Sunday, July 10, 2011

New (Old) Product Placement

Ah, the face of Cobie Smulders. Rather than gaze too longingly at this lovely Canadian actress, please direct your attention to that giant red circle and the ad for "Zookeeper" on the back of that magazine in Robin's apartment. No big deal, right? How I Met Your Mother isn't above a bit of product placement, be it subtle or otherwise.

Except, there's just one problem with that Zookeeper ad. The movie is in theatres just this week, and this HIMYM episode was produced in 2007. So, Robin is a time traveller? Nope, it's just digital product placement within reruns of various syndicated shows, sticking ads for new products into old episodes.

Some might find this to be frightening, since nobody wants to have their enjoyment of a Three's Company rerun interrupted by the incongruity of Mr. Furley driving a Mazda 3. But, I see this kind of technology as a chance to correct the most dated episode in the history of television --- that 'Friends' ep where they're all fired up about attending a Hootie & The Blowfish concert for Ross' birthday. Some might see that episode as a perfect time capsule of just how fired-up white yuppies were about H&TB back in the mid-90's, but even by the time that episode aired, the band was already on the way out.* And certainly, the 'Friends' producers can't have their trendy stars appear behind in the times, not when Jennifer Aniston still has movies to promote, Courteney Cox is still on network TV and the others...uh, well, they also still exist.

My premise: every mention of 'Hootie' and 'Blowfish' are replaced by the names of whatever is the trendiest musical act of the moment. So, suddenly, Ross would be all fired up about seeing, for instance, Lil' Wayne. To help with this product placement, the words "LIL WAYNE TICKETS" would be digitally inserted onto the tickets that Ross is presented with at this birthday party. Then, when they're actually at the show, Weezy's face can be helpfully inserted onto the t-shirts of the (almost completely white) rest of the audience. The editing will be, in a word, seamless.

* = Full disclosure, I own a Hootie greatest hits album and generally find it awesome. Sigh.

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