Which TV Shows Were The Biggest Product Placement Offenders In 2011?

Watching TV has turned into a game of “spot the product placement,” one that isn’t really a game because it’s all too easy to notice when your favorite characters are suddenly touting the video camera capabilities on their cell phones. So who had the most instances of product placement in 2011?

Nielsen has come out with a list of the programs with the top 10 network offenders, and it’s no surprise that reality TV dominates. Anyone who watches reality TV has witnessed the host thanking this or that sponsor for the car driving contestants around or the workout equipment helping people lose weight. That being said, seeing the sheer number of times those shows had some sort of product placement is pretty astounding.

Here are the Top 10 primetime programs with product placement activity, in all their glory, with the number of occurrences.

1. American Idol (Fox): 577
2.The Biggest Loser (NBC): 533
3. The Celebrity Apprentice (NBC): 391
4. Dancing with the Stars (ABC): 390
5. The X Factor (FOX): 312
6. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC): 224
7. America’s Got Talent (NBC): 220
8. Friday Night Lights (NBC): 201
9. America’s Next Top Model (CW): 178
10. The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business (CBS): 161

Check out Nielsen for more of their top trends in advertising in 2011.

Nielsen’s Tops of 2011: Advertising [Nielsen]


Edit Your Comment

  1. TuxthePenguin says:

    Honestly, I’d rather have product placement than commercials…

  2. umbriago says:

    Product placement works. I watched Breaking Bad this year and I spend a lot of money on meth now.

  3. BrightShopperGettingBrighter says:

    I immediately thought “Project Runway” but alas, network TV. Biggest Loser and Idol are over the top with product placement.

  4. HoJu says:

    Including reality tv is pointless. It’s like holding the Wall St Journal to the same standard as The Enquirer.

    I’d rather see a list of shows that aren’t guilty-Pleasure mindless entertainment.

    • Murph1908 says:


      The Closer is a great show, but they have gone stupid with product placements this season. The Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cups wasn’t too bad. The Twizzlers was stupid and obvious.

      Hawaii 5-0 frames the Chevys frequently. That’s not so bad. Heroes gave Claire the car, touted it’s features in the dialog, and then promptly had it stolen in the same episode, That was annoying.

      Dexter drives a Ford Escape. In a premier or finale (can’t remember) he was in an accident and rolled his SUV. Funny thing is, in that episode, it wasn’t an Escape.

      • cparkin says:

        I was just watching season 1 of Heroes the other day. The Nissan Versa product placement was quite obvious also. The Japanese guys said “Nissan Versa” in almost every episode and the one where there’s a shootout next to the car they point out that there isn’t a scratch on it afterwards.

    • Mr. Bill says:

      You haven’t read The Wall St Journal since Murdoch bough it.

    • AliceAitch says:

      I’d also rather see this organized by things that are actually product placement that falls outside of what’s expected as part of daily life within the series. I’m guessing the reason Friday Night Lights is on there is because of the UnderArmour clothing, which is perfectly reasonable for athletes to wear, and because one of the characters works at (was it Chili’s or Applebees?). I never felt that it was product placement in the same sense as that awful Ford ad in an episode of House this season.

      • Plasmafox says:

        Just because it’s reasonable for a character to be using or wearing it doesn’t make it not irritating when the camera zooms in on a logo(especially cars) or un-necessarily shows their phone’s screen(usually doing ]something faster than ANY phone can actually do it)

  5. mauispiderweb says:

    All reality shows, but one. Yep, tv is getting better and better!

  6. Costner says:

    So really what this tells us is that reality TV shows are nothing more than 30 or 60 minute commericials. Maybe this is why the only “reality” TV I ever watch is This Old House on PBS – and they go out of their way to prevent any type of product placement… even blurring out company names or using colored duct tape to cover up brand names.

    • Virga says:

      Not for long. PBS is already the worst, in my opinion, for regular commercials. The recent iPad versions of Nova were so obnoxious that I now refuse to donate to my local station*.

      *Disclaimer: I’ve never donated to PBS

    • Rachacha says:

      I think the only product placement I have seen has been with some of their sponsers “We are here with Fred from Owens-Corning who is going to tell us about an innovative foundation system” type of things. I have no problem with that as the placement that they show is relevent to the show content. When they start having dialogue like “Hey Norm, why don’t you hop in my New Ford F-150 with the super powerful Duramax Engine and we can go speak with the city planning commission” that is when I will get annoyed.

