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It's funny.  Laugh. Media Television The Almighty Buck Entertainment

NBC to Create Programs Centered on Sponsors 286

explosivejared writes "It sounds farcical when you first hear it, but NBC has teamed up with an ad agency to produce actual feature programs that are centered around promoting the products of the network's sponsors. The network has already begun production on one sci-fi program entitled 'Gemini Division,' which will act as a platform for products from Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco. The programming will be broadcast via the network's 'digital properties,' e.g. the NBC web site. I guess it was only a matter of time for something like this to come along after product placement became the norm."
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NBC to Create Programs Centered on Sponsors

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  • Wrong way round (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmpeax ( 936370 ) * on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:01PM (#23123694)
    Product placement is, at best, a necessary evil to fund content that is expensive to produce. Normally, product placement is worth the effort because the content is very popular - for example, the promotion of brands like Apple and Cisco in 24 [f5.com].

    The significant point, however, is that the show comes first. By reversing the creative process and using product promotion as a starting point, not only is the quality of content likely to suffer, but the effectiveness of the advertising along with it.

    What's worse, it seems these plans will give the brands involved an unprecedented level of influence over the content. From TFA:

    [It will be] a unique way of giving brands a seat at the table with writers and producers in developing episodic programming that ties directly to brand needs
    • Re:Wrong way round (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kamokazi ( 1080091 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:08PM (#23123746)
      So what you're saying is, it's a win-win for the TV networks....they can continue to not exert any creative effort and produce crappy shows no one likes, and make money on it like it was moderately successful.

      And I don't mind product placement in shows as long as it's subtle. The giant-sized HP logos on laptops always makes me chuckle, but ruins the immersiveness of the show (seriously, they're bigger than the emblem on the 9040 monster printers we use).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by peragrin ( 659227 )
        that's just it unpopular shows don't get watched.

        it becomes lose lose, as they lose both ad revenue, and viewers.
      • Re:Wrong way round (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:41PM (#23124016)

        I don't mind product placement in shows as long as it's subtle. The giant-sized HP logos on laptops always makes me chuckle, but ruins the immersiveness of the show (seriously, they're bigger than the emblem on the 9040 monster printers we use).
        When I saw the summary, my first thought was how advertising was done when TV first came out. One sponsor would pay for the whole show, and you would get "The Coca-Cola Variety Hour", or something like that. There would be regular interruptions to hawk the product of that particular company, or if it was a contest, the winners would get the advertiser's featured products. As things got more expensive, more sponsors shared the expense, and today you have the modern commercial. Radio was like this as well. Obviously, at that time, advertisers had a lot of power over content (to ensure proper placement).

        Things almost look like they're coming full circle.

        • by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) * on Friday April 18, 2008 @08:07PM (#23124200)
          I've been listening to old radio shows on Sirius satellite when I take long drives, and I have come to look forward to the Johnson Wax spot on the Fibber McGee and Molly show. They usually did a pretty good of working it in more or less naturally; for instance, when getting a spare room ready for a boarder, the sponsor's guy comes for a visit and marvels at how good the floor looks because of its Johnson Wax coat. Part of the fun of it is them not pretending it's not a sponsor's spot. Usually Fibber will make some comment to the audience about cover your ears, once he gets going he doesn't know how to stop, and there's always some good natured ribbing. In fact, I end up looking forward to them. I imagine it was much the same for the listeners back in the day.

          If sponsors could do their promos like that old show, it wouldn't be half bad. But most of the others were not nearly so slick.
          • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @09:44PM (#23124722)

            If sponsors could do their promos like that old show, it wouldn't be half bad. But most of the others were not nearly so slick.
            Guy 1: Wow, that is one ugly turd.

            Guy 2: You said it. But we need to get it polished up right proper if we're to meet the deadline.

            Guy 1: You know what this calls for.

            Guy 2: Sadly, yes. Hey, Bob!

            MS Bob: Did somebody call?

            Guy 1: Yeah, we've got a turd that needs polishing.

            MS Bob: No problem! Vista is a cutting edge operating system for your cutting edge lifestyle--

            Guy 2: No, wrong turd, Bob.

            Guy 1: We need to work your magic on this.

