P is for Product Placement
I wanted to take a moment to apologize to everyone who’s left comments over the past several days. My wife started her chemo treatments this week and between the hour-long drives back and forth to the hospital and everything else, I’ve been really taxed. I know you guys understand, but that doesn't ease my guilty conscience. I’m managing to keep up with my A-Z posts (okay…maybe not J), but its eating me up not being able to respond to your comments and get around to your blogs. Your patience with me is a blessing…and not taken lightly. Thank you!!
This has been around for years in both movies and television, but recently it seems to have reached whole new level. I’m not saying I totally blame them, with production costs climbing so high that pretty much anywhere a set dresser can smack a well-known products logo to offset that cost with advertising dollars, why not. I guess my issue is when the products appearance becomes obtrusive, stopping just short of having Vanna White walk across the screen and use her lovely hands to point out the key features.
What does this mean to the publishing industry? When will product placement find its way into the New York Times Best Selling list? Would it surprise you to know that it already has? There have been some authors who have been told that strategically placed product mentions woven into their story would make it more appealing to those who might want to turn it into a screenplay. Two young adult novels -- "Cathy's Book: If Found Call (650) 266-8233" and the Mackenize Blue series -- have drawn attention for the product placement between their pages.
Publishers have very little time and even less money to promote new authors trying to make it in already over-populated market, so they are looking for ways to leverage their investment and one way is money from product vendors. Yes, in fictional worlds, people go places and use products. They wash their hair and buy food and drive cars. Why shouldn’t we let your character drink her favorite carbonated beverage and reapply her lipstick? Does it compromise your artistic integrity when a minor element of a story is altered for commercial gain (or increased chance of publication at all)?
In my latest YA novel I made mention of an Xbox because my main character used its on-line chat feature to communicate with a friend while he was grounded from his phone. I could have said PS3 or Wii (because I have both of those as well), but I went with the Microsoft product instead because I use it more. Is that product placement? Should Microsoft cough up some coin because I chose them over Sony? :)
What about you? I’d like to hear your thoughts on the subject.
Did you know I was holding a contest during the A-Z Challenge? You can read all about it HERE.