Marketers: Product Placement Sopranos Style

HBO Shows Use Real Brands But Channel Has No Paid Product Placement Deals

As HBO's hit gangland drama, The Sopranos, heads for the climax of its fourth season on Sunday, there seem to be more consumer products flying around than Ralph Cifaretto body parts.

In one recent episode, we saw Ralph squirt Tony Soprano in the eyes with a can of Raid ant and roach killer as the two fight to the death in a kitchen. Tony later "gets the red out" with Visine, before slicing Ralph into pieces.

It's so refreshing to see a show that uses products as they are used in everyday life. No more generic, "I'll have a beer" sitcom lines. Marketers will soon realize that they will not have complete control over how their products are portrayed in some media. A whole new form of negotiation is now taking place.

There will be paid product placements. Those are easy. You have a contractual agreement on product usage. But, product placement Sopranos style is something completely different. There will be very touchy negotiations, if any at all, between product companies and producers. Not all will be happy. SC Johnson sure wasn't when their product, Raid, was used as a weapon.

It's all getting very interesting now.

by Steve Hall    Dec- 3-02   Click to Comment   

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