            MS Bob: Gee, I don't know if I can do that. This polish is only licensed for Microsoft products. I might get in trouble.

            Guy 1: Don't worry, I cleared it with tech support. They say it's totally cool if we do this.

            MS Bob: But only just got a new chair in my office, I don't want to lose it.

            Guy 2: What's this I see in front of me? Am I looking at a mangina? Gonna cringe and cry at the thought of a little harsh language?

            MS Bob: Ok, fine, I'll do it! Now what do you want me to polish?

            Guy 1: Got it right here, Operation Enduring Justice.

            MS Bob: But this is an invasion plan! It says Iraq here but you crossed out the 'q' and wrote in an 'n'.

            Guy 1: Told you we needed some help.

            MS Bob: I think I need more polish.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by CSMatt ( 1175471 )
            They can get away with that because Sirius is primarily funded by subscriptions, not advertising.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              They can get away with that because Sirius is primarily funded by subscriptions, not advertising.
              The show has been out of production for almost 60 years. They got away with it despite being primarily funded by advertising.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by cipher1024 ( 905768 )
            I agree, the old radio commercials are a lot more tolerable than todays commercials. They where more straight forward and honest. "We think our product is great, you should try it" is better than "we've got 5000 psychologists with PHDs and we're going to manipulate you into being our corporate bitch". These days they're either trying to mind intercourse you, or Billy Mays is absolutely SHOUTING AT YOU - jerk. Those old commercials were more respectful.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by skuzzlebutt ( 177224 )
          My first thought was "30 Rock"...that's basically a shill for NBC and SNL, but IMHO a very decent sit-com. It's not just self-depracating, but they do actually mention GEs other ventures on the show, if only in jest; but that's the point, right? NBC can make fun of GE all they want as long as you remember that they make sitcoms AND toaster ovens. And lightbulbs. And jet engines. And financial services.

          They sure have a lot of shit to sell.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by flyingsquid ( 813711 )
            My first thought was "30 Rock"...that's basically a shill for NBC and SNL, but IMHO a very decent sit-com.

            I don't think they're trying to sell Saturday Night Live; it's a case of "write what you know". Tina Fey spent a lot of time working at SNL as a writer and performer, so creating a sitcom about a fictional comedy show at a major network made sense for her. The irony is that 30 Rock is currently much better than SNL, the show it is based around. I guess that at some point she must have looked at the sor

        • Re:Wrong way round (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Baricom ( 763970 ) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @03:19AM (#23125840)
          Interestingly, it's more full circle than you might initially realize. The primary reason that spot advertising became popular was not the expense of television shows, but the desire for the television networks to break the control of advertisers on network programming. Spot advertising was first introduced on NBC by president Pat Weaver. Prior to that, shows were typically produced by the advertiser, not the network.
    • Easy response (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:10PM (#23123762)

    • Re:Wrong way round (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:15PM (#23123808) Journal
      What's worse, it seems these plans will give the brands involved an unprecedented level of influence over the content. From TFA: [It will be] a unique way of giving brands a seat at the table with writers and producers in developing episodic programming that ties directly to brand needs

      I'm not sure how that is so different from magazines with "product reviews" that are directly funded by the producers of the products they are "reviewing". As long as they don't marketing start producing the Evening News or writing content taught in schoolrooms, it won't be any worse than most of the mass market tripe that passes for entertainment. I find it far more disturbing when marketing is presented as a factual news program than when presented as a key part of a fictional storyline.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The significant point, however, is that the show comes first. By reversing the creative process and using product promotion as a starting point, not only is the quality of content likely to suffer, but the effectiveness of the advertising along with it.

      Italian TV had solved the problem some 50 years ago with the "Carosello"/Carousel formula: just after dinner time the show had short sketches produced by the sponsors. Their duration was around 2 minutes. But the sponsored product could not be named or described until the last 30 seconds. So the sketch aimed to entertain people until the product could emerge. It was a huge success until it was axed in the last part of the seventies. I recall some episodes, and recognise its influence on later italian tv sh

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dpilot ( 134227 )
      Years/decades ago I read a science fiction story set in a time when this ad-as-show trend had played to its logical conclusion. In this world, all music was commercial jingles, and musicians would play the popular "coms" for their live shows. The protagonist of the story was a musician who began creating music for its own sake. Queue the obvious, add a dash of O'Henry, bake until done.

