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Old December 2nd, 2005, 01:35 PM   #1
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Commercial Hype Invades TV Program Content

This issue is certainly nothing new, as "Product Placement" has been around since the beginning and is present in movies, as well. There's also "The List", which rewards TV personalities for mentioning products, by sending them substantial packages of the merchandise. But this has been a passive and barely noticeable practice.

However, this week on "CSI-New York", a whole different level of this has been breached. A CSI agent is shown receiving a "Text-Talk" message from his girlfriend and explains to his partner just what it is. Moments later, they go to a commercial for something called "Cool Play Master Realtone Text". They say that you, too, can have this cell phone service you saw on CSI-New York.

If this is tolerated, there'll be no end to it. It'll be worse and more ubiquitous than pop-up ads on the Internet. We now have public stadiums and school arenas named for companies who paid big bucks for the privilege. Even high school tournaments and championship games are known by the names of banks, dot-com companies, etc. It appears that the business world can't make a go of it by using straight commercials and promotions, but figures they have to take you by surprise with this "Ambush Advertising". The concept of "free" public broadcasts has mostly disappeared. But now, even
premium cable and pay-per-view channels and in-theatre movies are shucking ads.

My newest HDTV tuner/DVR has no "skip" button that is designated and I'd bet that commercial interests called that shot. Luckily, a discussion forum guru provided a secret code that awakens the skip function that was left hiding in the unit's operating chip. My newer DV/S-VHS VCR has no skip button on its remote controler, but an older remote from the same company can make the VCR do a 30-second skip. Eventually, will we see programing systems that require you to watch and listen to commercials, before you can continue viewing the program? Will all audio and video equipment be integrated into a control system to the extent that only by leaving the room, could you avoid commercials? Actually, I have faith that subversives like us, will find ways to avoid most of this nonsense. I would never buy a product or service that used stealth or ambush tactics, but I wonder how much of the population will resist it? I feel better now.
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 04:02 PM   #2
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Yep, the companies that sell ephemeral crap are really worried. If they can't propagandize us into thinking their product is cool or fashionable, we'll stop buying it. Subversives will always find a way around stuff like the "no skip" feature but it'll be much harder to get around the "imbedded" commercial.

Mild product placement can be shrugged off, but it's getting more and more blatant as time goes by. If you didn't see I, Robot you missed some of the most egregious, blunt-object product placement ever. When the actors bring the plot to a screeching halt to talk about their friggin' shoes, we're really in trouble.

What's next? I predict that the Narnia sequel will have a scene where the heroes get the magic sword that saves the day from a happy meal in a Burger King.
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 06:38 PM   #3
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I think this is inevitable. Advertisers know that that people aren't watching the commercials and are reacting to it. Most analysts now think that the future will really be in downloadable content without commercials. In this model, the producers will probably get their money from download fees (like the iTunes store offereing Lost and Desparate Housewives.

But the real loser is going to be your local TV station. The local businesses who advertise there are not going to spend money on commercials that nobody watches. There should be quite a shakeup in the TV landscape in the coming years....
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Old December 4th, 2005, 05:21 PM   #4
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And there are DVDs with built in, unskipable commercials. The ones I think are really dumb are the ones that tell us about the new release coming out. When this DVD is 15 years old, I am still going to have to sit through that string of unskipable ads.

I agree on this issue. Product placement tie-ins suck. I could live without them. I know it would increase the budget of the movie, etc. I would gladly pay 50 cents more per disc to have them deleted.

If we could show the folks we would pay a few cents more for each DVD, tape of a program to have the commercials left off, that could be used to offset the amount they claim to get from having it there.

I really don't mind product placement when done quietly in a film. The tie-in after the fact is just cheap. I think Nokia was close with the Matrix phone but as I recall, I had to go find it, it didn't come find me on the screen.

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