Wonka Vision

Have you ever gone out and bought something simply for the
fact that you saw your favorite celebrity or athlete endorsing it? Or, have you
watched your favorite show or football team-play on TV and be mesmerized by a
product?

Many companies use product placement on television shows to
advertise their brand. A lot of times, the company will sponsor a certain show,
and in return their brand may be used in various ways throughout an episode; it
may be used as a product in the episode or the company’s commercial will play
during a break. For instance, have you ever wondered why all three judges on American Idol are always sitting behind
large glasses of Coca-Cola? It is not because they cannot get enough
daily-intake of Coke; it is because American Idol is sponsored by the Coca-Cola
brand. Television shows are a major source of advertisement. The reality show The Kardashians is a show focused
around the life of the Kardashian brand and family. They now have a clothing
line through the Sears Company which is marketed on the show, a boutique
clothing and accessory store Dash, and even market perfumes because who doesn’t
want to smell just like a Kardashian!

Product placement is a way for companies to inject their
products to be endorsed by celebrities so the product will then be “cool” and
acceptable for everyone else to buy. The show The Restaurant, on the Bravo network, starring the high-end
restaurant chef Rocco, was paid by the show’s three main sponsors: American
Express, Mitsubishi Motors and Coors Brewing. Bravo
did not pay a single penny of
license fee to have the show made. To justify its investment, each of the shows’
sponsors has received a prominent place in the show: American Express provides
the financing for the restaurant and the show.

Of course, in the early days of television, such
integration between advertiser and show was quite common. Such links persisted
into the 1970s from the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which was entirely funded by Quaker Oats. The
Quaker Oats brand used the movie to promote its new “Wonka” brand of
candy and sweets. Beware and conscious of what you are buying.

- Jordan Hill, Michela Noreski, Ashley Nelson