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.

Ads that make you stop and look for more than a few seconds

AT&T has covered the walls of the Embarcadero BART station in San Francisco with extremely well done hand art Ads. This is something different from the, historicall conservative, at&t. There is one major thing to take note in these artistically pleasant Ads: the phone features is a Samsung phone and not the crown jewel, iPhone. This is not just because iPhone is not available in all the countries, at&t is trying to sell its network and global access and it does not want the attention to be stolen by iPhone. They still can’t feature a “dumb” phone, so they picked the middle, the samsung phone and the blackberry. Sometimes the middle is attractive to some, not to cool not too drab, just right to serve its purpose.

Here are some pictures (courtesy of mdolla), at&t has two of these in PDF forms in their websites too.