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October 9, 2015


'How I Met Your Mother': Your Face Here

by Stephanie Earp, posted Jul 12th 2011 3:00PM

Mad props to the investigatory reporters over at Entertainment Weekly who chased down the source of some wacky ads that were popping up in reruns of 'How I Met Your Mother.' I give big-ups to them not only for breaking some fascinating news but also for admitting that, like the rest of us, they watch reruns of 'HIMYM.'

The news is this: thanks to groundbreaking technology, it is now possible to sell ads in old episodes of TV shows by digitally inserting things like TV screens in bar scenes or billboards on sidewalk scenes, and having those digital screens carry timely ads, for example, as EW noted, for the release of 'Bad Teacher' in an episode that was shot in 2009.

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'Modern Family' Co-Creator Explains Genesis of iPad Story

by Brad Trechak, posted Apr 2nd 2010 12:37PM
Modern FamilyChristopher Lloyd, the co-creator of 'Modern Family', explained to The Live Feed blog that the recent iPad-centric episode of the show was not a case of paid product placement. You know what? I believe him.

Truthfully, the love of gadgets fits very well into Phil Dunphy's (as played by Ty Burrell) character. He's the sort of man-child that would love such toys as the iPad. Plus given all its publicity it has gotten so far, it's not likely the iPad needs more product placement. Lloyd told James Hibberd that they wanted Phil to get excited over a gadget, and the iPad seemed to be "the perfect one to use," since it was being released the Saturday after the episode aired.

More likely examples of paid product placement would be 'Chuck's' heavy use of the Subway restaurant chain or that painful episode of 'Smallville' that revolved around the consumption of Stride Gum that was infected with Kryptonite. It's also possible to name episodes of 'The Office' and '30 Rock' with paid product placement that got to the point of parody.

On the other hand, it's unlikely that the creator of a show would ever admit to selling out. We'll have to accept that the complete truth will never be known. Enjoy the show!

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Hot Topics Make Good Comedy ... even the iPad on 'Modern Family'

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 1st 2010 10:35PM
phil_ipad_modern_family_abcWhile watching the two family sitcoms on ABC last night, 'The Middle' and 'Modern Family,' it seemed to me that they were funnier than usual because the writers took the effort to incorporate topical, timely elements into the scripts. On 'The Middle,' it was all about basketball and the NCAA Final Four. On 'Modern Family,' it was the highly anticipated release of the Apple iPad.

Now, while Joel thought the latter was an overdone commercial that may have been penned by Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself, my reaction was completely the opposite. And some critics agreed with me, too.

The idea that Phil would be obsessing about the latest technology was in keeping with the character. Phil's been established as a techie guy, a geekster of the first order. Why wouldn't he be an early adopter of the iPad considering that it is being touted as the next big thing?

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'Modern Family' Was One Long iPad Commercial Last Night

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 1st 2010 7:08PM
Julie Bowen holds a friggin' iPad on 'Modern Family'We live in a TiVo world, and its impact has been spilling out all over our favorite shows in the form of product placement. The judges on 'American Idol' drink out of huge Coke or Vitamin Water cups. The chefs on 'Top Chef' use Calphalon equipment, as all the logo close-ups tell us. The folks at the Buy More on 'Chuck' really love their Subway sandwiches.

We get it. It's the way of the TV world these days, as someone's got to the pay the freight in a world where you can zap a commercial by pushing a button.

But, when entire stories on shows play out like an ad for a product, then things have gone too far. Unfortunately, my favorite new show, 'Modern Family,' took things that step too far last night with their iPad-themed plot. It felt like one long Apple commercial. Never mind that the episode aired just in time for the device's release on Saturday; the iPad drove the plot rather than the plot necessitating the use of an iPad. And that's where the producers crossed the line.