      Title, author forgotten.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Would the show suffer so much if it was sponsored by Victoria's Secret, Smirnoff, and Trojan?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Am I the only one who remembers the Saturday morning cartoons from the 80's that were thinly-disguised adds for plastic toys? Transformers and Go-Bots are the ones that come to mind, but I know there were more. Has anybody been stuck in a room with a TV playing Yu-Gi-Oh? It's a show about people playing the card game, although they have some obscure explanation for why the stuff is "really" happening to the characters playing it. Pokemon is another example, but I'm less sure about it because the show mi
    • Product placement is, at best, a necessary evil to fund content that is expensive to produce.

      I don't know. If it's expensive to produce, maybe it shouldn't be produced in the first place?

      When a show's production is more expensive than the actual profit it generates, that's a message from the market that things aren't working out. If nevertheless more money is poured into it to keep said show afloat with product placement, a better term than necessary evil would be an unnecessary evil: The market

    • Before long soap companies are going to start hosting the modern day equivalent of operas for the housewives of America to watch.
    • by NetSettler ( 460623 ) * <kent-slashdot@nhplace.com> on Friday April 18, 2008 @10:02PM (#23124810) Homepage Journal

      I can understand how shows like Night Court (in which Harry Anderson, playing Judge Harry Stone, always had a Macintosh in his office [macosg.com]) could feature a product without having it get in the way of a show. And certainly there are car companies that have had cars featured on shows or in movies, such as James Bond [carblog.co.za]. But those were never central to the plot, so they didn't manage to drag things down like the proposed sponsor-centric content promises to. Even the show-within-a-show of The Truman Show [imdb.com] didn't seem to have the nasty property they're talking about, since the plot focused on the character... the ads were just incidental ways to add revenue, kind of like hyperlinked ads in and around web articles or the hypertext-captioning of the Interstellar News Network on Babylon 5 [imdb.com].

      The significant point, however, is that the show comes first. By reversing the creative process and using product promotion as a starting point, not only is the quality of content likely to suffer, but the effectiveness of the advertising along with it.

      Your putting it this way made me realize--it's not just the creation but the ongoing generation of new episodes, not to please a fan-base but to exploit a fan-base. Moreover, as the product evolves, the show has to evolve to match... not just as the starting point of the series but for each episode. This means they can't take it where the show wants to go, they have to take it where the product wants to go, and that's going to reach a divergence. It also means that if the product is upgraded or sold or someone wants a "fresh angle", the show is going to be canceled on a dime without any regard for what the public wants. Because shows are about "what viewers want" and ads are about "what we want viewers to want".

      This divergence of purpose bodes ill.

      I used to write regular parodies [anotherwayout.com] of The Young and the Restless (out of irritation for where the writers were taking the show). In the process, I found that writing for characters that viewers understand is something where you can't "lie" in the writing. If you do, you lose the viewers. I'd start to write something trying to make it go a certain way and the voice of the characters would tell me "No, you have to go another direction. That direction is not true to my character." And it worked best to just roll with it and see where the characters would naturally take me. I came to a belief that what makes good writing is when the characters are alive like that in your mind, and the characters are writing a "true" story--not in the sense of non-fiction, but in the sense of following how life would really go. Sort of like method acting [wikipedia.org] but for writing... (Ah, I see. There are no new ideas in the world. Google tells me that the term method writing [dickbentley.com] I just made up is an already elaborated theory. But yes, like that. Count me an instant believer that there is merit in this line of thinking.) Anyway, my point is that the kind of cynical "we can make it go where it needs to go" writing is quite suspect...

