Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Humph. Evidently the post that I thought I'd published just before work today never went through. As my dad would say, such is life.

Thus, an abridged version of the post: Proctor and Gamble, which spends more on advertising than any other company (some $3 billion), decided recently to cut back on upfront purchases of television advertising, particularly when it comes to cable. The reason is twofold: partly to wait and see which shows actually catch on, but mostly to increase spending on product placement.

And I don't like product placement.

There are various reasons why, but the gist is that it collapses, quite blatantly, the creative and financial impulses of a film. To believe that the two are ever fully separate contingencies is of course nonsense, but to consciously and quite conspicuously synthesize the two is only madness of a different kind: it is to communicate to your audience that you don't particularly care if they believe in the reality of the narrative at hand.

In certain instances that can be forgivable, but in general it erodes a kind of cultural trust that underpins the industry as a whole. So while product placement may boost profits in the short-term, in the long run it's going to hurt Hollywood more than it thinks.


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