For as long as I can remember Hollywood has used product placement in movies and we generally accept it as the price we pay for access to this type of entertainment. Now there appears to be a more disturbing trend with product placement as it has started to creep into network television programs.
Last week on CBS’ CSI:NY episode detective Danny Messer receives a cell phone call while investigating a crime scene. The ringtone was not the standard fare that comes with most phones but Coldplay’s “Talk” from their new album.. Later in the program the tune was used again as background music. That seemed innocent enough until the program ended and appeared instructions on how to purchase the ringtone for $2.49 from wireless carriers and CBS.com.
Is CBS that hard up for money that they need to promote a $2.49 ringtone? Or is it their way of fighting back against what has increasingly become a Tivo nation where commercials can be skipped? Either way the network is treading on dangerous ground with this method of embedding the ad into the storyline. Advertisers are probably salivating at the chance to pitch their products more directly to consumers, ( get your special CSI Starbucks latte) but as an occasional tv watcher it is only one more reason to stop watching tv altogether.