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Product Placement - Good, Bad or Ugly?

Josie and the Pussycats
Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

When is enough, enough? We are bombarded by over 5,000 ads a day and yet product placement in movies and on TV is continuing to grow. We cannot sit through one episode of Survivor or rent You've Got Mail without being hit head on by tons of subliminal advertising.

In 1982 E.T. was seen eating his favorite candy, Reeses Pieces. Sales of the yummy candies skyrocketed after that and moviemakers everywhere saw a new way to make big money.

It does make sense. A movie like Mission Impossible 2 was bound to have some sort of computers in it, so why not sign a contract with Apple computers and have Tom Cruise use only Apple computers throughout the movie? Now the producers have more money to play around with and Apple sells way more computers.

But there is a time when advertising and product placement becomes too much. It's hard not to find a Starbucks coffee cup somewhere in the background of almost every movie. And last time I checked, not everyone in the world drinks Starbucks so why does everyone in the movies?

TV has jumped on the product placement bandwagon too! Reward challenges on Survivor end up looking more like a commercial for Doritos, Visa and Mountain Dew, with these products displayed in an alluring fashion on a fancy tablecloth in the middle of Australia or Africa. And let's not forget all the air-time given to Ford and their ugly Aztec on Survivor Australia. Sure a show needs sponsors, but when more camera time is given to the sponsor's products than the actual show, I think we have a problem.

Some recent movies such as Josie and the Pussycats, or Jim Carey's The Truman Show, have attempted to make fun of Hollywood's newfound love of product placement. But instead, both flicks went crazy with their own product placements. All the little pussycats were seen drinking their Evian water, scarfing down McDonald's and applying their Revlon make-up. They even had a McDonald's themed bathroom and Target circles for a carpet in their penthouse. If you ask me, Josie and the Pussycats was just a sorry attempt to get as many ad placements (and as much money) as possible. And lets not even get started on the giant commercial Britney did when she made her flick, Crossroads

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