    • nugatory says:

      “blurring out company names or using colored duct tape to cover up brand names”

      This really drives me nuts. When something like that is on the screen my eyes automatically focus on that point.

      • pythonspam says:

        This is why I loved Good Eats – they had an entire group dedicated to “Greeking” products. Brand names and store brand names are covered with fake names etc. The container may still be recognizable by shape or other graphics, but they are definitely avoiding any appearance of endorsement via use.

    • thomwithanh says:

      That’s a legal requirement because they’re public television

  7. sjgarg says:

    So reality shows not only save money by not needing pesky stuff like writers, scripts, actors, sets, extras, etc. but they also generate huge extra advertizing revenue by product placement?

    No wonder scripted programs are being phased out for more and more reality crap. It’s a winning model.

    Thank goodness I haven’t watched TV nor paid a cable company in about 1.5 years.

    • VintageLydia says:

      I love how you think reality TV is neither scripted nor that the recurring participants are paid. Even on shows like House Hunters the house is often chosen long before the producer contacted the real estate agent/Realtor.

      • Costner says:

        I was going to say the same thing. Half of the “reality” shows you see on television are scripted and heavily influenced to produce a specific reaction. They are even known to shoot scenes more than once to “get it right”.

        How is that reality?

        Oh yea and I know a realtor who was on one of those shows – in fact I think it was house hunters. The producers contacted her and told her to find a camera-friendly couple to use for the episodes. She was able to pick the client, but they were already working with her and already knew which house they wanted (although the deal wasn’t finalized). So yea it is pretty much all for show – it isn’t like those people just look at three houses and then pick one of the three. They probably looked at 30 other houses prior but they weren’t shown.

        • sjgarg says:

          Like I said to VintageLydia, you’re confusing the term scripted with staged.
          One has a writer who plans a well though out narrative, while the other has a producer come up with stuff on the fly and exploiting information form participants to frame small differences as huge conflicts.

          Your realer wasn’t handed a piece of paper with lines and dialogue and actions planned out, rather she was handed instructions on what to do to stage a show.

          I was approached by a reality show producer last month when my YouTube video of my horse muzzle prosthetic mask went viral and was used on G4’s Attack of the Show and Fox’s Red Eye. She was just probing and prodding for information about myself, my partner, our business, etc. She was doing anything possible to turn a mundane job into some mindless entertainment. I declined.

      • sjgarg says:

        I think you’re mistaken, you seem to have confused the term scripted with staged.
        Reality shows have producers meddling behind the scenes to create conflicts or stage shots and stage scenes. They may have a few things written down, like a general outline, but alot of it is improvised and whipped out as the producers see fit, exploiting any informaiton they collect from participants.

        There’s a big difference between a well thought out story vs. something that is created and made up as they go along.

        Ever seen a reality show based on your job/industry?
        It’s irritating and downright impossible for me to stand watching SyFy’s Face Off, because of how the producers meddle with the artists to create conflicts out of nothing in order to turn an everyday profession into some sort of entertainment machine. There’s no script there, just coaching of the producers to tell the participants what to do and those who play along with the demands tend to continue onto further episodes and not be dropped/cut.

    • buzz86us says:

      agreed British TV via netflix is way better between Merlin/Doctor Who/Being Human cable can suck it.

  8. Carrie317 says:

    Top Chef does a lot of product placement.

    • bendee says:

      You can barely notice it on Top Chef; the producers build it right into the plot. For example, the Kraft BBQ Sauce challenge requires cheftestants to get into their Toyota Highlander Hybrids to go shop at Whole Foods before returning to the Hilton Kitchen fitted with GE Monogram appliances and Calphalon utensils to prep with so they can win an appearance in Food and Wine Magazine and $100,000, furnished by the Glad family of products.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        On the other hand, Food Network shows rarely display products – they use those fake packages and covered-up labels. I figured FN does this out of spite because the product potential-sponsors refuse to pay Food Network tribute.

    • soj4life says:

      Yeah, the more annoying thing is when they keep naming the cars they are leaving in. No one says that they are going to work in their 2011 toyota highlander or 2000 ford focus.

