Sunday, September 19, 2010

Product Placement

Product placement, the effort by advertisers to get their products included in a movie or TV show as a sort of embedded commercial, has been going on for decades. Sometimes it's subtle, as when James Bond just happened to drive an Aston Martin in "Goldfinger." Other times, it's blatant, as in the first season of Heroes when Claire threw a screaming fit of joy over getting to drive a Nissan Rogue, while Hiro insisted that the clerk at the car rental place give him a Nissan Versa and only a Nissan Versa.

The world of animation has been generally different. Sometimes the shows themselves are nothing more than 30-minute commercials for a given toy line, but you generally don't see American-style product placement in animated shows. But while waiting for the fall season to start, I've been watching more anime lately on Hulu (Baccano! is a sweet little show, BTW, although skipping around between three separate timelines can make it seriously hard to follow at times), but while watching a show titled Darker Than Black, I was struck by this.

You see the Pizza Hut box between them? I know that the logo is illegible in this shot--which is what movie and TV productions often do to give the flavor of a real-world product while not using the actual label--but it struck me that in an earlier shot on a train, the logo had been perfectly legible. And that wouldn't have been a big deal, except that in the next episode, it happened again.

And again, this time with an added "Look!".

And so on for several episodes in a row.

It's pretty obvious that the makers of the series made a deal with Pizza Hut for some product placement, which I just don't remember ever happening in an anime series before. Is this a first or can someone help me out?

Corinne Bohrer wants to know.

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