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30 Rock's Product Placement: Brilliant or Annoying?

30 Rock's Product Placement: Brilliant or Annoying?

One of my favorite things about 30 Rock is the sly way the show savages corporate culture — from Jack Donaghy's title (Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming) to the hilarious Greenzo episode that poked fun at NBC's Green is Universal initiative. But I'm conflicted about the show's increasingly blatant product placement. I initially thought the gags were hilarious — remember the scene in the "Jack-Tor" episode where the writers complained about having to do product placement, all the while plugging Snapple? — but recently, they've been grating on me.

Unsurprisingly, NBC is getting paid for those placements, even when 30 Rock makes them into over-the-top jokes. The show has had 142 product placements this season — which, interestingly, isn't nearly as many as The Office, which has had 381 product placements so far. But I don't notice the advertising as much on The Office, probably because the show doesn't intentionally draw attention to the products it's plugging as much as 30 Rock does (the episode where Dwight quits to work at Staples notwithstanding).

With more and more people skipping commercials these days, product placement is probably here to stay. But would you rather have it done in a subtle way or in a direct and over-the-top style like 30 Rock's? As annoying as it can be, I do respect the way 30 Rock makes it obvious that we're being advertised to, and it fits the tone of the show — up to a point, anyway. Where would you draw the line? To watch a clip of the most obvious recent placement, just

Photo courtesy of NBC

— Additional reporting by Kimra McPherson and Kate Emswiler

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cougar41 cougar41 8 years
I thought it was great,hilarious
dollymama dollymama 8 years
brilliantly annoying.
bethiesny bethiesny 8 years
A lot of the product placement I've noticed is Wegmans-brand sodas in the vending machines, Wegmans cereal and milk at Michael and Jan's apartment, and even some boxes of stuff on the fridge in the break room. I know that they've made a point of focusing on other foods/drinks in the break room, too. But probably the most blatant advertising on The Office is cars. Michael makes a big deal about the type of car he drives - whether it's his old convertible or his PT Cruiser or the one he drove into the lake! (And we can't forget Dwight's sweet, sweet Trans Am!)
sweetrae80 sweetrae80 8 years
The product placement in 30 Rock makes sense because everything is a parody. I think it's hilarious.
terryt18 terryt18 8 years
What are some more examples of product placement on the Office? B/c i've heard that complaint before and all I usually notice is the monitors.
bethiesny bethiesny 8 years
kari a k - I totally agree about the Bee Movie ads. What the heck does "TV junior" even mean?!
kari-a-k kari-a-k 8 years
The only thing that annoyed me was Jerry's constant plugging of Bee Movie. In my mind, Tina is a freaking angel that can do know wrong, so I can't criticize her. Seriously, I can't do it.
kia kia 8 years
30 Rock is awesome and it is part of their schtick. I wouldn't be into the over-the-top advertising with other programs.
purrtykitty purrtykitty 8 years
30 Rock is frickin' hilarious. and that kind of product placement isn't in every episode...it was clearly the joke. biggest loser's product placement is far more blatant and annoying. for christ's sake...we get it...chew extra gum instead of shoving french fries in your cakehole!!
karisaamy karisaamy 8 years
30 Rock's product placement is funny - but you can't build a show around it - just as long as it's not every single show it's fine.
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
bethiesny — that's so funny! I've actually shopped at Wegmans (and believe me, I miss it every single time I shop), but I don't think I would have been able to pick out their packaging. I'll be keeping an eye out now, though!
bethiesny bethiesny 8 years
I wonder if you haven't noticed the product placement on The Office, Buzz, because of the products themselves. I live in upstate (western) NY, where everyone loves our local grocery store chain, Wegmans. There's a Wegmans in Scranton, PA, and this season Wegmans products have been popping up all over Dunder-Mifflin. We love seeing a little piece of Rochester, NY on TV!
ashopaholic ashopaholic 8 years
30 rock is hilarious...dont mind it..advertising is everywhere, we just gotta live with it!
bhilb bhilb 8 years
I agree with Francesca. I don't mind the blatant product placement in 30 Rock (in fact, I think it's usually hilarious), but I'm not sure that other shows should try it. It fits into the overall story of 30 Rock, but it would be weird if Lost suddently started blatantly shilling a product in the middle of a scene. On a more general note, too, I don't really mind subtle product placement as a form of advertisement. I realize that the networks have to make money through advertising, and I really love fast-forwarding through commercials.
Francesca-Fiore Francesca-Fiore 8 years
I thought this clip was pretty funny. Then again, anything that comes out of Tina Fey's mouth is comedy gold as far as I'm concerned, and Alec Baldwin is close to that category as well. I would much rather see something like this than the way they used to do it in "Will and Grace", where it's so obvious it's almost insulting, and they try to act like it's no big deal. (Remember the X-Box episode, for example?) But 30 Rock can pull this off- as you said, Buzz, it does fit the tone of the show. I don't know if this could be done as well in any other show, especially one that's not a comedy.
tralalala tralalala 8 years
I thought it was hilarious...
NiceDriveway NiceDriveway 8 years
Actually, I did find it quite funny. There really haven't been very many. Just every so often. I think, if anything, it just reminds you what TV is all about....
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