  9. ganzhimself says:

    The Walking Dead should be right up there… Shameless whoring of Hyundai and Gerber Knives all up in your face. Ugh.

    • George4478 says:

      Hmmm. I haven’t seen the last 2 episodes of Season 2, but they found the Gerber knife set in one episode, used it again in the next, and haven’t shown it since. 2 episodes in 2 seasons (maybe 4 episodes if they make another appearance in the season 2 finale shows) isn’t really ‘all up in your face’, is it?

      If it is, then you must find EVERY TV show is all up in your face with something.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      Speaking on Hyundai, where is Pomplamoose this year? I like Nataly’s singing.

  10. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Chuck, but they did it in a very clever and hilarious way. Might have gone a little, overboard though.

  11. clippy2.0 says:

    How was celebratory apprentice not number one? the show is literally about advertising!

    • RandomHookup says:

      Not as many episodes? Doesn’t AI have multiple episodes per week?

      • Rachacha says:

        American Idol and Biggest Looser have multiple episodes per week which is why their numbers are nearly double that of Celebrity Apprentice.

        • kokathy says:

          plus they have commercials within the show. “hey it’s bob here and i got everyone together to tell them the wonders of this sugarless gum”.

          • failurate says:

            And the Biggest Loser is frequently 2 hours long. I find it ironic, a show that on the surface is designed to motivate people to get up off the couch and work out is 2 freakin hours long.

            • Rachacha says:

              We tend to eat dinner late at our house, so we will often have the TV on in the background as we are preparing and eating dinner. I always feel guilty about eating my dinner while the Biggest Loser is on.

    • psm321 says:

      Or Undercover Boss

  12. Quirk Sugarplum says:

    I feel just horrible because I watch none of these shows. I’m not getting my fair share of consumer abuse, dammit! I demand Congress take action!

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I think I may have seen a segment of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, as for the rest, nada. I have also missed my fair share of abuse!

  13. MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

    Some of my favorite shows are on USA, but I’ve been getting sick of the clumsy product placement that someone thinks is smoooooth that they’ve been sprinkling into their shows for the last season or so. (White Collar, I’m definitely looking at you and your characters that love to yammer about the features of their cars.)

    • larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

      I just watched the “fall finale” of Psych last night (via Tivo) and you couldn’t miss the Capital One product placement.

      • fatediesel says:

        It seems like all the USA shows have their car product placement that pretty much become in-show advertisements. White Collar advertises the Ford Taurus, White Collar the Toyota Sienna, Necessary Roughness the Lincoln MKX, and Burn Notice the Hyundai Genesis.

        • ahecht says:

          Don’t forget Royal Pains and the Prius (the self-park, solar far, and bluetooth features have had several mini-infomercials in recent episodes).

        • Eyeheartpie says:

          White Collar doesn’t advertise the Taurus, they advertise the Ford Fusion.

      • SteveZim1017 says:

        Psych has been pretty humorously using Autotrader.com all the time too. though it all seems very tongue in cheek. My wife and I have been playing find the autotrader logo in addition to find the pineapple in the past few episodes

    • frugalmom says:

      SyFy is pretty bad about this too. Eureka does the car mini-commercials, and everyone seemed to be eating Twizzlers rather prominently for awhile.

    • Eyeheartpie says:

      I know exactly what you mean. What really annoys me is that lingering second they focus on the steering wheel as one character activates Sync, and the focus on the Ford emblem.

  14. RandomHookup says:

    Friday Night Lights is the only non-reality show on the list. I never watched it — how did they generate so many product placements?

    • fatediesel says:

      Under Armour provided the apparel for the coaches and the jerseys for the players. Some of the characters worked at Applebee’s and the characters often ate there. In the earlier seasons one of the characters owned a Chevy dealership and their vehicles were prominently featured.

      Regardless, I don’t have a problem with Friday Night Light being on the list because it was almost canceled after seasons 2 and 3 and needed additional revenue streams to stay on the air, and product placement and the DirecTV deal kept it on the air for 5 seasons. The product placement also wasn’t too blatant and worked fairly organically.

      • magnetic says:

        I thought the Applebee’s thing was great in FNL. Red Dillon isn’t full of snobs who can’t handle chain restaurants.

