Before I begin, I want to say this: The company whose cigarettes were shown stated they did not send their cigarettes to the movie studio to be promoted; this is not about product placement that occurred in the movie, but about what could happen in the future as advertising moves more toward product placement.
At the beginning of the month I posted about product placement and how overt it has seemed in the hit show The Biggest Loser. Love the show, hate the commercials done by the trainers to tell us about specific products like Ziploc and Jell-O.
I’m smart. I can see a package and understand that this showing of a package onscreen is a product placement, and if I want to purchase it I can. I don’t like when the show is paused so the trainers can give a commentary about the product (zero calories, closes great, wonderful low calorie treat).
The hit movie “He’s Just Not that Into You” has gotten caught up in an issue between Warner Brothers and the American Medical Association (AMA) regarding its shots of a specific brand of cigarettes during the movie. The AMA states that studies estimate 200,000 young adults each year begin smoking because of images of onscreen smoking shown in a variety of films. They want to make sure WB didn’t receive money for this product placement. (The cigarette company states they didn’t know that their brand was being used).
While this may or may not have been a paid endorsement for a product, it brings up questions. As product placement becomes more prevalent in shows and in movies, will there need to be guidelines developed for companies and studios endorsing these products?
For instance, if alcohol is depicted in a movie, with a specific brand being shown, will this create issues for parents who are concerned that this portrayal of fun alcohol drinking times could lead to underage drinking?
I was watching The View today and they discussed this issue. Is it our (consumers) responsibility to keep our children from watching shows that might feature this type of product placement, or is it their (advertisers and movie makers) responsibility to create guidelines for product placement that will keep children from watching shows and movies that might contain questionable products being shown?
As we venture more into product placement I’m certain these issues will come to play more often. What are your thoughts?