You knew it was bound to happen. TiVo ruined the advertising game because people were suddenly free to jump past the annoying ads that broke up their TV shows. Well the execs in Hollywood are smarter than you and your TiVo. If you won’t watch ads between segments of their shows, then, by God, you’ll watch ads written into the show.
That’s right! Their writing ads into the shows themselves. It shouldn’t really be a surprise. Everyone remembers the Wayne’s World product endorsement scene – where he holds up a string of different products and works them into the story line. That scene was improved upon in The Truman Show when Truman’s wife, talking only to Truman in the kitchen keeps plugging the products in their home.
But now it’s coming to a TV near you. The latest example involves the NBC show Medium and a deal NBC made with Sony to work Memoirs of a Geisha into the script three times.
But the writers are revolting. They’ve issued a call for ethics and honesty in disclosing who has paid for ads on TV shows and launched a web site called ProductInvasion.com to bash the industry for forcing them to become commercial copy writers.
Don’t expect the writers’ actions to get very far, however. TV advertising is big business and the networks aren’t going to give up that revenue just because you have the ability to skip the commercials. Instead, they’re likely to make a 30 minute program actually run 30 minutes, and embed 8 minutes of product placement in the script.