Very Sleazy Product Placement Strategies

In today's Real Media Riffs by John Gaffney, he relays yet another incredibly sleazy attempt by marketers to trick viewers with this advertorial strategy. In my opinion, it is the pop up of television. The lowest possible form of marketing communication. It's one ting to have celebrity endorsement. It is entirely another thing to have it done under the guise of editorial/news. Yes, we are going to have all sorts of new forms of advertising because the consumer will have more and more power to skip/tune out "scheduled" 30 second spots via Tivo or whatever other technology is on the horizon.

As marketers, we will have to quickly adapt to this increasing shift in power between the marketer and the consumer. But please, let's not go down this horrible road of marketing trickery just because we can. Have some scruples! Does anyone know what that word means anymore?

Monday, October 7, 2002 Not Effexive: This celebrity-disguised-as-pharmaceutical-endorser trend has gone off the hook. First, Lauren Bacall hawks arthritis drugs on the Today show. Rob Lowe�s on the box for some other drug on CNN. And I saw this tactic take its ugliest turn on Friday night. First of all, let me say I am not a fan of Access Hollywood, ET or Extra. I thought after Sept. 11 viewers would re-evaluate the trivial nature of their content. They didn�t. Anyway, in an unguarded moment Friday, I�m watching Extra with the wife, and on comes an interview with Delta Burke and husband Gerald MacRaney. What has Delta been doing lately? Turns out she�s been depressed. Real stuff. Hiding under the bed depressed. Depression is no joke and I don�t mean to make light of it. But what happened next was laughable. A weeping Delta, we find out, is the chairperson of Go On And Live (GOAL). GOAL just happens to be sponsored by Wyeth who makes Effexor. Effexor (cut to logo on screen shot) was the anti-depressant that �with therapy� helped Delta get well. Cut to a weepy Delta Burke urging viewers to get help if they�re depressed. �Go live your life,� she says. This is the kind of surreptitious garbage that will degrade the integrity of TV content in the mainstream American consciousness. Yes, I know Extra ain�t exactly 60 Minutes, but I�ll bet a few million people think it�s a lot more relevant to their lives If you�re going to interview Delta Burke, interview her because she�s making some kind of creative endeavor, not because Wyeth thinks it�s a great idea. Someday, just maybe, the American consumer will see through these tactics. In the right hands, sponsor integration can be entertaining. In the wrong hands, it�s going to anger the consumer.


by Steve Hall    Oct- 7-02   Click to Comment   

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