Posted by: The Amoeba | September 23, 2008

ProducTVty

With the fate of Wall Street, not to mention the corporate imperium free world, hanging in the balance on this Monday morning (22 September 2008), the last thing I was expecting to hear on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition was an account of the previous night’s Emmy awards.

Not least because I had no clue what they were talking about. Apparently, I wasn’t alone, for, according to the NPR story, the 2008 Emmy awardees collectively have a fan base that’s about the size of the judging panel on American Idol. But I couldn’t have told you who any of these shows or people were if my 401K depended on it.

Yes, we do have a television. It would make an acceptable paperweight if it weren’t for those damfool cords hanging out the back. It’s a tossup which comes around more often, a program viewed on that television, or leap year. Because, as Quilly told the neighbors the other day, I get frustrated, trying to watch anything on that TV. I settle down to enjoy all those wonderful commercials, and, lo and behold, a ballgame breaks out.

Little did I know just how bad things have gotten. For, as the NPR commentators wondered aloud how Emmy-award winning TV shows get to survive without viewers, they entered into the world, not of advertising, nor even that of “product placement”, where disembodied cola cans drift conspicuously, and pointlessly, across viewing screens.

No. The world, it seems, now consists of product integration. Where the advertiser pays to have the company’s product written conspicuously into the story line of whatever show is being sponsored.

Asked by NPR to comment on their story, Robert Weissman of Commercial Alert, one of those so-called “watchdog” groups that appears to have been about as alert on their job of scrutinizing the media as the Securities and Exchange Commission was in keeping tabs on Lehman Brothers, was moved to say, “… it’s not … clear what the distinction is between ads and regular programming.”

Mr. Weissman obviously hasn’t traveled to Honolulu, where half of television programming is already infomercials. With rampant product integration, it will soon all be infomercials. And (happy day), they will all be able to drop the label.

Well, every cloud, they say, has its silver lining. Once upon a time, when men were men and products (more or less) knew their place, there was a British (Welsh, really) rock band called the Kinks, who penned a gay little ditty entitled “Lola”. The first two lines:

Well, I met her in a club down in old SoHo
Where they drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola

The earliest lyrics to this tune, I read, spoke not of “cherry cola” but of “Coca Cola”. Rules against product placement forced the change.

Ray and Dave Davies are still with us, and I can’t help wondering if they’re wondering:

Is it too late to change it back? There’s a whole new LGBT generation to be captured for the Empire of the Red Death

  – O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2008 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.

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Responses

  1. whats your point?

    you dont like tv
    you dont like commercials
    you dont like product placement or integration…

    then you throw in the kinks
    and they had a song
    with a mention of coke or cola

    so?
    where are you leading us?

  2. n, what I was thinking was that, some time ago, folk avoided product placement as much as possible, not wishing to be identified as a corporate tool. Now those same people are just as likely to place as many products as possible in their work, and take the money. This is what I get, I guess, for trying to post at midnight.

  3. No OC, I got it completely. It is just ironic.
    I don’t think I have seen product placement or what ever yet here,but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen – I am rarely at the cinema and maybe our TV regs don’t allow it yet.

    What HAS changed is that I can remember going to Ireland in the early 80s and seeing adverts which compared their product to another NAMED STORE’S product. “What!??” I exclaimed “That’s illegal in England! That would never happen in England!”
    Huh. Guess what? In England we are regularly bombarded with why Asda is better than Tesco…

    Ironic.

  4. Oh – loved the link(s) to the Kinks!


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