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Anyone dare to start a drinking game where you watch TV shows like Masterchef or The Block and every time there is product placement you down a shot? My guess is you would face-plant the floor within 10 minutes.
When it comes to product placement in TV shows, some shows have started to take it to a whole new level. This is particularly noticeable in lifestyle reality shows with homey themes (cooking, renovating, etc). The last series of Masterchef made $80 million in advertising alone. It seems the show's key ingredient is sponsorship. The product placement pinnacle of the series must have been the episode where a contestant spills their dish on the floor and Matt Preston cleans up the mess with a paper towel. Ah, but which paper towel did he use? Is it important? Yes it is! Two minutes later an ad for Handee Ultra paper towels came on during the commercial break featuring Matt Preston himself endorsing the product. How coincidental!
The latest series of The Block on Channel 9 has reached new dizzy heights in product placement. There's barely a camera angle that doesn't show a Stegbar sticker on the windows, Black and Decker tools or the contestants wearing Mitre 10 shirts. You may say that that is understandable as it is a renovation show, but we are also treated to shots of an LG fridge in the background beside some well-placed Woolworths bags and captions on the screen indicating that they are using a Windows 7 phone. Relevant? Hardly. I tried to count the number of obvious ads during the show, but I blinked too often and therefore missed too many.
So why do I have a problem with it? I guess it only bothers me a little bit, but as we are constantly bombarded with advertising wherever we go, it would be nice to sit down and unwind in front of a TV show without feeling like you're being sold something. Come on, we already sit through the commercial breaks.
Has anyone else seen blatant product placement in their favourite TV shows?