Product Placements Enter News Programs

Posted by on Jul 25, 2008 in Business, Marketing | No Comments

Product placements in television shows have been around for years, if not decades. Shows like American Idol or Survivor (just to name a two) have done it very effectively for a number of major brands. If I had a client that had a product that was targeted to these audiences I’d suggest this as a tactic in heartbeat. It has proven to be effective.

But this is just over-the-line:

In recent weeks, anchors on the Fox affiliate in Las Vegas, KVVU, sit with cups of McDonald’s iced coffee on their desks during the news-and-lifestyle portion of their morning show. The anchors rarely touch the cups.

Executives at the station, one of 12 owned by Meredith Corporation, say the six-month promotion is meant to shore up advertising revenue and, as they told the news staff, will not influence content.

For decades media outlets (newspapers, magazines, TV, radio) have always maintained a virtual firewall between ad sales and news/editorial. But as traditional media outlets attempt to maintain ad revenue as the entire market becomes more fragmented that firewall is being breached.

In a connected world I think traditional media outlets are losing viewers, and therefore ad revenue cause a large percentage of the population wants to go to the source of the news and not have it filtered. Or said another way, many folks think the media outlets are just an extension of their parent companies (NewsCorp, GE, Disney) and therefore they report the news slanted to protect and promote corporate America.

So what are the media outlets doing, moving to product placements in their news programs. Therefore, just reinforcing one of the main reasons they’re losing viewers and ad revenue in the first place.

Very shortsighted to say the least.

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