  • So Easy! (Score:5, Funny)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:02PM (#23123702) Journal
    Make TV shows from ads?! That's so easy a caveman [wikipedia.org] could do it!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jd ( 1658 )
      Or a sailor, or a bunch of turtles. Commercials and infomercials disguised as regular TV programs are old-hat, but not necessarily on the scale being talked about, and certainly not by the IT industry. However, I guess it was inevitable. With the exception of publicly-funded TV stations, funding - and therefore control - has been from advertising. Costs are going up but the time available for regular adverts is constrained by the need for regular programming. The obvious solution is to make adverts that are
    • Finally we get rid of the pesky "content" around the commercials.
      Going to the bathroom will never be a matter of timing any more and we can drink as much beer as we want. Finally.
  • by vanyel ( 28049 ) * on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:03PM (#23123706) Journal
    Like they say, nothing new under the sun...
    • by TheWanderingHermit ( 513872 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:17PM (#23123816)
      Thanks for that point. People seem to forget that product placement used to be the norm. It was also done in many cases in radio shows. Listen to the old Jack Benny show (you can find episodes at the Internet archive: http://www.archive.org/details/oldtimeradio [archive.org]). They mentioned the sponsor quite often in shows and even joked about it. I can't remember the show, but in early TV there was a detective who would often stop in a tobacco shop during the show and talk about his favorite brand of cigar or cigarette with the people in the shop. It was an ad, but done as product placement. TVLand did a service a while back by showing an original (yet updated) version of the original "I Love Lucy" pilot and during such shows the stars would often do the ads themselves or the ads were integrated into the show.

      It's not new and it's tiring to see all these people that think it is.
      • by vanyel ( 28049 ) *
        There were also the sole sponsor shows too, just like this latest round: Kraft Television Theater, Philco Television Playhouse, etc...
      • It wasn't new then. I've heard episodes of Fibber McGee and Molly, and there was one character who's only reason for showing up was to turn the conversation into a commercial for Johnson's Wax. Sometimes Molly would "try" to keep him from changing the subject, or make a joke out of it, but he'd always get his commercial in. I'm sure that wasn't the only show doing it, but it's the only one I've heard.
        • Heh. I mentioned this very show in a comment elsewhere. Other shows aren't as good as Fibber McGee and Molly. I actually look forward to the Johnson's Wax spot, they always have fun with it. Other shows are more straightforward and intrusive.
      • by merreborn ( 853723 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:43PM (#23124022) Journal

        It's not new and it's tiring to see all these people that think it is.
        Are you suffering from frequent fatigue? You may be a victim of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Have you tried new Sleepitrol? Sleepitrol: from the makers of Spleenhance. 4 out of 9 doctors agree, it probably won't kill you!
      • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:51PM (#23124070)
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Kingdom [wikipedia.org]

        You don't even need to go back to the 50's. And it was a GREAT show.
      • Sometimes when they're doing a Twilight Zone marathon on the Sci-Fi Channel (yeah, low-brow channel, but the Twilight Zone rocks), they play the 'teasers' for upcoming episodes, in which Serling stands there smoking, tells you a little bit about the next episode, then explains how he always smokes cigarette brand X. Great stuff, reflects a different, less "THINK OF THE CHILDREN" time in history.
        • by dr_dank ( 472072 )
          In a few TZ episodes, you can see where sponsors logos were blotted out. I can't find the site at the moment, but they had stills of the credits from the original airing versus the credits with the logos blotted out in syndication. I believe "Black Leather Jackets" was the episode where it was really noticable in the end credits with a big black bar.
  • Wow.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rastoboy29 ( 807168 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:03PM (#23123710) Homepage
    Another great reason to continue avoiding network tv.
  • by flanksteak ( 69032 ) * on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:03PM (#23123716) Homepage

    I guess it was only a matter of time for something like this to come along after product placement became the norm.

    And after the DVR makes commercial-skipping so much easier. The business model must evolve. Unknown if it will survive. And while I know everyone will say that this will turn most viewers off, the truth is if it's entertaining people will watch.

    I love this quote:

    The collaboration ... offers a unique way of giving brands a seat at the table with writers and producers in developing episodic programming that ties directly to brand needs.

