Spot the Placement, Place the Spot

As promised in a previous blog posting, I have created a repository for potential product placement (aka brand integration…) spottings:

(1) My Name Is Earl – a few weeks ago — QVC open heart necklace

(2) The Wrestler – no obvious product placement; possibly Tylenol or RAM trucks

(3) Sierra Mist on Colbert, Jan 8, 2009 (as you may know, he makes his placements “humorously” obvious)

(4) Elle Magazine on Ugly Betty. This is an ongoing plot element. Is it possible that HFM is paying for this? – Jan 8, 2009

(5) in Zohan: Sony Erickson phone, possibly Moishe’s moving (local brand?), possibly Sony, itself. – Jan 6, 2009

(6) In “Taken:” Audi automobiles. Somewhat subtle in that the cars were moving so fast that the grill was a little fuzzy, but still obvious to those of us sensitive to this kind of thing. Confirmed in the credits. Positioning consistent with Super Bowl ad, and cars looked good in silver. Audi and Hyundai are two brands taking advantage of the reduced clutter in automotive TV advertising. It will be interesting to see how it plays out., February 27, 2009

(7) Stephen Colbert, March 11, 2009 – Sierra Mist

(8) Frito Lay on The Daily Show – March 2009 – Jon Stewart suggests sponsored medals of honor. Frito Lay is owned by Pepsi; there seems to be a bundled purchase incorporating brand mentions on both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert shows. I remember when sales executives could not fathom the idea of value added packages a la the magazine world. It was 2003.

(9) Stephen Colbert, first week in April — mention of Sierra Mist during interview with head NAA (Newspaper Association of America) – suggested that newspapers incorporate product placement, e.g., “Obama, while enjoying a refreshing Siera Mist…” (Note that, like Doritos, Sierra Mist is owned by Pepsi. Doritos officially sponsored the “Hail to the Cheese Stephen Colbert’s Nacho Cheese Doritos 2008 Presidential Campaign Coverage.)

(10) “United States of Tara,” April 5, 2009 — Gene Stuart (Nathan Corddry) asks Kate (Brie Larson) for a Sierra Mist – is it coincidental that Sierra Mist is showing up on Colbert and Tara — do they have a brand placement strategy, or is it coincidental? Or does Sierra Mist suggest a particular type of personality for Gene — different than a Coke kind of guy?

(11) “ER,” April 2009: In exchange for an undisclosed amount of money from the Gates Foundation, ER’s producers agreed to a plot line centering on a kidney transplant for one of the leading characters. Promoting organ donation is one of the Gates Foundation’s causes.

(12) Viacom, April 2009 — The Gates Foundation struck a deal called “Get Schooled” with Viacom (MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, etc.) in which the networks will incorporate messaging that promotes education and healthy living.

(13) Jon Stewart, April 15, 2009 — uses Tostitos and Buick as hypothetical brand sponsorship. (The Tostitos brand is owned by Frito Lay, which is owned by Pepsi; Colbert’s Pepsi chip of choice is Doritos.)

(14) Procter & Gamble – in-school sexual education programs and materials: Old Spice, Always, Secret brands.

(15) Stephen Colbert – Pepsi (I think this mystery has been unlocked long ago.)

(16) Hasbro has upcoming films based on its Transformers and G.I. Joe brands set for release this summer, and Monopoly, Clue and even Stretch Armstrong films are in development. In addition, Hasbro will pay Discovery $300 million for a 50% stake in a new network which will replace the existing Discovery Kids (60MM homes), making Hasbro the first kids’ marketer to create a branded cable network. (Ad Age)

(17) KFC Grilled Chicken – “Gary Unmarried” – May 6, 2009 — not even a little bit subtle. 2 bags, one bucket – huge branding/logos. 60 seconds of dialog about the chicken and the “herbs and spices” including, “doesn’t taste like KFC.” “It’s the new Grilled KFC.” The KFC thread follows us throughout the episode including a follow up discussion about the new grilled chicken between Gary and his brother on the floor of a Las Vegas casino.

(18) Stephen Colbert — Sierra Mist, Sierra Mist, Sierra Mist – consumed 5+ cans over the course of the hour and even offered it to his guest – an expert on healthful eating… That said, Colbert does not sell out as he makes fun of the beverage industry’s objection to the currently proposed soda tax.

(19) The Chinese Ugly Betty is evidently out of control with Unilever brand placement of its Dove products. Because the show is set in an ad agency rather than a fashion magazine, there are extensive opportunities for brand integration – much along the lines of our “Mad Men.”

(20) Starbucks sponsorship of MSNBC “The Morning Joe” for $10MM (June 5, 2009)

(21) G-Force film in Gary Unmarried episode July 2009 – Gary given the nickname “G-Force” followed within minutes by an ad for the film in the next pod of commercials.

(22) Desperate Housewives – Sprint (Edie’s shopping bag) and Lexus (nearly an infomercial by Bree)

(23) During season 6 (Jan. 16 May 23, 2007), American Idol featured 4,349 product placement occurrences. As of March 31, 2008, the number of placements featured during season 7 was surgingAmerican Idol had already racked up 3,291 occurrence (Product Placement News)

(24) Product integration/media buy for final episode – $3MM for 2 minute integration and 30 second spot (iMedia podcast – but I’m blanking on the brand at the moment)

(25) When an athlete, e.g., Tiger Woods in U.S. Open, wears a sportswear brand, the manufacturer enjoys a 10% bump in sales. (July 20, 2009)

Read more at “Place the Spot; Spot the Placement.”


  1. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website
    yourself or did you hire someone to do it for
    you? Plz respond as I’m looking to create my own blog and would
    like to find out where u got this from. cheers

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