Sunday was a surreal night of television viewing for me. After reading a story about how Campbell Soup
First, it was Malcolm in the Middle pitching Applebee's
I don't think this is just a backlash against TiVo
So I can see why advertisers want in. I also see why producers of a popular show would be willing to take the extra money to slip in some carefully crafted product mentions. But that doesn't mean I have to like it as a consumer.
I don't like the recent wave of intrusive ads during sporting broadcasts, either, but at least those distractions don't take away from the quality of the athletic performance. The scripted ads in TV shows, even when they're worked in seamlessly, compromise the show's credibility. They feel forced. And I imagine this problem getting worse -- a lot worse -- before it gets better. But the networks, show producers, and sponsors may be in for a cruel surprise when viewers abandon shows that lack integrity. A television set won't make anyone any money if it's turned off.
Before you decide whether product placements have gone too far, consider the following:
- I think in-game baseball ads are getting out of control.
- Even carmakers have fishtailed badly out of a product placement campaign.
- Before you know it, companies will be paying you for the right to name your baby.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz let Marge Simpson get away with a Reese's Pieces quip on Sunday night, but he won't be as forgiving the next time around. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story -- so there! The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.