Addicted to novelty since 2001

Product Placement on the OC

Waxy.org reports on a peculiar and blatant product placement in a recent episode of that Beverly Hills: 90210 for the new century, The OC. If you watch this video clip (AVI), you’ll see one character awkwardly say to another

“I a9.com’d him last night”. A9.com, if you’re wondering, is Amazon’s search engine offering. More from Waxy:

Even though this appeared to be a clear example of paid product placement, A9.com’s CEO denies that it was paid for or that they knew anything about it. This seems very unlikely, especially considering A9’s somewhat-obscure status in the non-geek world, the timing of the episode with recent publicity, and The O.C.’s use of the full domain name instead of simply “A9.” (Has anybody ever used/heard the term “A9.com’d” before?)

There’s no that placement was paid for. In addition to the use of the full ‘a9.com’, a writer would select the far more common ‘googled’ if he’d had a choice.

The CEO’s quote in noteworthy. He says “This placement was not paid for by A9.com or Amazon.com”. That, of course, suggests that it may have been paid for by somebody else.

I’m hardly morally opposed to product placement in soap operas–it’s been happening for years. However, I do think shows (and films and musicians, etc) should be transparent about those placements. I should be able to go to the episode’s credits or the show’s website and determine what companies advertised in each episode. I think this would increase the product’s visibility–appealing to the show’s producers and advertisers–and help the viewers understand what is and is not paid-for content.

On a related note, check out the prominent Apple computer in tomorrow’s Doonesbury.

3 Responses to “Product Placement on the OC”

  1. Mike

    I noticed the same thing and even commented on it to my wife, saying “Wow, I bet Amazon puts some bucks into the show” and didn’t think much more of it.

    It could just be that the show’s writers wanted something other than “googled”, and used “a9.com’ed” because just “a9’ed” would sound funny. Or maybe it was Adrien Brody’s idea.

    and, er… of course soaps have been doing product placement for years. :)

  2. Heather

    Personally, I’m not surprised. Especially considering that The O.C. has regularly shilled itself out for record companies to promote their newest/hottest/recent single-releasing rock bands by including live performances at the Peach Pit, er Bait Shop, almost every week. Bands included: Modest Mouse, The Thrills, The Walkmen, The Killers and Fiona Apple wannabe, Rachael Yamagata. Characters regularly drop names of their favourite bands, and FOX has released three best-selling CD compilations of O.C. music with more on the way.

    Also – the world premiere of the Beastie Boys single “Ch-ch-check it out” wasn’t on a syndicated rock radio show or TRL, but as background music for an O.C. episode, much to the dismay of aging frat boys everywhere.

    Not that I watch the show, or anything.

  3. Melanie

    I know people here at school that say that the major draw of the O.C. is the music placement.

    It’s the way that a lot of us know our own music finds are worth listening to (further proving our impeccable musical taste of course), and also of finding new music in similar genres to download on the old iPod.

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