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November 29, 2006

Fake but real product placement.


On this week's episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, NBC cross-promoted Deal or No Deal by having the real Howie Mandel host the fictional show (within the show) and then turning his fictional monologue on the fictional show into a fictional skit that was, in reality, a real promotion for Mandel's real show. Fake but real cross-promotion seamlessly integrated into the flow of the real episode (and, I thought, it was entertaining enough not to be glaring).

Last week, the staff (of the fake show) discussed a new set that would be made up of the kinds of billboards that one spys on the real Sunset Strip. They (the characters) decided they'd sell those fake billboards (on the fictional show's fictional set) to fictional sponsors to save the fictional show's (and the fictional network's) budget. So, now I'm wondering if we'll see that new set on a future episode of the real show featuring fictional sponsors for the fictional show that are, in actuality, real sponsors for the real show. In other words, real product placement within the fake show for the benefit real show and real network which has, of late, talked about its own real budget-cutting measures.

Sheesh, it's getting hard to keep track.

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I thought last week's episode was ironic. Throughout the show the main characters, played by Mathew Perry and Bradley Whitford, were lambasting product placement. They were worried it would marginalize the intregrity of the show, blah, blah, blah. But as they're lambasting, they're talking about real products like iPods that they wouldn't want forced into the show. Product placement via anti-product placement. Hmmm...

I agree. Confusing.

Interesting view of it though.

Hopefully this won't be the last time we're talking about this because there's talk of the show getting canceled!

Before he did standup, Howie Mandel used to sell lightbulbs over the phone.

There, I said it.

Brilliantly penned, J.J. Art imitating life imitating art imitating life. I think we've just fallen down the rabbit hole.

It's meta-product-placement.

New industry buzzword. You heard it here first.

Meant to thank AC for turning me onto this show a few weeks back. Yet another moment of joy you've brought to my life.

Product placement has been an inevitable part of television shows and movies for years. STUDIO 60 took a shot haveing the conversation (or argument) over the validity of the practice and did it in a mad genius sort of way.

THE OFFICE tried some very blatent product placement with the Staples MailMate and there was quite a bit of criticism. I happened to like it, but others thought it was very intrusive to the narrative of the story and claimed that the the show had sold out.

STUDIO 60 did much the same thing and didn't get quite the same reaction. Perhaps it was just the way they integrated into the story, or maybe it was that they had the guts to put it out there for discussion.

Good news Kevin, it's been picked up for the full season! Let more confusing blog posts commence!

I feel like someone just opened a tiny door and walked into Howie Mandel's head. What a scary view THAT'd be. Imagine all 25 of those women with his face? *low whistle*

So when do I get my iPod? I'm totally lost here.

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