you drink a Coke, life is good. But do you have to TELL ME Ford or Coke PAID to be in the show? As others have said, you want to piss me off, well, that's an awesome way to do it. Sometimes it's best to be SUBTLE -- maybe we will see that soft drink can on the table and say, wow, so and so drinks Coke, I want to be like them, maybe I'll check it out sometime. But if I have to know Coke paid for that placement, well, I might just have to start drinking Pepsi.

Thank you. I feel better now. Sort of :)

June 28 2008 at 10:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Aren't most shows just ads to make you buy the DVDs these days anyway?

June 28 2008 at 9:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hell no, I don't want this! I remember how pissed off I got when the networks started putting their logo in the corner of the screen years ago. Who knew it would escalate into what it's become today??? Seeing a crawl or any other interruption proclaiming a featured product's virtues would destroy the show I'm watching. I mean, hell, why don't they just draw a little neon halo around the products while they are on screen? Or they could even make them glow with sparkling gold CGI accents the entire time so we don't miss them! Crazy. Simply insane crazy!

June 28 2008 at 8:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


Watch an episode of HOUSE once in a while.

FOX airs a 'promotional consideration' slate before the end credits of every episode.

FOX SPORTS also airs a similar screen at the end of their pre-game shows.

It's not that hard to do.

June 28 2008 at 3:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I meant to say "not having to write ads in their story."

June 28 2008 at 1:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael White

Is there really anyone so stupid not to realize all of the Coca Cola stuff on Idol?

The truth is that there should be a limit on the intrusions on screen during a show. With all the "promos" and other visual interuptions, there are certain shows, and some cable networks that I find I can not watch enjoyably.

The tilt on this, added to all the ATT sponsered show, with Sprint half time report and Verizon line ups are making these "advertiser incentives" intrusive and so conflicting that as a viewer I am offended at all of them.

Any idiot who is unaware of all of these intrusions can not have an IQ above 50.

June 28 2008 at 12:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ed you are absolutely correct when you said that if they "integrate product placement well, so that it's a natural part of the scene or story, then I don't mind."

That is the point, the writers don't WANT to do this. They should be writing their story, not having to write in their story.

I think this is just to prove a point and nothing more.

June 28 2008 at 12:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

With DVD sales (and merchandising) being such a moneymaker now - ALL of it is a commercial!! If anything, cable TV rates should be going down since we are paying so much for being shown so little programming nowadays.

June 27 2008 at 10:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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