Category Archives: Samantha

Pottery Barn

Any Friends fans out there?

For those of you who are you, you may remember the episode “The One with the Apothecary Table.” Or, in other words, the episode about the Pottery Barn.

In the episode, Rachel buys an apothecary table from Pottery Barn and has it delivered to her and Pheobe’s apartment. Monica warns Rachel that Pheobe hates all mass produced goods and will disapprove of her new purchase. In order to keep the table, Rachel pretends that she bought the table from a flea market. Over time, Rachel continues to buy Pottery Barn items, still claiming that they’re all from the flea market. Eventually, Pheobe finds out the truth behind the furniture when she passes by the Pottery Barn store and sees that the window display is the same as her living room. She becomes extremely upset with Rachel, but still wants to keep everything. In fact, she notices that there is one thing in the display that Rachel hadn’t bought, and she feels as if she has to have it.

The entire episode is based on Pottery Barn. They incorporate the catalogue into the beginning and throughout the rest of the show, they show different Pottery Barn pieces. Ross and Rachel both advocate for the store, and Ross even says at one point, “Who doesn’t love Pottery Barn?” implying that all viewers should love Pottery Barn, or else there is something wrong with them.

In an interview with Pottery Barn executive Patrick Connolly, he said “phones light up with catalog requests every time it airs.” The producers of Friends definitely had huge success with this product placement.

The episode attracted much criticism for its blatant use of product placement. But, all in all, it was a really good episode. If you haven’t seen it yet, you definitely should!

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Would you hold it against me?

Britney Spears’s “Hold it Against Me” music video may not be as shamless as Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” for product placement, but it’s pretty bad nonetheless.

Instead of making more of an advertisement/commercial out of the products like in “Telephone,” “Hold it Against Me” flashed the products at you. The placement of the brands can even be considered subliminal advertising because of the rate at which they are flashed. I first noticed this when they kept flashing a camera lense. After about a minute and half, I then learned that this camera lense was supposed to represent Sony. Then I realized that that’s probably why the scene was set in a tunnel of hundreds of Sony screens and monitors. If I could tolerate the video, I would love to go back and count how many times the name Sony then appeared. It was actually a ridiculous amount of times, but I guess this makes sense since Britney Spears is signed by Sony Music.

In addition to Sony, the mysterious Plenty of Fish website that was in “Telephone” made another appearance. I guess Britney’s looking for a new man because she was also on the website browsing the postings. And, might I add, on a Sony laptop, of course. Perhaps that’s why she was experimenting with the Make Up Forever brand eyeshadow and danced around with her new fragrance called “Radiance.” I must say, she did look radiant in the video, so I’ll probably be rushing to the nearest store that sells them really soon!

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stop callin’, stop callin’

Lady Gaga may not wear brand name clothes, but she certainly uses name brands in her music videos. In her Telephone music video, featuring Beyonce, she complimented her obscure outfits with everyday brands.

In one of the first scenes of the music video, she walks out into the jail courtyard and pulls out her Virgin Mobile cell phone. In the next scene, she has a weird hairdo with Diet Coke bottles in her hair and puts on Chanel sunglasses. The camera then focuses on an onlooker, who has no other association with the film other than to advertise the Rayban sunglasses.

After more placement of the Virgin Mobile cell phone, she then gets access to a jail computer and goes on the website Plenty of Fish. From the scene, we learn that it is an online dating and matchmaking service for singles.

The rest of the video is completely incoherent (not surprising) and somehow incorporates Wonder bread and Kraft’s Miracle Whip. For some reason, Lady Gaga decided to make a sandwhich with those two ingredients. And, of course, the video also flashes the brand Polaroid at us too.

Lady Gaga once said she was a student of famous, and this music video really demonstrates that. She is certainly learning quickly how to bring in extra money through product placement.

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Product Displacement?

I know that when I think of product placement, I always think of it as a business deal. In other words, I assume that the company paid to have their product placed there. But, a lot of the time product placement can be unintentional without any payments. In fact, there is even such a thing as “product displacement” where companies have their products misrepresented. For instance, since that has happened before, Mercedes Benz won’t allow their products to be portrayed in unflattering lights. And, from a specific movie, Amtrak now won’t let people use their logo if it is portrayed in an ill-fated scene.

But, the funniest example I can think of which involves unintentional product placement is that of “Jersey Shore.” Abercrombie and Fitch offered the trashy cast of MTV’s reality show “Jersey Shore” a huge sum of money to never wear their clothes again while filming. The company felt that the association to “Jersey Shore” is contrary to the aspirational nature of the Abercrombie and Fitch brand, and it may be very distressing to many avid Abercrombie and Fitch shoppers.

So, most of the time product placement is a business deal between to companies. But, every once in a while, you find that the placement is unintentional and can even be considered destructive.

For more information about the “Jersey Shore” and Abercrombie and Fitch deal, read:

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American Idol

So who do you think sponsors American Idol?

Think about it!

Keep thinking…

Give up?? COCA COLA!!

I heard that Simon Cowell is a huge fan of Coca Cola, but for some reason, I think that there is something else going on here…

Every single episode of American Idol, each judge has his or her own big red Coca Cola glass. You might also note that, for the most part, the judges are always wearing more neutral colored clothing. Perhaps they’re dressing like this to give the red cups an extra bold effect. Look how much the red cups stand out from the background!