    BSOD jokes aside, I'm trying to figure out how you can communicate helpful technical product information in a science fiction drama show. Is it going to be like the time Jeff Goldblum used Mac OS 9 to take down the alien computer systems? Or is Rosario Dawson going to chase aliens and time travel with a Zune and an MSDN subscription? It's one thing to have a Coke can sitting in plain view, it's another to show how the protagonists succeed using shrinkwrapped software.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:12PM (#23123784) Journal
      No Scifi makes perfect sense, only in scifi could the protagonist succeed using Microsoft and Cisco products.
    • I seem to recall a "way into the future" sci-fi movie having monitors with VERY visible SGI logos.
    • SF is in a tough position. Its fan base is the group most likely to either TiVo the commercials away or just bittorrent the whole thing. The problem with product placement is that it's usually hard to work any meaningful placement into a SF story. Cylon skinjobs would be a lot more conspicuous if they came with an "Intel Inside" on their forehead.

      I suspect commercials are going to be something that people choose to watch, like Superbowl commericals, or the "Will it Blend?" guy.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )
        Yet ads for the channel itself (Scifi that is) are a perfect example
        of commercials that you are prone to jump back to and go out of your
        way to watch. A PVR doesn't necessarily do in commercials entirely,
        it just makes the ad agencies job harder. Instead of being able to
        kid their clients with the common myth that people care, they may
        be forced to make decent commercials again.

        HELL, just opening up the vaults and showing "retro-mercials"
        in place of their current prime-time commercials would be a
        massive improve
    • You mean Macs aren't handcrafted from alien angels? No wai..... .... just bought my first ever Mac, a black macbook ;-) ....
    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )
      ...except the next step after the PVR is the media server and there's
      more than enough "legacy" content keep you occupied for a lifetime
      without even getting into piracy or network television.

  • piracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:04PM (#23123726)
    So when i pirate this quality content, are they going to try sue me? after all marketing is the entire point of this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      are they going to try sue me?

      Of course they can, even content-less commercials are copyrighted.

      However, if this model becomes popular, you can just side-step the networks and distribute direct.

      A few years back there was a BMW series of movie shorts that were unabashedly product placement pieces, but they were quite enjoyable.

      In fact, I just found them again [bmwusa.com]

      Of course, fast cars are inherently entertaining to many folks. I can hardly wait for the next episode of Kleenex Man!

    • So when i pirate this quality content, are they going to try sue me? after all marketing is the entire point of this.

      Probably. Remember adcritic.com?

      For those who don't: It was a website that hosted television commercials and allowed users to comment on them. However, they didn't have permission from the copyright holders of the commercials.

      The copyright holders sued and shut the site down.

      Interestingly, YouTube today is host to tons of television commercials apparently without any problem. Maybe the ad

  • A sci-fi show centered around MS?

    Too many jokes...too many jokes...

    Danger, danger... overload, overload...!!!
    • by jd ( 1658 )
      You didn't hear? The show is centered around a group of humans on Earth in the 23rd century who discover an alien technology so advanced that it can even run the next service pack reliably. Their purpose is to save their civilization from the two groups of deep space colonists who are returning to Earth by means of vessels running alternative operating systems. The group will be run by a Captain Jack lookalike as it has become increasingly important to be beyond the Government.
    • by taustin ( 171655 )
      Sci-Fi? Hardly. More like fantasy. In Sci-Fi, you have to have stuff that's plausible within the known laws of the universe.
      • You mean, things like Heisenberg compensators, Dilithium crystals which can withstand antimatter, malfunctioning transporters which split a person into a good and an evil part, ...?
        And in case you complain that this is all Star Trek, well, the idea of using humans as batteries isn't exactly plausible either: Where do those humans get their energy from, and why can't the machines get it from the same source directly?
        Or maybe you're a Star Wars fan? So where's the plausibility of the force?

        Face it, a lot of S
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jd ( 1658 )
          That's why a lot of "purist" sci-fi fans prefer to use the more generic label of SF, as that includes "Science Fantasy", which most of the shows you mentioned could reasonably be listed as, and "Speculative Fiction".

          Science Fiction is usually reserved for programs or stories that are "close to" the known laws (but can violate one or two for dramatic purposes). Star Wars' "force" could be considered a single violation, their hyperspace the second, so that's still within what could be classically called Sci

    • Re:wait... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Deathlizard ( 115856 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:46PM (#23124038) Homepage Journal
      If its The Microsoft Matrix" [google.com] I'd watch it.
    • by Harker ( 96598 )
      I was just thinking that they wouldn't be able to save much money this way. I mean, how many times are they going to have to do re-shoots because of a blue-screen?

