Product placement has been around for decades, gaining popularity in the ’80s with movies such as “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” which prominently featured Reese’s Pieces.
These days two-thirds of advertisers employ what’s called “branded entertainment” — or product placement — with most of that in TV shows.
So it’s no surprise that CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” is littered with product placement, from the shot of Hawaiian Airlines in the opening credits to the excessive use of the Apple iPhone 4. In last night’s episode, other advertisers featured included Body Glove, First Hawaiian Bank and, of course, Chevrolet, which has a product integration deal with CBS.
Most consumers understand now that product placement is part of the movie-going or TV-viewing experience. But can it be too much?
“The Island” featured at least 35 individual products and brands, including cars, bottled water, shoes and credit cards. In a scene from “The Matrix Reloaded,” a car chase included a Cadillac CTS and Escalade EXT. Minute Maid was placed in “Beetlejuice” and Pizza Hut in “Back to the Future.” Don’t forget NBC’s “Heroes,” which featured Nissan cars.
And don’t get me started on reality TV.
So is today’s onslaught of product placement making TV shows and movies feel more like big-budget advertisements? Or are we numb to it?
For the #H50 fans, here’s a recap of last night’s episode:
• Detective Steve McGarrett talking to Danny “Danno” Williams while on the U.S.S. Missouri — with the accused murdered within earshot. I think he could hear you, McGarrett.
• It seemed a bit too easy that McGarrett 1) boarded the Mighty Mo during a hostage crisis and 2) could get the Navy SEAL to open up so easily. He’s not the warmest guy.
• McGarrett gets patted down for weapons but the suspect doesn’t feel his iPhone.
• How Kono Kalakaua could lose Lily, the daughter of the woman murdered, right at the beach.
• During that useless phone conversation — couldn’t they just text each other? — McGarrett asked Williams, “Do you miss me?” I’m loving this bromance.
• Go Kim Gennaula, former TV anchor now psychologist on the show. She looked great in fatigues!
• Kelly Hu has got a recurring role as the governor’s public safety liaison. Believable.
• Best line, from Williams: “What, I’m here for the entertainment?” Uh, yeah.
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