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Stouffer's Should Be Doing Product Placement in 'The Middle'

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 8th 2010 9:00AM
How's this for an odd occurrence of non-product placement? On Wednesday night, during the ABC sitcom block -- actually during 'Modern Family' -- there was a commercial for Stouffer's Family Size dinners. The commercial referred to 'The Middle,' making the case for how positive it is for families to sit down and share a meal together.

It was a great idea for a commercial, but did anybody at Stouffer's realize that with the exception of Thanksgiving, the Hecks don't actually cook dinner? They're usually bringing in bags of take out from a burger joint. You see hamburgers and fries and lots of paper products, but it was only for Turkey Day that anybody actually fixed dinner.

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Jeremy Piven on 'Big Brother': Shameless Movie Plug Alert!

by Kelly Woo, posted Aug 10th 2009 6:00PM
Jeremy PivenSo, last night's episode of 'Big Brother 11' was filled with the usual petty arguments, inane conversations about spider anatomy and endless strategizing ... when all of a sudden Jeremy Piven stopped by.

Yes, that Jeremy Piven. The three-time Emmy winner from 'Entourage randomly showed up at the 'BB' house and cracked jokes with the houseguests. Was Piven just in the neighborhood? Of course not. He delivered some, ah, interesting news: The luxury challenge reward would be a screening of his new movie, 'The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard.'

Groan. Really, Piven, this is how low you'll go?

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NBC gives Knight Rider a full order

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 21st 2008 12:01PM
KROkay, the other day I applauded Fox for giving Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles a pick up for the remainder of the 2008-2009 season. Even though the critics have been expecting more from the sci-fi series, Fox chose to stick with the show and give it a chance to evolve. Good for them!

That said, the news today that NBC has given Knight Rider a full season order leaves me cold. That's an order for nine more episodes, and it strikes me as throwing good money after bad. Knight Rider has been struggling in the ratings and generally dissed by the critics. It hasn't earned a pick up to be perfectly frank.

So why would NBC give this remake of the 1980's action drama a vote of confidence? Well, it could be that it's considered one of NBC programming chief Ben Silverman's pet projects.

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More signs of the product placement apocalypse

by Brett Love, posted Aug 5th 2008 8:25AM

Psych - Jeff Fahey and Mercedes Mcnab
Ah, product placement. It's a subject that's come up before. We have an award for it, and even as far back as those care free days of 2005, Karina was writing about the Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild Of America protesting it. The telling quote from that piece, "Our writers are being told to perform the function of ad copywriter, but to disguise this as storytelling." And isn't that where most of us have always drawn the line in the sand? The placing of products into sets was kind of an understood cost of doing business, but having the writers change scripts to incorporate them was a whole other ball of (Turtle) wax. Unfortunately, those (Foster Farms) chickens have come home to roost.

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The Brought to You by TV Squad Award nominees

by Jen Creer, posted May 30th 2008 8:41PM
tvsquadawards053008jenI was honestly surprised by the number of responses we got to the call for nominees for The Brought to You by TV Squad Awards. It turns out that a LOT of people are as irritated by blatant product placement as I am. Hurray! Is this the wave of the future? And if it is, can we get advertisers to eliminate commercials? Because if I have to endure ads tucked within my shows, then I don't want even to have to speed past them with my TiVo. Let's have one or the other, shall we? Because I'd hate to start boycotting Krispy Kreme and Stride gum just because I've been bombarded.

As it turns out, there were four stand-out nominees; I will tell you who they are after the jump, and then you will have a chance to vote for the Reader's Choice winner (which, in this case, is actually an obnoxious loser). But I did want to mention two runners up: 30 Rock gets an honorable mention for its mention of Verizon, but it doesn't quite make the cut because of the humorous way it handles the mention, and the show's ability to poke fun at itself. The other honorable mention goes to Ugly Betty for its hour-long ad for Wicked, but it still didn't quite make the cut.

So, the nominees for the most obnoxious abuse of product placement within their episodes are ...

