I checked out a couple interesting marketing shorts this week — for Lux, Honda, American Express and others — and I kept thinking about product placement. It’s really the most basic form of film marketing and often the most controversial. I think that’s because it’s sneaky, and unlike the marketing shorts, the companies aren’t up front about the fact that they’re trying to sell you something. For that reason, I’ve never been a fan of product placement. After watching The Truman Show and sketch comedy skits that poke fun at product placement, I thought most other people frowned on the practice, too, but it seems I may be wrong.
Why, you ask? It seems fans of the TV show “Chuck” are pushing other fans to head to Subway — a chain featured in a recent episode — for a sandwich before next week’s show in hopes of keeping it on the air. According to the LA Times:
“So much for product placement turning off viewers. ‘It shows a real sophistication on the part of the viewer,’ [show co-creator Josh] Schwartz said.”
Agreed. At the very least, it shows that customers are well aware of product placement on their favorite TV shows, and not just on American Idol, where you’d have to be deaf, dumb and blind to miss it. The fact that fans are embracing it is promising for marketers, and it may be an indication that customers are warming up to more invasive advertising messages. Food for thought…kind of like a $5 footlong.