Fade in on the Main Character sitting at his desk to research a deadly virus.
CUT TO: Bing search bar … hands typing on keyboard … pan up back of computer (zoom in on Dell logo) …

It’s not new, but lately we have been so put off by the unbearable product placements on TV that we decided to do a little digging.
First of all, we realize that for decades brands have been slipping products into TV shows and movies. It’s no coincidence that your favorite whiz kid uses a Mac, and breakfast at a sitcom family’s house wouldn’t be complete without Tropicana. Lately, however, it’s the awkward, out-of-character dialogue, blatant close-ups and story-altering twists that are causing some seriously epic eye-rolling at my house.

For example, when The Amazing Spider-Man hit theaters, fans were treated to a scene in which Peter Parker uses Bing, and a Twitter firestorm was born (nerdy Peter Parker would never use Bing). I can even think of one other cringe-worthy Bing placement. Anyone remember when The Closer characters paused in the middle of their murder investigation to note their car’s “voice-activated Bing search capabilities”? (ew.) What about when the women of Rizzoli & Isles paused last week to give each other tips about Dr. Scholl’s high heel gel inserts? (double ew.)

Here’s where it gets interesting. Beyond the obvious advertising value, there are also (good?) PR implications of product placements, and it’s more than you might think. Articles are published, people are talking, social media is buzzing, and we are writing this post about it.

Blame it on Tivo and the rise of the DVR, but the shift of ads from the commercial break to the plot of my favorite show is out of control. But is it bad for business? We found this comment particularly interesting:

“I’m the guy who did that [Popeye’s] placement and what is amazing for that brand is people (like you) keep bringing that placement back into the light 12 years later,,,, we also made the 5 cheesiest product placement [sic] in November 2011… I lost count after 800,000,000 million impressions…”

Isn’t this the kind of buzz that some brands would die for?

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