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.
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?
Guess which company had the most successful product placement on television in 2007? Nope, it's not Apple Computer, which would have been my first guess.
It's actually Tyson Foods. They got the top nod from IAG Research after donating thousands of pounds of meat to a family on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Their brand-opinion index rating was 394. This score represented the most effective integration on TV in 2007. (I have no idea how they accurately measure something like that.)
NBC's 30 Rock makes fun of the network, television in general and, in at least a few instances, product integration. Product integration is the new way to get advertising money that's becoming more and more popular. The Office blatantly refers to real corporations like Staples all the time and football has John Madden's scribbles sponsored by someone now. Well, on a recent episode of Rock, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin blatantly praised Verizon Wireless in a brief exchange before Fey turned to the camera and said directly, "Can we have our money now?"
Funny and lucrative apparently, as Yahoo! reports today that this was a real case of product integration, with Verizon paying for the "commercial" which at the same time was making fun of the very thing they were doing which ... wow, this gets confusing.
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