Product Placment in News Media

Suppose you read this in the Wall Street Journal or any other newspaper,
“Hank Paulson, stopped to take a sip of the ice cold Coke and replaced it under his lectern as he addressed the reporters on the Freddie and Fannie crisis”

As people use time-shifting and Ad skipping methods like TiVo to watch TV, the advertisers, entertainment content producers and distributors are resorting to product placement as a revenue source. The Amercan Idol judges proudly displayed over-sized Coke cups  during the show.  But should this extend to news stories?

The print version of WSJ had a box story titled “Lunchanomics”. You cannot find this in its online version. The primitive search function of does not help.  The story posted two side by side pictures of turkey sandwich lunchs, one home packed and the other deli bought and compared the prices.

Both featured, a bottle of coke and a bag of Lays chips. This is product placement slowly getting into the news stories.  I wonder why they left out putting a brand name on the meat, Sara Lee or Kraft would have perfectly fit here.  I also wonder if the sponsorship did not include online media and hence the photo and the story do not show up on the website.

As I type this on my Apple MacBook Pro, and sip the freshly brewed Floger’s coffee from a large red Martha Stewart ceramic cup,   I wonder if this fundamentally changes what is an Ad inventory.

On a serious note, this does require a new Ad selling process for the media if product placement has to become a carefully executed operation rather than a set of isolated opportunities.