DaysofOurLivesCheerios

Awful Classics: “Days of our Lives” shows how NOT to do product placement

Product placement is a delicate art. The goal is to have the product in view in the given TV show or movie but not placed so obviously that it takes away from the content in which it appears. Product placement works the best when it's nearly subliminal. The viewer has seen it, they know they've seen it but they aren't berated over the head with it. 

Someone probably should have told the crew of "Days of Our Lives" the general idea of product placement before they went and embarrassed themselves with awkward appearances by Cheerios and Chex Mix. 

Soap operas, or "My Stories" as they're referred to by the demographic that watches them, are dying a slow and painful death. Talk shows, reality TV and the pure fact that there are more options for a viewer to watch than ever before are forcing shows like "Days of Our Lives" to try and find new streams of revenue. This led to a couple of awful product placements by the show in 2010. 

Cheerios. 

This is almost too excruciating to watch. The best route would have been to have the product in view and perhaps say name of the cereal once. You could even have one character eat a bowl without the whole thing feeling too absurd. Instead, viewers were given almost a whole new storyline centered around two characters eating cereal. We're even given a list of reasons on why they're healthy to eat!

The whole thing comes off so badly it's as if the advertisers and show producers took notes from The Truman Show

But wait! There's more!

Chex Mix. 

Keep the logo pointed towards the camera! It's as if we can hear the director demanding the logo receive more time than the actors holding the bag.

Product placement is all about subtlety. You don't even need the logo to be placed directly in front of a camera. Consumers are savvy enough to know when the lead character is downing a Budweiser without the can being pompously waved around. They know the car James Bond is driving without a deliberate shot of the car's logo. Forced product placement like the two examples seen above can actually backfire in a big way, with viewers feeling a sense of anger and resentment toward the products that are distracting from the work they appear in.

Consider Home Alone where the character Fuller is guzzling some Pepsi. We even hear, "Fuller, go easy on the Pepsi". He grins, knowing all too well that he'll wet the bed. Are we distracted by the product placement here? No. The product is there but it doesn't take away from the story its placed in – THAT is the key to successful product placement. 

David Rogers

About David Rogers

Managing Editor of the NHL blog Puck Drunk Love and contributing writer for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Firm believer that Ray Hudson is the most entertaining commentator in sports.

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