Product Placement Fail


I’m a Biggest Loser fan. Actually, I’d consider it a love/hate relationship. Yes, the show is long-winded and 97% cheesy, but I’m still drawn in by the amazing transformations that take place each season. It’s quite incredible.

What I’m not a fan of is the ridiculously obvious product placement segments thrown into the storyline. Each time I see Bob walk into the kitchen at the Biggest Loser house, I know he’s going to start pushing a product on the contestants and us viewers. That said, after several years of these lame scenes, I’ve finally just accepted them. Can you blame a weight-loss show for pushing products? Although irritating, it’s really a natural fit.

Now, here’s an example of an unnatural fit. I’m sitting in my living room watching Pawn Stars on the History Channel the other evening and one of the main characters walks into the shop with Subway breakfast sandwiches for his employees. He then proceeds to detail what ingredients are in each of them. I was so disheartened. (If you aren’t familiar with the show, it is all about daily dealings in a Las Vegas pawn shop and is usually fairly interesting.) The Subway placement seemed so incredibly out-of-place and its execution just too obvious.

Now I’m not knocking product placements in general. I think they can be effective when used in the proper context and when incorporated with discretion, but it seems like TV shows have a difficult time getting them right. Maybe its because the two I mentioned are considered “reality shows,” lacking trained actors and proper scripts? I’m not sure, but I do hope the execution improves sometime soon.

June 17, 2011 · Posted by in marketing, misc  


One Response to “Product Placement Fail”

  1. Pete Prodoehl on June 17th, 2011 8:25 am

    I’m tempted to look to the past, and cite how the old TV shows of the 1950s, and before that the even older radio programs would weave the advertising into the shows. I guess to some degree it’s always been there, but being so blatant, and not fitting properly, is still pretty lame. I wonder how much the use of DVRs has moved television towards this sort of thing. I watch more recorded content than live content, and rarely see commercials anymore.