TNT Finds 'Truth in Advertising'

by Paul William Tenny

Even though the upfronts are behind us, the networks always keep things moving behind the scenes. Some shows that didn't get picked up at place A will get a second chance at place B, after place B decides some of their own stuff isn't working out. Cable networks have more flexibility than do the broadcast networks because there's less advertising money involved, and more irregular schedules.

Truth in Advertising comes from The Closer vets Hunt Baldwin and John Covney, according to Variety. The show, as the name implies, centers around people working for an advertising agency.

Here's something that caught my eye and made this worth posting: Given the show's marketing themes, net will also seek out product placement, or what it describes as "extensive integrations." What they're talking about are border-line disruptive integration of commercial product endorsement within the show itself. This goes beyond having a pizza delivery box sitting on somebodies apartment coffee table go from plain and brandless to a prominently visible Domino's Pizza.
We're talking about having two people in a sitcom discuss a movie, then having them go see that movie in the show, when that movie is real and about to hit theaters in real life. Changing a glass full of an unidentified soda to a Coke can is whoreish, but it not plainly disruptive to the show. This "extensive integration" is forcing shows to warp their stories around products which should be left to commercial space, otherwise, why do we still have to watch commercials?

And I think that's a good counter point, if we have to suffer through these forced product placements, then give a little ground here and end commercials altogether. I think that's a fair trade, and the alternative isn't something studios and networks want to think about: people turning the channel in disgust.

I for one won't even give Truth in Advertising a shot if I see an significant product integration in the first couple of episodes. We already spend 18 minutes out of the hour watching commercials, I'm not going to spend all 60 watching drama be contorted into paid programming.


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