Friday, May 2, 2014

Alex Schlegel
Television Criticism
Blog Assignment 3
May 2, 2014
Buy Now!
            It’s no coincidence seeing a BMW or a Starbucks coffee cup during the course of a television episode, or maybe it’s something as subtle as the main character driving by a McDonalds, even more intensely producers might even integrate a product or brand name in the plot line. So why are we constantly being bombard by product integration and advertisements? Well, the answer to that question has to deal with the era we live in, the age of consumerism. We the people are seen as consumers to any corporation, business, firm, franchise, etc., and with modern day technology such as, the Internet, televisions, and smartphones, we may never see a decrease of advertisements.
In a marketing perspective television has become a wonderful medium to reach a target market, especially in integrating products in the shows themselves. However there is some ethical concern, “product placements that play a passive role and are not clearly expressed within the program are generally perceived as less ethical, especially when they appear in information/services magazines” (d’Astous & Seguin 4). It’s no secret that television shows require a large sum of money to stay afloat and businesses completely takes advantage of this dilemma. In this blog, I will analyze how big name companies and televisions shows are able to integrate products and brands in a variety of ways through the use of television and the affects it has on its audience.
            One of the most common and blatantly obvious ways companies integrate marketing in a television show is solely having one of the characters use the product during the course of the show or even more so have the actual actor weigh out the major benefits and features. Some of the most common shows that offer this kind of product placement have a little bit lower production value and budget. They are mostly shows on small broadcast networks as well, things like CBS, FOX 28, soap operas on sub broadcast channels. However, this is not always the case because some big named shows need the money as well so they can continue production. For instance the show Sex in the City has a handful of obvious product placement. Sure, it doesn’t affect or add to the plot line but it is there to persuade the audience into buying said product, in this instance its Amazon.
This video clip is a prime example of how obvious product placement is prominent in are daily television viewing.
How does this affect the audience? Are they completely persuaded or do they become frustrated? The answer to this question is not so simple. There is no doubt about it that the audience indeed recognizes the product placement and brand awareness. According to the University of Arkansas, “audience members are aware of the blurring of distinctions between the informing and persuading aspects of mass media…integrated marketing communication has created a circle of synergy…this synergy establishes the concept of a brand or product as distinct and unified within memories of the audience” (Karrh, McKee, & Pardun 2). Since audiences are being bombarded by product and brand placement this instills a synergy, a combination of the show and the advertisement, which ultimately is imbedded in are subconsciousness. Whether we like it or not we, as an audience, are still affected by this marketing tactic, thus making us more prone to buy said product.
Knowing now the effects of a typical product placement makes you wonder what are the other effects in the different types of product placement. For instance taking a comedic approach on product placement. One prime example that comes to comes to mind is the famous Wayne’s World product placement scene This allocates a lighter side of the bombardment of marketing one must endure during the course of a movie or television show. To stay on the topic of television shows the comedy sketch program titled Comedy Bang Bang offers a wonderful comedic way to incorporate product placement all the while making a good joke out of it.
As you can see they take what would be a stereotypical product placement and mold it into a hilarious concoction of goodness. The two even hit on the key shots that would actually be used in a typical car television advertisement. Even though it offers a light hearted and funny side of advertising, does it still affect the audience to buy?
            Different genres of television shows allocate certain moods and tones which in return affect the audience in a particular way, not all but most.
“Program type, through its power to influence the audience’s affective reactions, likely affects placement effectiveness. Field studies and experiments have shown that the affective quality of a recently viewed film evokes differing levels and types of empathy and influences a wide range of social judgments. Similarly, television programs coded as happier in tone produce happier moods...” (Karrh, McKee, & Pardun 3).
This quote provides the right context to express the basic effects, in terms of tone/mood, in both cinema and television. Allocating the ideas from the quote can explain the consequences derived from comedic product placement. I’m not saying you will go out and by a Volkswagen after watching this hilarious product placement sketch but maybe it will alter the audiences judgment in a way that they are not hesitant in considering Volkswagen products. This form of product placement taps into peoples parody side. Most understand and notice product placement but by using this particular approach persuades in a completely different way. With any form of product placement the show is able to continue production, the companies are reeling in more customers, and we are stuck being unwillingly mediated at our leisure.
            Major corporations such as Amazon and Volkswagen are able to fund and integrate products in a myriad of television shows, which ultimately affects the audience members through persuasion. This tactic gives marketers a great media to mediate the minds of audience members in to consumers. By using stereotypical or comedic product placement allows these companies to reach a huge array of demographics in order to benefit themselves and put money in their pockets. The biggest concern with product integration is ethics but when you live in a world were we are constantly purchasing unnecessary materials everyday it’s hard to say who’s actually at fault.


Works Cited
D'Astous, Alain, and Nathalie Séguin. Consumer Reactions to Product Placement Strategies in Television Sponsorship. Chicago: MCB UP Ltd, 1999. Print.
Karrh, James, Kathy McKee, and Carol Pardun. Practitioners' Evolving Views on Product Placement Effectiveness. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas, 1994. Print.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.