This Article Brought To You By Some TV-related Guide

Daemon's TV / Pepsi

There’s something wrong with television. Before I put scalpel to tumor, let me take this moment to let you know that I’m writing this article on an Apple Macbook Pro. And if you don’t have one, you aren’t cool (and have less sex). That last part is true if you don’t have an iPhone, but regardless, the last thing this article needed was a product endorsement. So why do we put up with product placement in television?

Imagine if in The Matrix, each human container has the Duracell logo on the side, and made that chirping sound you hear in the commercials every time one was unplugged. What if in 300, King Leonides’ shield had the Red Bull logo plastered on it? If anyone needed wings, it’d be that guy, right? Mona Lisa with a Bud Light. God handing Adam a Slim Jim on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Product placement would have destroyed those particular movies/artworks and perverted their meaning. Is television so base that it can be sullied without alarm?

It seems the closer a medium moves to sheer entertainment, the more likely it is to have product placement. Eureka is plagued with product infestation, “crates” of deodorant in the background, vanity licenses shot to show off car brands, and so forth. Recently, I was saddened when I heard Burn Notice‘s tutorial narrative co-opted to hype the horsepower of a particular car. And when the characters of White Collar (and several other shows) needlessly show off the “nifty” things their shiny cars can do such as OnStar, or GPS directions.

Oh hi! Me and the cast of Daemon’s TV love, love, love the taste of Pepsi Max. It’s Pepsi, ya’ll, to the Max. Zero calories, but with same great Pepsi taste, maxed waaay out. Pepsi, drink it, to the MAX!
*twinkling smile* (I hope you feel as dirty reading that as I did writing it. Ah well, who needs self-respect these days.)

The argument can be made–successfully, I’ll grant–that without such injections from sponsors, the show might not be made at all for lack of funds. I love all the shows I’ve mentioned in this article, and I put up with the placement with a roll of my eyes and a guffaw. But the placement is getting worse and that’s what worries me. It’s bad enough that increased advertising segments have chipped away at a show’s length over the decades, but now the actual content is being further co-opted to hawk random commercialism. The demonstration of a car’s “perks” is the worst invasion yet. Remember when the main characters of Boston Legal had a heated, five-minute argument about the 2008 election? It was a rare moment of blunt social commentary. Now replace Obama and McCain with the merits of buying a new car versus used with a slant toward new. See how you feel about that scene.

Before I go, I don’t believe that DVR and piracy are the main drive for these invasive measures. They may have been at the forefront when the ideas were conceived, but now they are excuses to make more money. What? You thought I was going to do another ad for the send off? It sucks worrying about being sold to, doesn’t it? Remember that feeling next time you’re watching your favorite show. By the way–*click*

[Editor’s note: Daemon’s TV does endorse Pepsi. 😉 ]