    • jono_0101 says:

      i only watched the first few seasons, so i cant vouch for the later seasons, but one of the big boosters for the high school owned a chevy dealership i think, and a few of the kids worked there for one period of time or another, i specificall remember an episode when one of the former players was selling cars there, and there were several scenes showing him letting customers know all about all the features and how great chevy was,also, possible on field ads and billboards inserted during the football game scenes

    • Murph1908 says:

      Even though FNL was on this list, their type of product placement didn’t bother me at all. It wasn’t forced.

      They went to Applebees, but it wasn’t jammed into the dialog. It felt natural. I think they mentioned Under Armor when they donated the uniforms, but again, natural.

      It’s when The Closer has Buzz filming his sister at a Christmas village, and she eats a Twizzler in an awkward and abnormal manor to get the package on the screen in front of your face that bugs me.

      I mean come on! Brenda has a drawer full of sugar in her desk. You couldn’t simply have her grab a package out of there more naturally? A quick flash of the red package when she takes it from the drawer, followed by her eating one shortly after would have been just as effective, and wouldn’t have annoyed people with your product.

      (That last sentence was difficult to write without making it sound dirty)

  15. Taliskan says:

    Psych has been pretty bad this season about product placement. It kind of ruins the show a bit because it’s rather blatant, to me at least. A friend of mine noticed it this season as well but she is hardly bothered by it.

  16. Outrun1986 says:

    You kind of have to have product placement in TV shows and video games, it would look really stupid if a character is drinking a generic can of soda or if they are using some cell phone without a brand name that is obviously the real thing with the logo removed or covered. It would also look stupid if you were playing a Nascar video game and the cars had no logos on them. Product placement is much better than super loud commercials that contribute to the wear and tear of volume buttons on my remote control. Since I have to change the volume every time commercials come on so I can bear it, or press the mute button, it makes my remote wear out faster. If everything was the same volume I wouldn’t have to change the volume and then change it back every 10-15 min.

    • RandomHookup says:

      True, but there’s a difference between someone drinking a Diet Coke in a show and an actor telling you all about why they like drinking Diet Coke.

      • Lisse24 says:

        I wouldn’t mind product placement if it was all natural and like “Oh, the character’s phone just happens to be Nokia. Cool,” but instead, it’s “Let me stop this important bit of scene to tell you all the benefits of Nokia phones.”
        Like I have no way of researching that on my own.

    • ophmarketing says:

      “…it would look really stupid if a character is drinking a generic can of soda…”

      You obviously haven’t seen many TV shows from before around 1990, because that’s exactly how it was done.

      • SteveZim1017 says:

        I like the 1st 2 seasons of “the Big Bang Theory” where they would have fake cans of soda that look just like the real ones but say Dr Peeper and 7-un, or Biji instead of Fiji

  17. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    i’d like to see a list for just fiction shows. it’s probably easier to work product placement into reality shows but watching it in fiction it’s sometimes so contrived that it messes with the plot. it can be really clear when a scene was written in for the express purpose of showing the automatic parallel parking ability of the character’s SUV.

  18. mk says:

    Modern Family has been pretty bad the last few episodes. One episode wall all about a car (ford I think) and at one point it actually looked like a car commercial instead of a sitcom.

    • Misha says:

      The iPad episode was the worst for that.

      • HoJu says:

        Definitely the iPad episode. Normally I’m unaware of product placement but that one (and how the FORD emblem drives right up to the camera in Fringe) are incredibly obvious.

        • fatediesel says:

          The thing is Apple doesn’t pay for product placement, it was completely the producers decision to want Phil to have the hot new tech toy and they wanted to use a real product rather than a made-up product. Apple’s only role in product placement is giving the products to the shows.

          They are kind of the opposite of Microsoft, which pays dearly for characters to use the phrase “Bing it” when they search for things or put the Microsoft logo on computers even though Microsoft doesn’t make computer.

          • dantrb says:

            The iPad infomercial in Moderm Family was too much. ABC, Apple, and the producers said there was no money exchanged, but how did they get an iPad before anyone else, and what a big coincidence that it was just days before launch. Also, the Apple logo is hidden in the rest of the episodes and no that one?! Heck, Jay uses a Kindle but he’s not allow to call it by its name.

    • Marlin says:

      I remember that. It was not even sly either. 1 Shot had the Ford logo in the picture while cropping the actors out almost.