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It’s everywhere…

Product placement isn’t just in the virtual world. True, you may see more ads when watching television or surfing the internet, but it’s also in our day to day lives — even in schools!

Marketers are targeting adolescents more than ever: there are vending machines with name brand snacks in most schools; some school buses now play Bus Radio, which is filled with youth-targeted commercials; sports scoreboards have logos on them; some schools take their students on fieldtrips to stores like Sports Authority; schools provide supplemental learning websites that are full of advertisements. The list goes on and on.

But, the most disturbing product placement is that of McDonald’s. Schools are now advertising for McDonald’s on their report cards. The campaign is supposed to support education by bribing students with good grades, behavior, and attendence with free Happy Meals.

(image from:

While the schools benefit from the product placement by receiving money from the companies, I don’t think it’s quite worth it. Perhaps they can raise more funds through different means.

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The Game Show Network is notorious for horrendous product placement. Sometimes finding the ads can be even more entertaining than the program itself.

Most of the shows have one sponsor that they advertise throughout the program, and they make absolutely no effort to make it less obvious. They might as well hang a giant banner with the sponsor’s logo in the background of the show.

The Newlywed Game has the participants write their answers on cards that are printed with the eHarmony logo. Then the host reads one question that is sponsored by eHarmony. However, her script seems more like an advertisement than an actual question. After she is done reading the question, an eHarmony ad appears on the bottom of the screen. And, of course, the commercials in between the show are filled with more eHarmony advertisements.

(note 6:55-7:05)

Catch 21 has made its sponsors obvious over the years. When Catch 21 was sponsored by Burger King, they would use “Burger King power chips.” When the host would place the chips in the contestants’ hand, he made sure to mention Burger King at least 3 times. The camera would zoom in on the power chips, which contained the Burger King logo. This lasted roughly 15 seconds. And, when the show was sponsored by Hellman’s Mayo, they had the Hellman’s “Real Mayo” slogan and logo on all of the cards.

(note 1:16, where the audience notices that they are no longer sponsored by Burger King and 1:30 for a close up of the cards)

GSN is full of all types of entertainment!

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Not so conspicuous

Is it a commercial? Is it a spokesperson? Nope. It’s just regular TV!

Advertisements are everywhere. Sometimes it’s hard to catch every detail. It’s especially hard to find when the objects are so intertwined with everyday life. Did you notice how many shots of cell phones there were? Did you notice how in the scene of Pretty Little Liars, all of the girls were holding the same exact phones? Little coincidental, huh?  In a scene of Gossip Girl, they were all playing Guitar Hero. To a lot of people Guitar Hero is such a regular activity they probably didn’t even pick up on it as a brand.   

How about the episode of Gossip Girl with the Vitamin Water on the bar? I had to watch it twice to pick up on that. But, now seeing it, it’s very clearly product placement. Who drinks Vitamin Water at an upscale party?

Notice in the video, some are more obvious than others. The continuous use of the Apple laptop in Sex in the City was incredibly obvious. The same goes for the different food brands like Subway, KFC, or McDonald’s. We noticed their precense, but it doesn’t get too much in the way of the actual program. But, sometimes advertisements are so obvious that they actually interfere with the episode. How about the clip from The Secret Life of the American Teenager with the Clean & Clear surge. Or what about the iPad where the entire family crows around it. Out of context, they could easily have been mistaken for an advertisement.

But, the winner for the worst and most obvious product placement is that of Biggest Loser. Check out their minute — and not so gracious– advertisement for Ziploc containers. I counted them saying Ziploc 4 times, see what you get!

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Its Not Just a Recent Fad

Product placement isn’t just a new fad. It’s been happening for before a while now, and it’s even in some of the most classic movies.

I’m sure you’ve heard of E.T. before. Pick your brain, and see if you can think of any product placement in the movie. Did you think of any? If you did, it would most likely be Reese’s Pieces. Anyone who has seen E.T before knows that it was his favorite food. The peanut butter treat only showed up practically every other scene, enough to make the sales of Reese’s Pieces shoot up 65% in the weeks following the movie release in 1982.

While the Reese’s Pieces product placement was a little too conspicuous, it seemed to have the desired effect on consumers anyways. There were, however, plenty subtle placements in the movie, like Heinz, Coca-Cola, Skippy, Chevrolet, and Audi, just to name a few!

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even in the sports

Love watching sports?

If you’ve ever followed a game or match before, surely you’ve realized that the athletes are usually decked out in one brand. Usually they are sponsored by a certain brand, which means that that brand pays them to wear their clothing. So, if you’re a tennis fan, you probably noticed that each match Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal wear Nike, Djokovic wears Adidas, and Andy Roddick wears Lacoste. Brands sometimes pay millions of dollars to have the athletes sport their goods.

But, you probably already noticed that. And, you probably already noticed that the entire stadium is filled with advertisements. There are ads on the scoreboards, ads on the lining of the stadium, just everywhere. Sometimes their product placement is pretty conspicuous. But, othertimes they make it a little less obvious.

Ever watch a conference with an athlete? Ever pay attention to what’s around them? The background is usually full of advertising, but they also have some more hidden product placement. There’s almost always some sort of drink on the table, especially Evian. I guess they’re thinking that consumers will reason, if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.