  • sooo..... (Score:4, Funny)

    by hurfy ( 735314 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:08PM (#23123748)
    So that means Knight Rider was picked up as a series?
  • These adshows are perfect showcases for all the vaporware Microsoft and Intel are always promising, but never delivering.

    Cisco doesn't pitch vaporware so much, so I'm a little disappointed they're going to start defining themselves into that category for the mass market.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AlHunt ( 982887 )
      If I had mod points today, you'd be insightful or funny. I'll have to settle for reminding the group of Mr. Data'somment in ST:TNG episode 126 (The Neutral Zone) that television died as an entertainment medium early in the 20th century.

      Scifi has a long history of correctly predicting the future.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Doc Ruby ( 173196 )
        Do you mean "early in the 21st Century"? Because even on Star Trek TNG, incorrectly predicting the past != correctly predicting the future. Even in the TV Show at the Edge of Being Entertaining.
    • They own LinkSys, remember? That's their entire line of consumer products. Perfect for product-placement, wouldn't you say? That way they can advertise their shiny new Vista-compatible drivers!
  • Nothing new here. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Steauengeglase ( 512315 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:12PM (#23123780)
    This was the norm on old radio programs.

    Jack Benny centered who knows how many of his jokes on Jello. In the Whistler, people were always pulling into Signal gas stations. Sometimes going miles to fine one of those "fine signal gas stations". Fibber McGee & Molly even made the Johnson Wax pitchman the crux of their plots.

    With lower costs in producing this kind of stuff it makes perfect sense. Everything old is new again.
  • by Seor Jojoba ( 519752 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:12PM (#23123782) Homepage

    They aren't really trying anything new so much as going back to the old ways of advertising. Ever heard the Jack Benny Program (also called "the Lucky Strike Program", "the Chevrolet Show", and other sponsor-reflecting names)? The show would seamlessly include little bits where the entertainers themselves sell you on the benefits of their sponsor's products. And the sponsors were definitely "at the table" affecting content in the shows.

    I can't blame the networks. They have to get the money from somewhere.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    re: Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco

    So the heroes, they fight these companies then, right? Because with their collective ethical track record, to put them on the side of good would be...

    Well, kind of fun actually. Like seeing darth vader sing a jaunty polka.
  • by zamboni1138 ( 308944 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:19PM (#23123832)
    Just wait, the "Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour" can not be far off. Check your local listings.

    It might actually be an improvement over current Fox shows.
  • Oh My God (Score:3, Funny)

    by FranTaylor ( 164577 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:19PM (#23123834)
    Between that thing they called a debate and this, I'm beginning to feel like I am living on the set of the movie 'Network'.
  • by Secret Rabbit ( 914973 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:25PM (#23123896) Journal
    ... that I don't think that people will notice. I mean, with the crap that's on today people are used to sub-standard programming. And that's given story centric shows. So, if you're masochistic, try imagining the raging pieces of crap that are product centric.
  • I remember how disgusted I was with the movie Transformers. Advertising was all over the place. I couldn't suspend disbelief and enjoy the movie as all I could think of was GMC, Mountain Dew, etc.
  • by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:27PM (#23123912)

    Bring on the The Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour [wikipedia.org]! I know that what I really want in TV is amazing advertising and a by-the-numbers plot, not cruddy shows where the writers are unconstrained by advertisers and free to write based on the artistic merit of their ideas.

    Now if they'd just replace the news (it's depressing and boooring) with this kind of quality programming, TV may be worth watching again.

  • Maybe they could set a new record for the fastest cancellation of a series ever. CBS just cancelled a "reality" show after one episode, but that, of course, has happened several times.

    No, the record they're going for was set by the TV show in Australia ("Australia's funniest home videos of animals having sex", as I recall - seriously), that was canceled at the first commercial break ("We are having technical difficulties, but only until the next show comes on").

