Product Placement Gone Wrong

Am I watching an advertisement or a news show? In today’s media landscape, sometimes it is hard to tell due to an excess amount of product placement, whether we are watching an advertisement or a news show. One blatant example of this happened during the Mid-Term Election on CNN. However, where there was an obvious use of a specific product, it wasn’t the right one, and viewers were confused. While CNN had a deal with Microsoft Surface Tablets to display their tablets in front of the anchor’s, people noticed that the anchor’s had been using the tablets competition, the iPad during the show. Online sites including GeekWire and many more noticed this blunder and explained how big of an embarrassment this was for Microsoft.

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This is a clear example of the communication theory Media Ecology. According to Griffin (2011), Media Ecology explains how media affects the way we as humans communicate, understand our world, and interact. As a society, we have come to the understanding that the new cool and hip technology is what we should use. So even though CNN was promoting the Surface Tablet, they were still using iPad’s due to the their own preferences. This failure of product placement shows how the anchor’s personal connections with technology matter more to them then what they were told to use. The media has locked into our head’s that apple is the leading brand, and that since the iPad is very popular, there is no reason to buy a Microsoft Tablet and be different from the majority. Since viewers saw the anchor’s shunning the Tablet’s that were right in front of them, and saw them using Apple’s iPad, wouldn’t the viewers be more influenced to go out and buy an iPad?

Product placement has become a huge role in today’s advertising culture. We see it in movies, TV shows, newspapers, commercials, and especially on the Internet. Although it is hard to measure how successful product placement is within these mediums, we can tell that product placement influences behavior and feelings toward the products or brands that are being used. As viewers to advertisements get smarter and start to realize some of the ridiculous examples of product placement like the one explained above, we see that product placement becomes less effective. However, this of course will not stop brands from developing ways to conceal their products in various mediums, with the intention of trying to expose their brand to the market. Does product placement in your favorite TV shows or movies influence your attitude or behavior toward the product or brand being displayed?

-Margaret Cafaso, Kierstin Geary, Connor Gold, Olivia Sadler, Hannah Zeskind