  19. NashuaConsumerist says:

    I feel like this should have a ‘badvertising’ tag…

  20. sirwired says:

    This list is a joke. When it’s on “Reality TV” and not the least bit subtle, why does it even count? We might as well add Price is Right to the list; the whole show is nothing BUT product placements! (okay it isn’t primetime…)

    The only scripted show in that list is Friday Night Lights…

  21. JoeDawson says:

    Product placement is fine in Scripted shows. I’d rather see a “Coke” can on someones desk than “Cola” it makes it seem more like reality.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      I’d rather see subtly altered products, e.g. Joke Cola, Lissan Oltima, Pillar Right Beer.

      • thomwithanh says:

        Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino hawk fake brands in their movies (e.g. Nails Cigarettes in Clerks) as a statement about product placements… love it

    • thomwithanh says:

      It depends, if it’s just a can of Coke or a McCafe coffee cup on somebody’s desk, I’m fine with that – if the show or movie is scripted around the product placements on the other hand (“Yong Adult”, I’m looking at you) that’s not cool.

  22. SamEBates says:

    Last season of Bones had some product placement and it was extremely clumsy. A lot of Prius shots and scenes opening with the camera focused on the Toyota logo… Also, there was a scene for Windows phone where we had to watch Bones text someone, in glorious detail. I haven’t noticed it as much this season.

    • alliebeth says:

      Yeah, I noticed that too. Also some serious Windows 7 pimping with the big touch screen monitors they keep using in like EVERY episode. Still, the humor and wit is spot on this season, and I really do love the show, so I let it slide. If doing these things means Bones can continue to be on the air, then I’m okay with that. At least they don’t name drop (much).

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      Yeah, the scene with Angela in the car, parallel parking was it? That was just cringe-inducing. I haven’t bothered with the current season, and the heavy-handed in-show ads were a small part of that decision.

  23. alexwade says:

    What about the Simpsons! I’ve seen many placements for Duff Beer, Buzz Cola, and a long time ago one for Fudd Beer. Homer often tells us about how much he loves his Duff. The Simpsons is full of product placements.

    • nuggetboy says:

      Can’t get enough of that wonderful Duff!

    • G00MAN says:

      Duff beer for me.
      Duff beer for you.
      I’ll have a Duff.
      You have one too.
      Duff beer for me.
      Duff beer for you.
      I’ll have a Duff.
      You have one too.
      Duff beer for me.
      Duff beer for you.
      I’ll have a Duff.
      You have one too.
      Duff beer for me.
      Duff beer for you.
      I’ll have a Duff.
      You have one too.

  24. SerenityDan says:

    It doesn’t bother me in shows like American Idol but in the last 2 years Bones just has characters suddenly saying how awesome their new phone/car/microsoft program is. It’s starting to feel like the rest of the show is getting in the way of how much these people just want to talk about how awesome all these products are.

    • alSeen says:

      Not to mention the entire episode about Avatar.

      And Angela’s commercial about how her minivan is good for more than just hauling kids. It lets her move around her art supplies.

      And them talking about the lane assist or backup camera.

      Bones is horrible about product placement. They don’t do it well.

      One of the best I saw was on Running Wilde when Steven gives Emmy a car (a Volt). It spotlighted the silent running, plugging it in, that running out of gas isn’t a show stopper (still have the electric). All seamlessly and as part of the story that made sense (emmy was an environmentalist).

  25. alSeen says:

    there should be a separate list for reality tv vs scripted.

    As much as I love the show, Bones is horrible about product placement lampshading.

  26. Cicadymn says:

    Coincidentally this also doubles as a list for the “worst shows on television”.

  27. Quixiotic... Yea it's a typo (╯°□°)╯彡┻━┻ says:

    Does anyone watch House this season? Every episode they’re hocking their wares like “Do you like my new Ford Escape? It knows when I turn too fast and automatically slows down.”

    I’m not surprised by reality tv, I’d be more impressed with a list of non-reality shows and their product placement

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      I agree, it was painfully obvious in that House episode. What were they thinking? : /

  28. Jimmy60 says:

    None of those shows have anything on the regular NASCAR races.

  29. framitz says:

    I never watch any of the shows listed.
    Which one is NOT a so called reality show?

  30. Mighty914 says:

    I don’t mind product placement, as long as it’s just that: placement. There’s a big difference between someone happening to drink a Coke, and someone drinking a Coke and telling the viewer how good and refreshing it is.

