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Thursday, July 05, 2012

THE GLADES ADVERTISING

"Digital brand integration is part of the evolution of product placement. It's simply another tool marketers use to get products integrated into shows. If you can put it in a package, we can put it in a show."
- David Brenner

On A&E there's a show called The Glades which is somewhat fun to watch. The first season was far better than the last two, and the central romance is basically tedious to me, I end up fast forwarding through half the show lately. Its not that I don't like the girl, she's interesting enough and pretty but I don't care for how the main character and her got together and since they did, the main character is not nearly interesting enough any more.

In fact he's gotten kind of boring. He was so irreverent, flippant, random, and arrogant that he was interesting to watch - especially since he was almost always right. The last two seasons he's just an average cop, not particularly insightful or intelligent.

But there is an aspect to the show that's fascinating to me, and I think its the future. It hearkens back to the old radio shows from the 30's and 40s, during the golden age of the wireless. They were blatant about it then. The show sponsors got ads during the content of the show. They'd mention what cigarettes they smoked and how great they were. They'd mention the laundry detergent or what have you, right in the middle of the show, as if it was part of the script - and it was.

And The Glades does this. Now, every show on television has product placement, usually more subtle, like a truck pulling up to the camera to show off the badge on the grille. They'll linger a little bit longer on an item or have it facing the camera label first. But its in the background or not too obvious. The writers at The Glades are having none of that.

The first year it wasn't so obvious but the second became hilarious. I think the first year they pushed Skittles pretty hard, and Kia is a big sponsor, so several times its been shamelessly promoted. The latest epsiode was the funniest yet, with the doctor driving up in his Optima, which the camera swings around like a Kia ad, then steps out and talks about how great the interior is. Then the camera swoops into the interior to show it off just like an ad. The main character quips "you sound like a car commercial" and the doctor, straight faced, without missing a beat says "I'm just doing my job here."

And he is. Its his job to sell products, that's what actors do on television, besides tell a story or entertain. They're keeping you around for advertisers. And as I noted a few weeks ago, the old way of advertising is going the way of the dodo. People record shows or watch them on demand and fast forward past the ads. They skip ads online. They just don't care to pay attention any longer.

So this is the way to do it. And honestly, if its not too overwhelming - once or twice a show - I don't really mind. Sometimes those old radio shows were really clever how they'd do it (in fact, modern podcasts are basically the same way, they have sponsors they push, in their own way). That ad block I think is going to die out, and perhaps so will the Mad Men style advertising agency. Well good riddence, really.

But the advertisement is going nowhere. It just has to be more clever and more creative to catch your attention. Product placement is one good way to do it. Its an old, respected way to handle the cost of a show, and its actually more honest than advertising, because its right in the show. They aren't pretending this is something separate, they are admitting "hey, this is just part of the job."

If the star stops and drinks a cold frosty Coors Light or enjoys a Taco Time burrito for a few seconds, complimenting it, that's part of the show, and it can move the story along. The product placement in Demolition Man was of this sort: it was integral to the story and yet pushed Taco Bell like crazy. I can live with that. Just keep it brief and not too often, and organic to the story. Don't have your hardboiled cop turn all weepy and tell you about "rescue" animals at the shelter in the middle of a gunfight or something.

For more on product placement, I defer to Wayne's World.



This not only mocks product placement but does it in the process of showing off products in a manner that's hilarious and entertaining. That's how you do it.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I HATE IT...I HATE IT....I HATE IT.....

9:39 PM, July 17, 2012  

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