By Amanda Greene
Thanks to TiVo, DVR and Internet TV, we no longer have to sit through commercials when we watch our favorite shows. Though viewers love it, advertisers struggle with the new technology because it makes it harder to promote their brands. To make up for lost commercials, companies are now making deals with TV show producers to pay for their products to be featured in episodes. Sometimes the integration is seamless, but other times it's glaringly obvious, turning television programs into veritable advertisements. Read on to find out which TV shows have topped our list for the most laughably transparent product placements.
1. American Idol: Coca-Cola
Almost as ubiquitous as Simon's brutal feedback and Randy's affinity for calling contestants "Dawg" are the red cups emblazoned with Coca-Cola's logo that sit on the American Idol judges' table night after night. Not only are they strategically positioned to remind you who the show's sponsor is and what to grab when you're feeling a bit parched, but in case you don't get the hint, screens in the background flash the red-and-white logo throughout the program.
2. The Biggest Loser: Ziploc
In this episode of NBC's The Biggest Loser, trainer Bob and the contestants were so enamored of the Ziploc containers they were promoting, it's hard to believe they could keep a straight face while filming. Other brazen product placements in the promotion-heavy series include 24 Hour Fitness, Muir Glen and Extra gum.
3.Modern Family: iPad
A more realistic (though still obvious) example of product placement can be found in this episode of ABC's Modern Family, where geeky dad Phil Dunphy is desperate for a brand-new Apple iPad. The show, which aired the same week the iPad was released, documents Phil and his family's hunt for the in-demand tech toy. Though Phil's nerdy character would believably lust after the product, the timing of the episode makes us wonder if it was mostly promotional.
4. Top Chef: Glad
"Mise en place" is the term used to describe the way professional chefs organize and arrange the ingredients they plan to use in a dish. So it's only fitting that Glad, the obvious sponsor of Top Chef, has created its very own "mise en product placement" here. In this episode, boxes of Glad products are stacked and displayed with grandeur on the countertops, just in case anyone should need them. The footage is spliced with action shots of cooking-as if that would fool viewers into missing the blatant promotion.
5. 30 Rock: Verizon
The writers of NBC comedy 30 Rock take a different approach to product placement and poke fun at it with a tongue-in-cheek reference. In this episode, Liz Lemon rattles off the merits of Verizon's cell phone service and then, breaking the fourth wall, looks directly into the camera and pleads: "Can we have our money now?"
6. Chuck: Subway
In 2009 NBC was able to renew the comedy series Chuck after Subway jumped in to offer their sponsorship. In return, Chuck producers promised to integrate product promotions into their shows. In this episode, Morgan bribes Mike with a $5 footlong from the sandwich chain, and they show a comical slow-motion scene of Mike devouring the sub and lovingly describing the flavors of his favorite meal.
7. Sex and the City: Amazon.com
When Sex and the City's Charlotte is too embarrassed to purchase a self-help book at her local bookstore, she's stumped. That is, until she discovers Amazon.com, which will ship the book without her ever having to face a judgmental cashier! Problem is, this episode aired in 2002 and Amazon.com launched in 1995. There's no way it would have taken the hip ladies of Sex and the City seven whole years to start using the hugely popular site.
8. Smallville: Acuvue
The producers of this episode of Smallville were either blind to the fact that their promotion of Acuvue contact lenses was glaringly obvious, or they just didn't care. Not only does the camera zoom in on the branded package of lenses as if it were a commercial, but a character even utters the exec-pleasing line "Acuvue to the rescue!"
9. Desperate Housewives: Yamaha
Producers of the ABC drama Desperate Housewives must've been a little desperate themselves when it came to funding their "A Little Night Music" episode. It appears they found some money from Yamaha, whose piano is featured in the episode as an exorbitant inheritance from Susan's aunt, which she plans to use to make her spoiled friend, Gabrielle, jealous.10. The West Wing: Johnnie Walker
In the "Bartlet for America" episode of The West Wing, Leo McGarry, a recovering alcoholic, describes relapsing when he was offered a glass of Johnnie Walker Blue Label scotch. They cut to a man pouring the amber liquor out of a bottle with a visible label, but to really drive the point home, McGarry sings the brand's praises and says: "Good scotch sits in a charcoal barrel for 12 years. Very good scotch gets smoked for 29 years. Johnnie Walker Blue is 60-year-old scotch." We're just confused how alcoholism is a good sell for booze. All videos courtesy of YouTube.
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com
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