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Do You Think Product Integration Should Stop Trying to Be So Sneaky?

The Writers Guild of America is sick of having to write storylines in TV shows solely to feature a product or brand, so much so that the group is bringing the issue to the FCC. The WGA is hoping to make it so that any kind of advertisement is blatantly disclosed, and writers don't have to sneakily work products into a plotline where they maybe don't make sense.

geeksugar has questioned the product integration on Gossip Girl, noting that the show is clearly required to use Verizon products, but the gadgets used by the characters don't make sense for their characters.

WGA West president Patric Verrone explains that with product integration, "the hope is that consumers, not expecting to find a commercial within their program, will fail to realize they are actually being advertised to. This practice exploits the emotional connection viewers have with shows and their characters in order to sell a product." He goes on to claim that audiences are alienated by these sneaky tactics, though "an industry source" counters that "product placement has not been an issue for viewers."

What do you think? Should shows stop trying to work in products, sometimes at the expense of consistency within the story? Or does it not bother you?

Photo courtesy of the CW

Join The Conversation
thetoneishopeful thetoneishopeful 9 years
I kinda actually like it.....!
Hautie Hautie 9 years
This to me is such a moronic issue to me. So here is my bias opinion. Every thing in my daily life is a product placement... I drink Spite. Not a no-name lemon lime drink in a can with picture of a lime on it. I have a GMC truck... Not a no name vehicle. When I am ask "what do you drive?" I answer "Yukon".... not "vehicle". And that Yukon has white letter tires that state they are Bridgestone. There is no way I would ever buy a white letter tire that just had "Tire" printed on it. Would you? Every thing in my pantry has a brand label on it. I will not buy anything with a generic label on it that just has the word "corn" printed in it. Do you? Nor do I buy no name makeup, hair care, soap or even tooth paste. So why do you expect to see products in TV and movies with no label's on them? Personally I would be distracted by all the cheap props with no labels. haha! I highly suspect all the harping the writers are doing about this is about them not getting a cut of the money from the brands that are being advertise in the shows. It has nothing to do with their ethics, as much as it does about them trying to get cash for it.
CoutureGlam21 CoutureGlam21 9 years
I mean really... in years to come product placement is going to be used as a form of commercial (as it does now)... Slowly but surely commercials will seize to exist so all that would be left would be good ole' PRODUCT PLACEMENT.. Frankly, I'm all 4 it.. I could care less, I like Gossip Girl.. But not because Blair has that phone I'm gonna jump on my horse and gallop over to the closest Verizon store.. But ahhh... I'm thirsty... so PEACe!
fsofield fsofield 9 years
I wish product placement would end altogether. But it'll never happen.
Tech Tech 9 years
frogandprince--I don't think the phones match the characters because they are all given assorted Verizon phones--LGs, Samsungs, and Motorolas that the characters might have, but I think they'd be way more likely to sport luxury phones and more well-known phones like the iPhone, BlackBerrys, etc. In fact, in the pilot, Blair had a Sidekick3 and Serena had an iPhone, and then a couple episodes later (presumably when the Verizon deal was struck), they all had different phones! I just think the choices for the phones — especially for tech-crazed rich teens — are a bit unlikely.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 9 years
I don't think I even notice any of anything I watch. But then again I don't watch that many shows and I can be kind of oblivious of some things. I need to pay more attention to 30 Rock because I assume I would have noticed those.
couture-yourself couture-yourself 9 years
I'm constantly having this conversation with my boyfriend. How weird the age we live in where actual products are used. What happened to the days when TV shows & movies had to come up with fictional products, and didn't have company names blatantly posted all over the place? It's just odd to me.
kellys kellys 9 years
i don't mind it when it's subtle (like gossip girl-nobody's going around mentioning product names and someone *has* to sponsor a show that is based on text messaging. they're missing out if they don't), or really, really obvious in a farce way like 30 rock. what gets me are the painful insertions that are obvious and interrupt the flow of the show. a few years ago there was an episode of alias that was a car chase scene in a parking lot. every single car in the shot was a ford and it went on for like 15 minutes. then the next week, they rehashed the scene again for about 15 minutes from the other character's perspective. yes, i'm talking about it 4+ years later and yes, it probably sold a few fords, but it was just icky and tedious to sit through. days of our lives has been doing something similar lately. if it's not canned dialogue about being green, it's a completely out of place conversation for midol.
javsmav javsmav 9 years
Oh, it's for sprint. Good to know. Thanks Fashion4ward.
javsmav javsmav 9 years
I don't mind product placement because I rarely notice it. I'm just not that observant I guess. Unless they are using something that I already own--but of course that's pointless. I'm not going to buy a second iphone just because Samantha used one in SATC. I HATE that "Greatest Product Placement Movie Ever" commercial. Hate it. It's so dumb & annoying. And now there's a TV version. I should try to remember what product it's for so I don't accidentally buy it. That's usually the only way I'm influenced by ads--I refuse to buy something if their ad annoys me.
fashion4ward fashion4ward 9 years
GoingLikeSixty- I know what you mean, but I just saw it on TV and it's for Sprint, I just couldn't remember cause I saw it once 2 weeks ago. It is pretty entertaining, though.
GoingLikeSixty GoingLikeSixty 9 years
@fashion4ward: "great" but you don't remember the company name, so I guess it was entertaining "great" but ad recall flop. Ever hear the words "promotional consideration provided by..." usually associated with game shows. I think the same needs to happen with other tv shows. I don't mind - actually I would encourage product placement - because that is what pays the bills. Same with movies - unless it's really forced, I don't care if characters drink Coke, or order Absolute and Red Bull... Product placement should play a bigger role in helping pay the bills to keep at least some good tv free. @Stefa Pie: exactly. But that only works once in a while. In a non-comedy, harder to pull off. Sometimes the Survivor product placement is very lame. Who really goes nuts over Doritos in the jungle?
StefaPie StefaPie 9 years
In general, I find it to be distasteful. They're working on banning the practice in the UK. But I do love how 30 rock deals with it, they make their product placement glaringly obvious. At one point, after having a discussion about how great Verizon phones are, Liz turns to the camera and asks "Can we have our money now?" Hilarious.
Entertainment Entertainment 9 years
fashion4ward — Haha, I know the one you mean! I actually really like that commercial. It's funny. frogandprince — Check out GeekSugar's post about the characters and gadgets matching up by clicking here.
fashion4ward fashion4ward 9 years
There's a new commercial at the movie theatre called the "Greatest Product Placement Movie Ever" it's actually for a cell phone company, maybe Verizon or AT&T, I don't remember.
frogandprince frogandprince 9 years
I don't watch Gossip Girl so I'm curious: how do the products fail to match the characters?
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