Jump the Shark is a term used to describe the moment when something that was once great has reached a point where it will now decline in quality and popularity. Jon Hein created the phrase after the Happy Days episode where the Fonz literally jumped a shark on water skis. That episode was labeled as the lowest point of the show. Also think about Cousin Oliver joining the family on the Brady Bunch and Scrappy Doo joining the Scooby Doo gang.
How does this relate to product placement? I’m getting there; read on and be patient.
According to Wikipedia, Product placement, or embedded marketing is a form of advertisement, where branded goods or services are placed in a context usually devoid of ads, such as movies, movie videos, television shows or other programs. It has been around for years, even during the era of silent movies. In the film Wings (1927), the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture, there was a plug for Hershey’s chocolate. We have all noticed product placements in our movies and television shows; in other words, it’s nothing new.
How has Product Placement Jumped the Shark? In the upcoming James Bond movie, Skyfall, Bond will not order a martini, shaken, not stirred, but instead order a Heineken Beer. Oh the humanity!
Heineken USA is using 007 to boost its flagship beer this year. The ad campaign will also feature commercials directed by Skyfall’s director and staring actor James Craig.
Part of my thought process here is I am a James Bond purest. I believe the movie franchise was at its pinnacle with the only real James Bond, Sean Connery. The movies had resurgence with Pierce Brosnan, but to me, all other actors have not been James Bond. I also believe that changing the iconic drink of James Bond is literally changing the character. What’s next; a remake of Star Wars with Die Hard batteries powering R2D2?
There is more in play with product placement today. I believe companies, advertising agencies included, are looking for any method to reach their audience. Movie audiences have changed over the years along with viewing habits. Most of us are willing to pay a premium for an app that does NOT contain advertisements. We will consume content on OUR schedule and if at all possible skip the advertising. Major companies believe a captive movie audience is a good method for advertising. How about being more engaging in social media and leave the product placement out of the movie?
To me, we have reached point that product placement has jumped the shark. As consumers, we pay less and less attention to these placements and one reason is because we have become adept at ignoring them, or CHOOSING how we consume content so that we aren’t bothered with commercials. Just one more reason why engaging your audience where they spend their time, in social media, is a good option.
Those are my thoughts, what say you?