Friday, June 27, 2008

Keeping It Real

The Washington Post had an interesting article about product placement on TV being targeted by the FCC. According to the article,

FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin said product placements and integration into story lines have increased as television viewers increasingly use recording devices like TiVo and DVRs to fast forward through commercials. Currently, agency's rules require television programmers to disclose sponsors who have embedded products into shows. Those disclosures typically are done during the credits at the end of the show, which fly by viewers in small script.

"We want to make sure consumers understand and are aware that they are being advertised to," said Martin, who first pushed to clarify disclosure rules last fall. "We ask how we should update our rules to reflect current trends in the industry."
Interesting. Of course some of the product placement is so blatant (the recent My Name is Earl episode which featured Earl's now ex-wife Billie taunting Randy as to what he would do for a Klondike bar. Yeeeshh!), it hardly qualifies as subliminal. But given that a pair of designer jeans or cute pair of shoes worn by Carrie Bradshaw can cause a feeding frenzy, it's little wonder the issue is receiving attention. I know quite a few people who would be ecstatic to know that the pretty necklace worn by Teri Hatcher on Desperate Housewives was made by Adina or Me & Ro. Coincidentally, John August recently had a blog post about this very issue.

Which then begs the question--was the movie Lars and the Real Girl nothing more than a 106 minute long commercial for the EMA or Eternal Maiden Actualization, the 15 inch, battery-powered robot girlfriend made in Japan? I first stumbled across news of the creation by Sega Toys in a post on Emil Steiner's OFF/beat where he reports that in addition to $175 plastic girlfriend (and you have to admit--that ends up being cheaper than some dates!) scientists are developing a spray-on drug using oxytocin to alleviate shyness.

Not surprising since we have a pill to cure everything. Although it starts to get questionable after while and you wonder if that confident, upbeat, virile guy with the nice head of hair you're dating is a great catch--or a walking advertisement for Prozac, Viagra and Rogaine. Guys, on the other hand, can take heart in knowing that there's at least one positive piece news about the mortgage and credit crisis: cosmetic surgery procedures are down. So they, in fact, may really be real AND spectacular!

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