Okay, I admit it:
I’m addicted to the Biggest Loser.
Every Tuesday night my husband and I become couch potatoes, glued to the television to watch the show and root for the people who are trying so hard to lose the weight.
Yet each week we have the same reaction when Jillian or Bob (yes, I’m so addicted that I imagine that the trainers and I are on a first name basis!) head for the cabinet with a, “I want to show you how to get those whole grains in your diet,” or, “Hungry for a good but healthy snack?”
Hubby and I roll our eyes, turn to each other and say, “Ugh, product placement time.”
I understand the concept: We need to sell products, commercial space is expensive and most people record what they watch nowadays and forward through the show so they don’t even see the commercials anymore.
That’s us, for the most part. When was the last time I remained in the room or tuned to the television for commercials, minus Super Bowl of course? I can’t recall. I hate commercials. They are a waste of my time. I could be cleaning/folding/washing/scrubbing/emailing/stretching or a hundred other things during commercial time; and I usually am.
So on face value this product placement idea is a great one. Catch people as they are watching the show. Plug a product by showing it so it remains in the viewer’s mind even after the show is over. Mention it in everyday conversation.
Guess what? I do remember that Jello is a low calorie snack and that Cheerio’s has only 100 some calories per cup AND a heaping serving of whole grains. I can even see Jillian holding up the boxes last night!
But you know what? As soon as she headed for the cabinet we groaned.
Does product placement have to be so overt? I’ve seen shows that sneak in product placement. Husband is drinking a Miller, or mom is using Clorox wipes to clean up a mess in the kitchen. Aha, I say! Product placement, albeit overtly. I understand: Buy Clorox wipes because they clean up messes, just like this mother has done! See how happy she is? See that spill go away?
When the stars are plugging the stuff, though, it makes me shudder. It is a set up, nothing else. It is scripted, and it shows on both the trainer’s faces as they go on and on about how great these products are, and it shows on the faces of the contestants of the show, who stare at the trainer in mild boredom as though they are really listening (though you know they aren’t).
Now, Jillian and Bob, don’t take this personally: You know I love you guys! But the overt prodcut placement has to go.
Can’t they simply slip in a pack of Extra gum on the table one day, rather than holding it up and telling us how low in calories it is, and how it will help us from overeating?
Can’t they show us the box of Cheerios at the kitchen table one morning for breakfast, rather than pulling two boxes from the cabinet before boasting about its benefits?
Product placement might work, but it could also be overkill: At least for this television viewer. Although, of course, I am talking about it and sharing it with you-and you just might remember the next time you go to the store just how great these products are!
Do you think product placement works when it is done overtly, or do you want to scream when the trainers head for the cabinets?