If you have seen the movie The Truman Show you know that the movie is about a television show that is following a young man’s life. They started with his birth and then broadcast every moment of his life on live TV. Twenty-four hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We won’t delve into the numerous improbabilities of pulling off such a feat, but we will discuss one thing about The Truman Show:
Since the show was a 24/7 live broadcast, they couldn’t cut out for commercial breaks. If they did, people might miss Truman brushing his teeth. In order to combat this dilemma, the producers of the show placed their sponsors’ products in the show. At regular intervals one of the actors pretending to be Truman’s best friend or spouse, would pick up the product with the label out. They would then give a short pitch pretending to recommend it to Truman.
Sure, it seemed random and out of place, but sponsors are paying for their air time.
Shut off the movie and step into the real world. It seems that the “real world” doesn’t think that this cheeseball tactic is that far off the mark. I’ve seen a “reality show” do the very same thing. One minute you’re watching supposedly real people doing real things when BAM! They spend more time on a website delving into its features and going over its details than they do anything else.
Ok. That was random.
Then they did it with cereal. All of sudden we’re watching a small family eating breakfast talking on and on about the cereal. Seriously? We all know it’s an ad. If you’re going to run an ad, run an ad. Taking time out of the show to pretend it’s still the show when it’s an ad is insulting.
There was another show (I can’t remember which one it was) where they actually put the ad in the script. Granted it was just a short plug, but it was still out of place. I’m pretty sure it was some soft drink or energy drink. One character is standing there holding the can in a very unnatural way – you know, by the finger tips so that the label can be read. The next character comes in and asks what they’re up to and the first says, “Just having a (whatever it was)”.
If sponsors wish to pay to put their products into the show, then do so. If it is done, then have the characters use the product naturally. Or have it in a spot where it will be seen but looks like it belongs there. Just don’t put the name of the product into the script.
It’s out of place, unnatural and weird.