Product Placement Jumps the Shark

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?

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Sheriff Buford T. Justice & Goals

Recently during a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon while working, I turned the T.V. on for background noise.  Since I was tired of my music library, my thought process was that the T.V could provide something to tune out while I worked.  See mom, I still do that; it worked in high school and it works now! Well, for the most part; read on to see what I mean.


After a couple of minutes of bouncing around on various channels, I settled on Smokey & The Bandit on one of the movie channels.  Talk about a classic movie!  Well, classic for my generation, not classic like Gone With The Wind or something of that nature.  Other than watching a few scenes, I mostly worked while reciting  famous lines from memory; most of them compliments of Jackie Gleason’s character, Sheriff Buford T. Justice.  Also laughed at myself for remembering a lot of the lines.

Watching and listening to the movie sparked thoughts of goals and how Sheriff Justice was a master at goal setting and goal pursuit, even if he never reached his goal; catching Smokey.

Think about it:

  • He had one single goal in mind; catching and arresting Smokey.
  • Nothing kept him from pursuing his goal; not being out of his legal jurisdiction (comfort zone); not dealing with unexpected circumstances like losing the top of his car (roadblocks), nor having his not so smart son with him (dealing with others).
  • He never lost focus of his goal, catching Smokey; not matter what happened along the way or what roadblocks he encountered.

How may times do we stop pursuing a goal because we are out of our comfort zone, we have roadblocks or we struggle with others?

Those are my thoughts on how a hilarious movie character reminded us that we need to keep pursuing goals, no matter what.  Your thoughts?

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Run, Don’t Walk to see The Help!

Run, don’t walk to see the movie, The Help; even if you have not read the book!!

This movie is based on the #1 New York Times best selling book by the same title.  The Help is truly an inspiring look at what happens when a southern town’s unspoken code of rules is shattered by three woman who strike up an unlikely friendship.  It is also an incredible look at what life was like, and the civil rights movement in the 1960’s.

What does this have to do with social media?  Think about how far we have come as a society.  Before it took a grass roots effort and possible years of hard work and in some cases sacrificing of lives to bring about change, not only in the United States, but in many parts of our world.  Now, those efforts can be amazingly organized and impacted through the use of social media.

My friend Ted Nguyen had a terrific post in February about how the Social media revolution ignites Middle East and North Africa.  This post explored the uprising of the citizens against the governments of Egypt and Tunisia that toppled both of their presidents.  

Can you imagine how quickly social media could have affected change during the civil rights movement?  Times have changed and the governments of the world can no longer suppress their citizens in silence.

Go see The Help. It is one of the best movies I have seen in years.