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5… 5 Dollar… 5 Dollar Footloooooong

The power of a motivated audience

Now here is a marketers dream:

You’re spending millions in advertising dollars to run the traditional :30 sec spots during a major network’s prime-time TV show. But you want more bang for your buck, so you get the network to help you pull off the product placement opportunity of a lifetime where the writers write your product into the script! One of the main characters of the show literally walks your product onto the screen, logo-side out, for all 6 million+ viewers to see.  Oh, and it doesn’t stop there. The character drives home your message by uttering those famous four words you and your marketing team came up with. It can’t get any better than that. But it does…

This particular TV show’s season finale is about to air and the loyal fan base decides they want to ensure that their favorite program doesn’t get canceled by network execs… so, what do they do? They launch a nationwide finale campaign to save the show by vowing to  purchase your products the night of the show’s finale. Talk about consumers recognizing their buying power and using that power to make things happen!

Well, this is no dream. It’s what actually transpired after NBC’s Chuck aired an episode a couple Monday’s ago where Morgan (best friend of Chuck Bartowski) delivered a chicken-teriyaki sandwich to their boss at Buy More, Big Mike. The sandwich came wrapped in the all too recognizable Subway wrapping paper, with the chain’s familiar yellow and green lettering. It was carried on-screen in a way that viewers could not overlook (though it didn’t appear as contrived as I’ve seen other “plugs”). The marketing coup de grâce was Morgan bringing the message home by saying Subway’s popular line from their $5 Foot Long ads. Sweet!

And with viewers using their purchasing power to sway Chuck closer to another season, it all just goes to show that Subway’s advertising efforts and clever on-screen plug worked like a charm. With this proven effectiveness, more and more advertisers will most likely try and jump on the product integration bandwagon.

I’d like to know what you guys think though. Are these “guest appearances” by products we already see during the commercial break subliminal enough to do their job without ruining our favorite shows? Or are they an all-round invasive annoyance brought on by corporations trying to find their way into our wallets by any means necessary? I mean, what would you think if Jack Bauer goes to brush is teeth in a scene and the camera conveniently zooms in on a tube of Tartar Control Crest?

Either way, I don’t know about you, but I think I hear a chicken-teriyaki foot long (hold the onions) calling my name ever so softly.

Philip Joyner

Not only can the man stare down CSS code until it writes itself in sheer terror, but he is famous around 220 E. Hall St for what we like to call his “happy dance”. Few have seen it, and those who have can’t get enough.


One thought on “5… 5 Dollar… 5 Dollar Footloooooong

  1. Susan Isaacs says:

    I have mixed feelings about the whole product placement thing. If done poorly it’s just embarrassing to watch, but then again, I hate commercial breaks.

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