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Friday, October 06, 2006

In Product Placement – The Best Promotion Around…

Who was that guy that said:Any Publicity is Good Publicity'?

Whoever it was, he was a smart guy. I always believed in that motto, and lived my life off of it for many years. There are many stories about how bad publicity actually ends up being a positive for a company or brand, as Rider truck rental found out after the Oklahoma City bombings, or as Burger King has been living on for 30 years of their commercial productions. Don’t get me wrong there are many examples where this does not hold true, such as Tylenol or even Mel Gibson.

I actually think that most US consumers these days have turned off their sensory brain transmitters; so that they never tie anything they see with reality (this is one reason for such a draw to reality television programming). I really think that not many people are shocked these days, well unless someone flashes their breast during the Super Bowl. I really think you probably could show a bloody guy drinking a can of 7-Up while killing baby kittens with a rock, and The Un-Cola would see a pick-up in market share the next week.

Companies are bending over backwards to get product placements in every primetime show and mainstream movie possible. Watching Survivor these days is like watching one long commercial for GM, Pepsi and P&G Products. I don’t know about you, but Pringles doesn’t sound too tempting if I have been on an island for 30 days and haven’t eaten anything. Especially those Pringles that cause rectal leakage (anyone remember Olestra?)

So why would Emerson (the makers of the In-Sink-Erator) want to cut their product out of the pilot program of Heroes. Side note: Heroes is one of the hottest new primetime shows on NBC this season. Emerson was founded in 1890 in St. Louis, Missouri, as a manufacturer of electric motors and fans. Over the past 100-plus years, Emerson has grown from a regional manufacturer into a global technology solutions powerhouse.

Now these motor guys want to put some major legal action against NBC. Here is part of the story from St Louis Today Online:

Emerson filed a federal lawsuit in St. Louis on Monday, seeking to block the NBC television network from rebroadcasting the pilot episode of the new show "Heroes," which depicts a woman damaging her hand in a garbage disposal made by the company.

The Ferguson-based maker of electric products says NBC Universal Television Studios did not have the right to use the company's In-Sink-Erator brand disposal in the show without permission. The filing comes complete with color printouts that show a re-creation of a woman putting her hand in the disposal and pulling it out mangled and bloody.

The suit says the scene suggests that the Emerson In-Sink-Erator "will cause debilitating and severe injuries, including the loss of fingers, in the event consumers were to accidentally insert their hand into one."
The suit also says the scene "casts the disposer in an unsavory light, irreparably tarnishing the product."

So these guys that make something called the In-Sink-Erator, that in essence will chew up anything you shove down the sink, are concerned that the television show will put their product in bad light? They believe that because the scene in the show (which is a show about super heroes by the way = fiction) a girl sticks her hand down the garbage disposal and it causes her to bleed and get cuts on her hand is portraying their product in a negative way?

Maybe I am really confused, but if you stick your hand into a running garbage disposal, what do you expect will happen? I actually saw the episode that Emerson is referring to, and I was actually impressed that the girl still had her hand. What is it that Emerson is worried about? They got their product on national TV on one of the hottest shows today. Someone on the show misused the product (they actually say on their website not to put your hand in the In-Sink-Erator while it is on). And the person was injured because they stuck their hand into a garbage disposal.

I don’t get it. These Emerson guys are totally out of touch with today’s consumers. The product placement is great and worth every frame they got out of the show. People will remember the scene, and Emerson is part of that great scene.

Actually, the Emerson guys are getting a lot of press about this lawsuit. Maybe they aren’t that slow after all!

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