Sometimes I get confused and dizzy like I’m going to fall off a precipice even though I’m sitting on the sofa in my living room when I think about the endless choices I have for all manner of consumer goods and all I want, all I really, really want, is for some movie star or television sitcom character to tell me what to buy. That’s why I was thrilled when a friend of mine at work today showed me an article on the Wired News website that reported an 84 percent rise in product placements on TV this year. It’s been terribly hard to know what I should think about shaving cream, for example, ever since I stupidly bought TiVo a couple years ago and started skipping the commercials. Now I don’t have to worry anymore about which perfume to buy for my wife. Well, I never worried about it before, either, but that was because I had no idea that Wal-Mart had its own perfume line. I know, I know—how naïve. But thanks to All My Children we can all stay up to date on the latest trends in affordable, magnificent scents! Also, I no longer have to feel guilty about robbing those poor corporations of their advertising dollars. Instead, I can count on my TV programs portraying real situations with the real products that they want me to enjoy. No more Brand X coming between me and my willing suspension of disbelief! From now on, it’s totally immersive consumer verisimilitude.
Unfortunately, this liberation from the shackles of indecision has not gone unchallenged. Some uppity script writers are waging a war on product placement, not unlike the war on Christmas, with a website called productinvasion.com. These people actually believe that they— not the ones who are footing the bill—should get to decide the plots of the TV shows that they’re writing. Now that’s downright un-American.
Read the Wired News article: TV Writers Must Sell, Sell, Sell