Ad Nauseum

- wadE

You walk into the GAP. A retinal scanner picks up your unique pattern of blood vessels and matches that instantly to a huge supercomputer which returns your name, demographic information, and your most recent purchase. A voice says to you (or me), "Hello wadE, how are those tan chinos working out for you? We're having a sale on Polo shirts!"

This is the future of advertising as shown in the movie Minority Report. It's an interesting view on how advertisers can (and will) use the technology of the future to hock their wares.

Until that time comes, advertisers in this challenging economic market must find alternate ways to use existing technology. A good example of which is found above. For those of you who have seen the movie, at times you feel that you are watching one big commercial. (NOTE: I read an article recently that said the producers were asking for $3 million to put a particular brand of sunglasses on Tom Cruise in the movie. Lexus paid $5 million for prime placement of their new 2054 model. Nokia spend $2 million for their name to appear on some communications devices.) This isn't the first movie to get money for product placement. The concept really started to take off in the 80's...actually doesn't it seem that so many bad things came from the 80's?

The new 2054 Lexus!!!

But I digress... the impetus for this article was a recent segment on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show", which I might add is the most entertaining news show on TV.

NBC has partnered with Baskin Robbins to come out with a "Must-Taste" lineup of flavors based on next season's NBC television shows. I'm not sure if this is pure marketing genius, or the end of civilization as we know it.... I think I'm leaning towards number two.

So, keep your eyes peeled for: Fear Factor Sundae, Will & Grace's Rocky Road of Romance, Good Morning Miami Mint, Stuckey Bowled-Over Brownie (for 'Ed'), and Pralines 'n American Dreams.

No, I'm not joking...

I'm not sure who is more desparate here...NBC or Baskin Robbins. Either way I think it is quite possibly the lamest thing I have ever heard.

I did some research on this sort of thing and found out that recently many other food corporations have used this tactic. When Wendy's International Inc. committed to spend more than $23 million on ads with AOL Time Warner Inc.'s media outlets, the burger chain asked for some extra goodies. Warner Brothers produces "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" and agreed to have Rosie eat a "Garden Sensations" salad on air. The salad also made an appearance on TBS Superstation's "Dinner & a Movie." And back in May, AOL Time Warner magazines such as Sports Illustrated and InStyle inserted a Wendy's promotion personalized with each subscriber's name.

Nice, huh? It gets better...

On the May 1 episode of "Days of our Lives," a box of Kleenex tissue got unusually prominent display in a scene between two weepy characters forced to give up their baby. Kimberly-Clark Corp. got the plug as part of an elaborate advertising deal with General Electric Co.'s NBC.

I think we've all seen this type of stuff over the years in movies and TV shows. I know I personally find it annoying and distracting when shows will black out the name of a product the actors are using. When it isn't blacked out (i.e. when somebody has paid for it to be there) it is just as annoying when the product gets a little more attention than a simple prop should. Like carefully drinking a soda to make sure the name is not obscured, or munching on some potato chips that seem to be held right up to next the actors head.

Anyway, next time your in the mood for dessert get yourself some Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Mint Chocolate Chip or ER's Dr. Green Vanilla chock full of nougat tumors!

Ice-T: Damn, some Peppermint Bon Bon
sure would be tasty right about now!

- 07/26/2002

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