Well, my prediction was spot on: Pandora now has audio ads in trial form. Nothing too exciting I suppose, just another service riding the Crap Wave. It's still nowhere near as choked as radio, but it'll get there - it has to, the money is there for the taking.

The timing is ironic for me, because only yesterday, for the very first time, I purchased the following two CDs by clicking through to Amazon from the Pandora site:

Anyway, this drove me to think a little more about the types of advertising we've been seeing in this millenium. Particularly recent product placement in shows like Heroes (which made a point to mention the Nissan Versa several annoying times), 30 Rock (Snapple), Studio 60, and my current favorite TV show, The Office (one of the biggest "offenders" here, mentioning Staples, Hooters, Benihanas, Chili's, iPods, and most recently, Sandals). This is a very insiduous form of advertising, since it's worked right into the plot, there is no reasonable way to extract it like you can with PVR's ability to edit out commercials. And as a viewer, you're stuck with it when it comes onto DVD. I wonder if anyone's considering that last bit. Do these advertisers have to spend more to consider future syndication and DVD releases or are they getting a free ride? Then again, 10 years from now, how effective are those Nissan Versa ads going to be?

I was talking to Rob about this during the Christmas holidays and I actually don't mind this form of advertising so far because a) I immediately recognize it for what it is, and b) it's usually either an offhand reference or actually adds to the plot/characters (Michael Scott does not have good taste, and Hooters prides itself on being the epitome of "not good taste"). Of course the fact that I recognize it is actually irrelevant because the job of product placement is brand recognition, so they are doing their job, even if I think I'm being clever by pointing it out to my wife. Of course there are those that have less of a clue, like flutterly:

I personally don't even notice product placement. Then again, I'm usually doing other things while watching TV, so maybe I'm just missing the little details. I didn't even realize the Nissan Versa thing was product placement.. if I was buying a car, I would have though, "Oh, cool, that car was in Heroes," but that wouldn't have made me want to buy it. Maybe it's just me.

"Oh cool". Don't worry flutterly, you're not "missing the little details" at all...

I wonder when we'll see pop artists actually releasing singles or albums openly sponsored by companies. Of course rap songs liberally mention Cristal, Courvasier, Hennessy, etc but an answer to the question of whether these are paid endorsements is apparently No.

Anyway, this very blog and website that you're reading are supported by what I call the "Nickel Trickle" (Google's AdSense or Amazon Associates), so it's not like I'm casting stones, merely making observations. I wonder where it's all leading...

§328 · January 9, 2007 · Entertainment, Life · Tags: · [Print]

Leave a Comment to “Pandora Sliding and Product Placement”

  1. Eric says:

    Interesting post, Jeff. I wrote a couple of related posts a few days ago about where product placement may be heading if you’re interested:


    Sorry to leave links in the comments. I looked for an email address or contact link but didn’t find one. (If it’s staring me right in the face, I’m going to be embarassed).

    Oh, cool. I just noticed the falling snow in your header.

  2. Jeff says:

    Eric, thanks for the links. Seen On is an interesting concept…