Friday, March 10, 2006

Product Placement in Books ??

So after reading the wonderful Carl Hiaasen books Skin Tight, and Stormy Weather, I am slogging through The 5th Horseman by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro.

I don’t expect greatness out of James Patterson but I do expect a good time. This book is like a lovely TV movie: not too much brain power required and a fun diversion. I recommend this book for only that reason.

Yet one thing just goes screeeeeeee like fingernails on a cheese grater for me: product placement. The main character refers to her cellular phone repeatedly and exclusively as her 'Nextel.'

Okey dokey. Let's review:

1. Nextel is not a brand of phone. Nextel used to be a wireless communications company and now it is part of Sprint. They were the first (and maybe only, I don’t frankly care) company to integrate digital cellular phone service, two way radio, and text/voice paging. In this and only in this way there is such a thing as a "Nextel" phone.

2. The actual Nextel phones are made by our friends at Motorola and Blackberry.

So why use the term Nextel without even mentioning that it's a freaking cellphone?

I can think of many reasons why not:

1. Twenty years from now there might not be a Nextel. Shoot, it's already part of Sprint so in twenty minutes there might not be a Nextel.

2. It automatically dates your book. Why refer to a specific brand name?

And the reason why:

Someone is getting paid to endorse this product in a book by a Best Selling Author.

Will I someday read my kids the story of the eternal war between arachnid and child only to have them see a picture of the lovely Ms. Muffet eating from a tub of Lucerne Cottage Cheese?

Will the baby bear have a bed that is "just right" because it's a Sealy Posturepedic?

Does this really happen?

Tell me a story.

Oh and go get a Carl Hiaasen book, you'll be glad you did.


Jas said...

I just spewed Häagen-Dazs ice cream out my nose.

Eric said...

mission accomplished!

John Cowart said...

Carl Hiaasen books always entertain me but also make me grive over a Florida that's vanishing...

How do you get in on theis product placement scam? You mean some company would actually pay me cash money for mentioning Enron in my books?

If so, my next book title will be; Driving Miss Daisy In Her Toyota As She Wears Avon Skinsosoft Perfume, A Liz Clayborne Dress and A Necklass From Underwood's Jewelry To Publix To Shop For (this space for sale).

Sounds Like a best seller to me.

Jas said...

Now, I think John is really on to something!

I laughed so much, I think I hurt myself.

Tara's World said...

I love Hiaasen, have you ever read Christopher Moore? Island of the Sequined Love Nun is great , so is Bloodsucking Fiends.

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