Animatronic people invade product placement.


All hail Bravo! the current reigning champ in the world of product placement! And I do mean that in all sincerity. Bravo! for the most part has done an excellent job in integrating relevant products in to many of the their programs. And while it can some times be executed a little heavy handedly I can usually get beyond that if it makes sense in a program, like the “Glad family of products” so often referred to in on Top Chef by the lovely Padma Lakshmi. But the other day I felt the the bonds of relevance strained as the designers on Project Runway were challenged to create an ensemble using only the things they could find in the Times Square Hershey’s store. In all fairness the designs they created out of a pile of crappy looking Hershey’s tschotskies were very impressive. And what I originally thought was a tenuous relationship between the marketer and the program at best, the contestants were able to bring back around. What really got me with this instance of product placement was Hershey’s rep Michelle Gloeckler monologue that was summed up quite nicely by Missy Schwartz at as having “all the gusto of a stale Twizzler.” (Check her out at about 3:00 here.) Marketers, come on now. You know product placement works so why not treat it seriously? Would you use an actor who with all the charm and charisma of bowl of cold oatmeal in a tv spot? I think not. How would that reflect upon your brand? Product placement, like any form of marketing, requires careful thought, planning and execution. It’s not bludgeoning your audience to death with images and references to your product. And if you are going to go the animatronic route, go with a model like Vicki the Robot in Small Wonder who was capable of delivering a range of life-like emotions.

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