Ad Nauseum

Ad Nauseum - Entertainment Weekly July 25, 2008 Ad Nauseam...

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Entertainment Weekly July 25, 2008 Ad Nauseam Product placement's proliferation -- More companies are putting their wares in the hands of characters from ''Heroes,'' ''How I Met Your Mother,'' and more By Jennifer Armstrong So, remember back in 2001 how shocked — shocked! — we all were by the blatant commercialism of Survivor 's season 2 contestants swooning over the cans of Mountain Dew they were given as a reward? It seems positively quaint now — especially after years of American Idol judges sipping from ever-present Coke cups, the How I Met Your Mother crew prowling the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, and Jack Bauer saving the world a few times over while tooling around in a Ford Expedition. And it's all leading us to Jingles : The CBS reality show (premiering this fall) will be a product-placement pièce de résistance, in which contestants are charged with writing songs to promote real products. ''That's the logic behind the show: creating an added benefit in today's product-driven environment,'' says exec producer (and Survivor mastermind) Mark Burnett, one of the most aggressive forces behind modern TV product placement via reality shows like The Restaurant , The Contender , and, of course, The Apprentice . Product placement — or, in the current parlance, product integration — is the new norm, and Jingles could be the TV biz's ultimate stab at outsmarting DVR viewers who skip ads: Why not make a show that's one long commercial? As television bleeds viewers and the Internet siphons ad dollars away from the tube, networks are growing ever more desperate to make sure advertisers — their main revenue source — are getting as many attentive eyeballs as possible. Thus, on TBS' The Bill Engvall Show , son Trent announces he's taking his date to Sonic (and returns with two giant Sonic cups), while the rights to portray KITT in NBC's Knight Rider remake went to the highest bidder, Ford Mustang. Prime-time product placement on broadcast TV was up 39 percent in the first three months of this year over the same time last year, according to Nielsen. NBC sales and marketing president Mike Pilot even went so far as to promise during the network's annual spring presentation to advertisers that the Peacock would take their products and ''make them TV stars.'' So what's next — Snapple Diet Peach Iced Tea: The Sitcom ? Maybe. ''The advertisers fund the shows, so we have to work with them to enable our audience to see new and more stuff,'' reasons NBC Entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman, a vocal
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Ad Nauseum - Entertainment Weekly July 25, 2008 Ad Nauseam...

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