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Jimmy Kimmel is bringing back live commercial spots

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 15th 2008 2:40PM
Jimmy KimmelRemember that song, "Everything Old Is New Again"? Well, it's true. In the old days of broadcasting, it was typical for the host of a show to appear during the hour or half-hour doing a live commercial endorsing the sponsor of the program. That old idea is being re-invented and ABC will soon announce that Jimmy Kimmel will be doing live spots on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Call it the ultimate in product integration, if you will, but it's just one more way for advertisers to guard against DVR watchers zapping through the commercials or live viewers clicking to another channel. And if they're smart, they'll make the commercials clever enough to be worth watching. The live ads will launch in May.

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Things I Hate About TV: Extremely blatant product placement

by Richard Keller, posted Dec 28th 2007 3:04PM

Is it Days of our lives or Walgreen's of our livesA few days ago I happened to catch an episode of the NBC soap opera Days of our Lives that my wife was watching. Hey, don't look at me that way! My wife is a fan of the show. Oh, sure, I used to watch it during the Shane/Kimberly/ Patch/Kayla/Frankie/Jennifer heydays of the late 80's, but it doesn't do anything for me now. Really, I'm serious!

Anyway, the scene I walked in on was one between Chelsea Brady and Nick Fallon (I got those names from my wife, I swear!). It seemed that Chelsea was depressed about one thing or another and Nick had the solution to cheer her up. They went to a nearby computer, where Nick began to pull up pictures, on the Wallgreens photo site, of the couple during happier times. When Chelsea asked how he did this (because she is obviously technically non-savvy) Nick responded that he just uploaded the pictures to the Walgreens.com and, I believe, he added some end tagline like 'It's just so simple.'

Holy. Freakin. Crap.

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The Dead Zone: Drift

by Jen Creer, posted Aug 20th 2007 10:23AM
bruce and johnny(S06E10) All season, I have been trying to put a positive spin on bad writing, poor casting choices (Sheriff Turner, remember her? Barely? We never see her, so maybe they think she was a poor choice too), episodes that seem recycled from other seasons, and others that are completely forgettable and irrelevant. But tonight was just the last straw. I have had it. I cannot think of one more good thing to say about this infomercial for Visa that is running around disguising itself as television.

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Product placement - the anti-TiVo

by Brad Linder, posted Mar 21st 2007 2:01PM
King of QueensSure, Trimspa and KFC may think they've got the answer to TiVo-proof advertising. But no matter how much information they cram on each frame of the commercial so that it'll be visible during fast-forward, there's no way to defeat the 30-second skip (or bathroom break, for that matter).

So advertisers are turning in droves to product placement. According to Nielsen, Coca-Cola paid for 3,355 occurrences of television product placements last year. And they weren't alone. Blogging Stocks has top 10 lists of advertisers and the shows they placed products on.

I probably shouldn't be too shocked that American Idol topped the second list with 4,085 placements in 2006. In fact, almost all of the shows on the list were reality TV, which I find somewhat reassuring. I'm not sure what's up with King of Queens though. The show was number 6 with 1,954 product placements.

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Thursday was product placement night on NBC

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 21st 2006 11:14AM
Staples MailMate ShredderSo the first night of NBC's new "Must-See TV" lineup (except Scrubs) turned out to be eventful for more than one reason: not only did we see a pivotal episode of The Office, the cast of My Name Is Earl in Claymation, and the first Thursday 30 Rock, we saw more self-referrential product placements in one night than at any time I could remember.

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.

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Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: The Option Period

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 20th 2006 11:34PM

Studio 60(S01E09) OK, now this is getting a little strange. This is the fourth episode of an NBC show (the others were two episodes of 30 Rock and an episode of The Office) where product placement was mentioned. In this, because of a blow the company is going to take on the Macau deal, Jordan says that 15 people are going to have to be let go from the show. Jokingly, Matt and Danny bring up product placement, but Jordan thinks it's something they should seriously consider.

The hell? Is NBC trying to convince us that product placement is here, it's good, and we should get used to it?

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