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Product placement in productions, a "sell out" or pure genius?

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Product placement isn't a new phenomenon. In the 1800s, Jules Verne sold the naming rights to shipping companies in Around the World in 80 Days. And in the early days of film, Thomas Edison put ads for his own products in his movies. Television at its infancy had product names above the title of shows such as The Texaco Star Theater, The Colgate Comedy Hour, and Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre. And let's not forget that the beloved soap operas were created by companies for the sole purpose of selling soap.

Now Morgan Spurlock has come out with his latest documentary skewering the way product placements and blatant commercials have become the norm in productions nowadays. His new film POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is entertaining, but after seeing it, you will probably never look at another movie or television show the same way again. You will notice all the advertisements going on, even the most subtle ones.

Not only does Spurlock examine the co-promotions and partnerships the entertainment industry have forged with brands, he also had his entire movie paid for by product placements and ads in his production. That's pure genius, only if you don't consider him a "sell out."

 There was a recent episode of Fringe, and an intense scene where the special agent had to call for help. I couldn't help but notice that she was calling from a Sprint phone. And there was an escape in a Ford car.  Damn you, Spurlock.

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Guest Friday, 03 July 2015