Monday, May 23, 2011

Product Placement: Sneaking in and Staying in

Amber Skorpenske

All of a Sudden I'm Craving a Coke...
We are bombarded with product placements and subliminal messages at all times. So much so that we don't even notice it anymore. We could be watching our favorite TV show and when one of the characters pulls an ice cold coke out of their fridge (even without mentioning it) we start salivating and wish we had one of our own. But let's face it, we've come to expect this kind of thing in TV. But in newspapers and magazines? At first I couldn't even think of product placement issues, but once I really looked at what I was reading, I couldn't believe it. Those editorial openings to all of our most beloved interviews with the "newest pop star" or "business mogul" are filled with products that we suddenly crave after reading the article. Although many organizations have started to push for editorial guidelines and policies, is this something that will really be helpful in the future? We have come to accept this product placement and even embrace it. After all, if someone just said they were enjoying a delicious pizza...wouldn't we want to know what kind it was? And where they got it? As an audience we are always curious what our favorite celebrities and writers are talking about it. The question is do using these product placements affect the writing/television and overall final product? Sneaking these products into under our noses should be viewed as a kind of "extra spice" not the whole meal. But unfortunately many magazines and movies are paid to use these products. Without much thought to how it will effect their persona. Is this an ethical procedure? How will we be able to to discern whether movies/magazines/books are using products to flavor their stories or just because they are being paid to do it.

A Pet Peeve...
When a person goes to buy a product we often rely on what other people have to say about it. I don't want to hear from the persons selling it to me; of course they will assure me that it's the best! By reading peer reviews we can figure out if the product is all it's cracked up to be. Which is why it such a problem, ethically, when people are paid to give products good reviews, through tweets or actual online reviews. Bloggers are even sent free products to try and review them. By sending these people free stuff is it not creating a bias? Bloggers, tweets and amazon reviewers alike are all susceptible to ploys from companies who want to seem credible. After all, we trust "normal people likes us" trying to buy the same product. If we can't trust reviewers or the people who sell the products to us, how will we be able to make intelligent decisions?

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