Friday, November 17, 2006

Tattoo 'Pepsi' on my behind.

I think sitting through movie theater commercials is a situation where everyone is absolutely outraged, but no one does anything about it.

Why pay to see a commercial? It's silly. But no one exactly gets up out of the theater in protest.

I've noticed a similar trend with product placements in movies and TV. From what I've read, everyone is shrugging it off - "Well, it'll cut down on the cost of production" - when really the integrity of art and culture is suffering.

Last night's episode of "The Office" had a glaring example, where one of the characters uses a new shredding machine - with a "Staples" label clearly slapped on the front - and brags about its ability to shred CDs and credit cards (and lettuce for a salad). The commercial that came right after the scene was, of course, one for Staple's new, sleek shredder.


Later, I caught a bit of "30 Rock" where the writing crew is drinking Snapple, making fun of product placements in TV shows, but then cut to - you guessed it - a Snapple ad.

The worst for me, however, was during the "Talledegha Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" dinner scene, where they all gorge on Pizza Hut, Pepsi, and Doritos, and then praise them to tiny, infant baby Jesus. It was a giant commercial for Pepsi - even worse than the stock cars that carry the logos on the hood.

Carrying a sponsor's logo on a vehicle - or a badge, or a uniform, or whatever - somehow doesn't upset me. No big deal. But these placements in movies, where it's so obvious not even Wayne and Garth ("Little, yellow, different") can satirize them enough.

Do we just throw up our hands and say, "oh well?"

I guess one recourse is to boycott the shows and movies that do this kind of thing. Except now just about everyone is doing it. And that would mean, in the case of "The Office" especially, that we'd be giving up great art for ideals that won't survive in a market-driven economy (and hey, Pam makes it all kind of worth it).

Even video games are getting into the act. I noticed it while swinging through New York in "Spider-Man 2," but the game developers didn't give Spidey the ability to take a crap on a billboard. Dang.

Maybe I'll keep a count going, and whoever annoys me the most - that's the show I'll stop watching.

But soon I'll run out of things to watch, and I'll have only books as a getaway plan.

Unless Pepsi pays for a billboard in the next Neil Gaiman novel...

No comments: