Product placement in the entertainment industry is not a new phenomenon. We have been consuming advertisements in our favorite TV shows and movies for so long, we may have become immune to the amount of saturation. Product placement nowadays is very subtle, and viewers are often unaware that products being featured in a show or movie were not naturally apart of the storyline. As viewers, do we have the right to know when we are seeing an advertisement?
The hit TV show Sex and The City got persuaded and paid by the brand Absolut Vodka to base an episode off of the company’s drink called the “Absolut Hunk.” This could be seen as unethical because viewers may not know that they’re watching a paid advertisement. Absolut is giving subliminal messages to views by promoting their product like this. Since the drink is not naturally in the storyline, it affects the writer’s creativity. They are forced to change what they wanted to write in order to fit the product placement guidelines.
While companies benefit from these deals with producers, unsponsored product placement can show companies in a negative light, causing a crisis for the company. The film Flight, which features an alcoholic pilot who liked to drink Budweiser, was criticized by the major beer company for showing their product negatively without their consent. The company, in turn, made the producers alter the film. Situations like these pose the question, should companies be allowed to suspend creative license if it interferes with their business?
Viewers, be aware of what you are being shown on television. Don’t let product placement affect your view of a product.