    I'm hoping for it to be canceled before the op
  • So if you base a show entirely around a product or set of products, wouldn't that eliminate the need for commercials? At this point I would rather watch an entire show with an integrated product then try and watch the 10 minutes of "actual TV" sqeezed between 20 minutes of nonsensical commercials.
  • When deep space exploration ramps up, it will be corporations that name everything. The IBM Stellar Sphere. The Philip Morris Galaxy. Planet Starbucks. -- Fight Club
    • That may be risky, however.

      "New calculations by scientists reveal the unexpected result that the comet Microsoft Vista will crash into the Intel Mars base ..."
  • by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Friday April 18, 2008 @08:07PM (#23124196)
    The problem is, they have to be done REALLY well. Some great examples of advertisements in programming adding to show quality rather than detracting from it can be found in 30 Rock and The Colbert Report.

    Examples against it are, well, most everything else.
  • Isn't NBC the same network that gave us the wonders of that Geico derived Caveman sitcom?

    As much as I enjoy Heroes and the bits of Law & Order (and it's various spinoffs) that I've seen, I can't believe their execs are this stupid.
  • This kind of nonsense was tried on Chicago Hope, when they formed an unholy partnership with Cadillac and introduced a character named Lisa Catera ("Lease a Catera"). The result was pretty much about what you'd expect, and is widely acknowledged as the shark-jumping point for the show.

    This sort of thing just doesn't work. Everyone ends up resenting it.


  • Will this mean there'll be more shows like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! where the entire premise of the show is to sell crapola, but the show itself doesn't make any blasted sense, giving way to daft anime tired-as-hell translator humour?
  • by CSMatt ( 1175471 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @08:40PM (#23124410)
    "Tonight the world watches in horror as an Earthling is eaten alive on network television. This grim scene of unimaginable carnage is brought to you by Fishy Joe's. Try our new extreme walrus juice. 100% Fresh-Squeezed Walrus. Ride the walrus!"
  • Wait, are you implying there are shows that *aren't* centered around promoting the products of the network's sponsors? Where might I find these rare gems?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Well, I've found a show where there's absolute no advertising whatsoever, not even hidden. It's obviously very old, from the time when there was no sound, and no colors. Indeed, it's so old that even white was not yet discovered; the screen is just black. That show seems to be sent 24 hours a day without a single advertising break, and no product placement either. It's not easy to find, because they didn't put it on those numbered buttons you usually use to select your channel, but they put it on a separate
  • This may actually be a good thing...
    it may be the first time we see even semi-accurate depictions of technology in television drama in the USA!
  • This... doesn't seem that bad to me.

    If the experiment fails and the shows suck, then you have more evidence for the notion that sponsor control corrupts the medium. If it succeeds, it will do so by being genuinely entertaining - and we've essentially created a new medium for creative expression. I think that'd be a good way for big corps to spend more cash subsidizing the arts, even if only indirectly by giving more artists a day job that will give them the funds and experience to support and improve thei

  • that's going to work, sure it will. What a bunch of dumbasses.
  • Soap Operas (Score:3, Informative)

    by Xaroth ( 67516 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @09:48PM (#23124742) Homepage
    You know, they're called "Soap Operas" for a reason. It's because the early dramas were funded primarily by detergent manufacturers in some of the earliest - and most effective - product placement programs.

    This is a very, very old idea that seems to make the rounds every so often. No doubt, this will get tiresome after a couple decades, and the next generation will have this "radical" new idea to encapsulate the advertisements in separate spots rather than integrating them into the programs, and everyone will scoff at what a ludicrous suggestion that is. I mean, won't people just turn off the radio? Er, TV? Er, webpage?
  • by hanshotfirst ( 851936 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @10:10PM (#23124846)
    (Have young kids, can't help but watch sometimes) Disney Channel - few, if any, traditional ads, but the whole bloody channel is an ad for itself and its Disney products - Hanna Montana, Kim Possible, High School Musical out the WAZOO. I can't think of a single commercial for something that is not a reciprocal ad for something on the channel itself. While it seems like show A sponsors show B sponsors show A (how could either make money if that were all), what ends up happening is each show's brand is built - and then they make a bazillion dollars on clothing, toys, posters, and concert tickets. While I'm not that impressed with the production value much of the time, the marketing approach's success is hard to deny.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972