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Dustin LindenSmith

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on writing product placements into TV shows (a.k.a. stealth marketing or embedded advertising)

I just got lured away from my Gmail Inbox by a writing-related WebClip called TV Writers Must Sell, Sell, Sell, which linked to a Wired.com article about how TV writers are being increasingly obliged to write overt product placements and references into their scripts without being expressly compensated for it. From what I can gather, writers are looking at these stealth ads almost like a form of advertising copywriting for which they're not getting paid.

I don't watch enough TV to have noticed an increase in this form of marketing, but TV product placements are apparently being used more frequently than ever due to the ad-skipping technologies of hard-disk personal video recorders such as TiVo and the like. From the Wired.com article:
It's no small issue. The use of product placements has increased 84 percent on television in the last year, according to the WGA's call for regulations. "There is no clear line separating a TV show from an advertisement anymore," said Carrie McLaren, editor of Stay Free magazine.

A group of writers from the Writer's Guild of America (West)  has even started a website called Product Invasion which lobbies for change. On that site, there are several examples of embedded adverts, a short (in my opinion, poorly-worded) statement of purpose, and a strange interactive Donald Trump who will work words or phrases of your invention into a seemingly endless stream of references to Domino's Pizza.

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