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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Re: This Post Brought to You by [Redacted]™

posted by on July 24 at 11:55 AM

I know, I know. Nobody cares about McDonald’s weaseling their coffee cups onto news anchors’ desks.

Most Slog commentors think it’s just another form of legitimate advertising. Colleagues accuse me of being shrill.

I am, obviously, a prematurely old man.

At least Slog tipper David cares:

Regarding “This Post Brought to You by [Redacted]™”, I read elsewhere that the product-placed coffees are as fake and plastic as the news anchors standing behind them.

That is correct, David. They are scale models that weigh seven pounds each. From the linked article:

But wait, here’s the best part: They’re not real. Fake coffee on the real news, two plastic cups permanently filled with some kind of bogus drink. The anchors aren’t even supposed to acknowledge them, McDonald’s reps explain.

I’ll shut up about it now, and return to my cardigan, cats, and favorite Andy Rooney columns.


RSS icon Comments


i care, i'm with you on this one. i think it's a violation of journalistic ethics, not to mention just plain creepy.

Posted by douglas | July 24, 2008 12:28 PM

Please explain this concept of 'legitimate advertising'.

Posted by w7ngman | July 24, 2008 12:32 PM

I'm with you on this one, old man.

Posted by Andrew | July 24, 2008 12:37 PM

FWIW, I agree. When the news runs ads, they should be identified, not camouflaged. Not acknowledging the cups is much worse than saying "brought to you by McDonalds."

Posted by mattymatt | July 24, 2008 12:44 PM

@2: Advertising that doesn't pretend to be something else. Commercials, billboards, banner ads on Slog, "this program brought to you by Brylcreem," etc.—that's legitimate advertising.

Endorsements by sports heroes and product placement in movies (barely) fall on the legitimate side of the fence—the former explicitly treats people like walking billboards (kind of gross, but honest) and the latter happens in a fictionalized world.

Slipping product endorsements into presumably nonfictional situations (newspaper articles, broadcast news reports, State of the Union addresses) is illegitimate, weasel advertising. It's a difference of kind, not degree.

Posted by Brendan Kiley | July 24, 2008 1:02 PM

I'm with you on this one, BK.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | July 24, 2008 1:04 PM

Can you imagine said "news" stations doing a report on the health issues surrounding fast food?

Not nearly as bad as Video News Releases.
Check out this 2006 report

Posted by Bald Face Lie | July 24, 2008 1:05 PM

I was with you in the previous thread, but then technically I too probably qualify as "prematurely old" by the standards of most SLOGers.

And presumably, each McWhatever had to be made from heavy plastic, in order to prevent the anchors from "accidentally" knocking them off the table, and in order to keep the "product" looking "fresh" under hot studio lights for several hours.

Not surprising in the least, given that most products you see advertised are doctored up to make them look much better than they actually do after you remove them from their packaging.

Posted by COMTE | July 24, 2008 1:07 PM

The only way I could see being swayed by this type of thing (who's gonna drink a look-at-it-on-purpose Dennis Bounds latte?) is if, say, Ciscoe dug up a McMocha by accident while he was getting after some shallots.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | July 24, 2008 1:13 PM

Local newsbabe Angela King has a sideline vocation crafting lifelike replicas of edibles - especially frozen desserts - in wax.

They are realistic enough you'd want to dig in ... even knowing they're not real.

Same way viewers respond to mainstream corporate news.

The circle is closing.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | July 24, 2008 1:20 PM

Yeah I'm going to agree with 4... this makes it seem like the news anchors endorse the product, in which case someone should be paying them, not the network.

Hasn't anyone seen Idiocracy? And doesn't this kind of thing seem an awful lot like a slippery slope to-- well-- "family dinner, brought to you by Pepsi", "Math Class-- proudly sponsored by Hershey’s".

Posted by SDizzle | July 24, 2008 1:33 PM

I'm with you, but I'm a crusty old curmudgeon too. Wanna come over and reminisce about the old days while complaining about our ailments?

Posted by flamingbanjo | July 24, 2008 1:36 PM

Why is everyone so into Idiocracy lately? That was a terrible, terrible movie.

Posted by w7ngman | July 24, 2008 1:55 PM

I don't disagree with you in principle, but you do know the entire purpose of television, from the networks' perspective, is to beam advertisements into your home, where you watch them voluntarily, right? Like, 20 minutes of them per hour, interspersed with 40 minutes of filler/bait (aka "programming")? They DON'T CARE about any purported obligation to contribute to your informed citizenship.

Getting in an ethical huff about product placement on network TV news is like saying rape is unsanitary -- yes, but that's the least of its problems.

Posted by David | July 24, 2008 2:09 PM

I just saw this old old movie where Andy Rooney was this young teen - and he was shilling for commercial product placements even in that.

Same old guy - same old style.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 24, 2008 2:11 PM

Advertising in the newsroom. Despicable. It's almost as much of an outrage as the AP not acknowledging the Oxford Comma. Maybe it's in the newest edition...

Posted by Ryan | July 24, 2008 2:14 PM


Are you perhaps confusing Andy Rooney the newsman, with Mickey Rooney the actor, who played the role of Andy Hardy in a series of movies in the 1930's and 1940's?

Posted by COMTE | July 24, 2008 2:22 PM

back off cardigan sweaters, jack.

Posted by max solomon | July 24, 2008 2:34 PM

Sadly, I own four cardigans and actually wear them around the house.

Posted by Brendan Kiley | July 24, 2008 2:57 PM

I would like to have one of the McReplicas. It appeals to me in both the realms of kitch and odd poeticism. Someone, please steal it for me.

Posted by tabletop_joe | July 24, 2008 3:01 PM

Brendan @19, I was about to chime in with support, but now I can't admit to identifying with you in any way whatsoever.

Posted by lostboy | July 24, 2008 3:01 PM
Posted by defman23 | July 24, 2008 3:45 PM

"I am, obviously, a prematurely old man."

As previously noted, an old man would know enough about the history of TV news to realize that overt product endorsement is nothing new.

Posted by Furcifer | July 24, 2008 3:46 PM

Realllly @ 23, care to cite some examples of "overt product endorsement" in TV news broadcasts? Not commercials shown in the regular advertising slots on news broadcasts, but actual products purposefully shilled DURING news broadcasts?

Posted by COMTE | July 24, 2008 4:34 PM

@17 - what, they're about the same age, and quite frankly they used to look pretty much the same.

Sorry, there's a difference?

My point being back then product placements were overt, so who the FF gives a carp if they do this?

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 24, 2008 4:56 PM

A few years ago I watched a season finale of Survivor, followed immediately by the evening news on the local CBS affiliate -- which reported the result of Survivor as one of the top news stories of the day.

I didn't flip through the news on the local ABC and NBC affiliates to see if they deemed events on a CBS show to be equally newsworthy, but I doubt it.

Posted by David | July 24, 2008 4:56 PM

I don't miss watching TV, actually. I think I miss cigarettes more than I miss TV.

Posted by Sara | July 24, 2008 10:03 PM

TV "news" programs suck so much that none of us are really shocked by this, Brendan. Is it detestable? I guess it could be, if you had previously found some kind of redeeming value in the programming. Otherwise, it's just more of the same old shit.

Posted by Greg | July 25, 2008 9:37 AM

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