Product placement on TV shows are usually tricky, awkward and terribly cheesy affairs. For example, there was the insanely stupid episode of Smallville where "krpytonite charged" Stride gum (I am serious, folks) turned Pete Ross into a po' Black version of Plastic Man. I will never in my lifetime buy a pack or chew a stick of Stride because of that hot, sticky mess. What about the current incarnation of Knight Rider, which is nothing more than a 60 minute commercial for Ford Motor Company? No wonder the automaker is on the verge of collapse. Who can forget the Pringles induced nightmares on Guiding Light or the pallet of Bounty paper towels upon which Dusty & Lucy slept on while on the run on As the World Turns. Oy vey!
Every once in a while, shows get it right like the sublimely funny, brilliant product placements on 30 Rock such as these for Bee Movie, Verizon and Snapple. Add to the list of how these placements can be done right the aforementioned ATWT's placement/PSA for veggie juicer V8. Here is how it went down:
Katie was called into WOAK to do a promo spot, after trying to get Brad and Henry to back down from finding Spencer's so-called brother. Next scene, she's plugging V8's new "Make Every Serving Count" hunger initiative, a program to donate more than 30 million servings of fresh vegetables to local food banks for the next 6 months. After the brief 30 second faux/real promo, Katie was back in the thick of things of the whole Spencer mess.
Why is this important? Because this is the way product placements and PSA's should be done: seamlessly integrated into the action instead of being used as a brand-name direct catalyst for story or distracting us with blazing logos burning our collective eyeballs out of their sockets. We get it. We know the characters are drinking Coke or washing dishes with Dawn or using Trojans (except when they don't). No need to beat us over the head, so to speak. We understand soaps need to make money or get tax deductions but these efforts should never interfere with or distract from story.
In addition, most PSA's on soaps are for important causes but many viewers miss them because they are tacked onto the end of an episode, usually long past the point where the average fan has changed the channel or fired up the next show on the DVR. Therefore, kudos to ATWT for blending a product placement and PSA into the show without slowing down the usual Speedy Gonzales-style action. ¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!
The other reason this PSA was important is that during this Thanksgiving season, hundreds of thousands more Americans through no fault of their own are turning to food banks, missions and social services than have done so in decades due to the economic turmoil we are going through. Charities have been hit very hard as donations have dried up during this economic crisis. If it is within our hearts and means, donating to food banks, charities or churches will help ease the burden for many people and their families. So while we are lamenting GL's recent all-time low 1.4 rating, debating the merits of Tarty or hopping mad over the firing of Drake Hogestyn & Deirdre Hall from Days of Our Lives, remember that there are people in need this holiday season and give if you can or if you are so inclinced.
I now return you to our regularly scheduled soap blog....