    I actually find it distracting sometimes when shows go out of their way to make up generic sounding products, like Poke or Cepsi.

  31. CrankyOwl says:

    I just finished watching season 1 of The Vampire Diaries – there was a scene where the characters wanted to search for something online & someone said “let’s Bing it”. I bet that’s a phrase that has never, ever been uttered IRL.

  32. WildGibberish says:

    Product placement is how it all started. If you look back at old, really old, tv shows you would often see the actor in the show or the host stepping aside and talking about this or that product. The beauty of it for regular consumers is that networks can even pull up DVR and online streaming numbers when they sell advertising to companies. Currently with standard commercials, they can only point out their viewership the night the episode was shown. DVR, downloads, and streaming count for next to nothing. But with the products placed in the show where you can’t skip, or remove them without cutting the show, it is a win for advertisers. Plus, the product placement stays in there for syndication, DVD Sales, etc. so they can charge a premium. We know they’ve been experimenting with digital product placement too (How I Met Your Mother). Same thing. It seems to make sense to me. The bonus is that if a show is actually good, but the network picks a sorry time to broadcast it, it can still be a hit if enough people DVR, download or stream it since the ads that are paying for it are still getting seen.

  33. Invader Zim says:


  34. SporadicBlah says:

    The only one of those I watched was AGT. Now that Howard Stern is on there I probably wont watch at all.

  35. thomwithanh says:

    Product placements are fine – just ditch the 24 minutes of commercials an hour. At least with product placements, they’re present while I’m watching the show, I change the channel during the ads.

    • Mike Zeidler says:

      Now now, it’s only 17 minutes of ads an hour. though the CBS sitcoms are up to 11 minutes of ads per show.

  36. mbz32190 says:

    “Weeds” has got to be a big offender as well, but it looks like this survey only looked at network TV programs. Nancy with her Prius, always holding a can of Diet Coke, and a few other more subtle ones. Well one thing works…I’m buying way more weed than usual.

  37. Starfury says:

    I just realized that of all the shows listed I don’t watch any of them.

  38. RokMartian says:

    Anyone watch the new Hawaii Five-O? A great show but it is basically a long commercial for Chevy and Microsoft.

  39. dolemite says:

    Man, it’s bad enough every show is now 50% show and 50% commercials, but now the shows are the commercials.

  40. gafpromise says:

    My hubbie and I were watching Burn Notice from USA the other night. Burst out laughing at the completely blatant commercial for Hyundai right in the middle of a car chase. Something about “in a car chase it’s important to have good acceleration and braking power” and then flashing right to the Hyundai logo on the car. They did that in a few episodes too.

    • alilz says:

      I didn’t even notice that as product placement (I think I missed the flash on the logo) I know they went from driving rather plain cars (except for the Charger) to this bright blue Hyundai. I think I’m just used to the voice overs and it didn’t click.

      I’ve seen some clips on youtube of Days of Our Lives with some pretty heavy product placement. Cheerios – some character hugging the box, logo visible, talking about how she needed a good breafast. And another for Chex mix – one character all “you’ve never had Chex Mix! ” and then extolling the virtues.

  41. Rachacha says:

    I was watching an Episode of Dirty Jobs this week, and if it was not product placement, it should have been. The difference was it was hilarious.

    The crew was out in the middle of nowhere, and they were delayed for several hous because of rain. The weather finally cleared, and they were getting out their equipment and planning their shots, when one of the sound technicians locked the keys in the vehicle that was holting all of their batteries and video tapes, so they were further delayed. They show shots of the crew calling the rental car company to make sure they had the damage waiver, and then taking a crowbar to try to pry open the door and grab the keys with a coat hanger. They then cut to one of the crew who is on the phone with an OnStar representative who confirms the car has OnStar activated and they were going to unlock the car remotely. If it was placement, they worked it into the dialogue very well, but if it wasn’t it was a great advertisement for the service.

  42. shthar says:

    Wow, I never watched any of these shows.

    Most of the shows I watch, they’re blurring out the labels.

    My favorite is when they put a sticker over the apple on the back of a mac laptop screen.

  43. tgrwillki says:

    Let’s not forget bones and their Toyota product placement that is all over the place..

  44. Eyeheartpie says:

    So in all that, I saw 1 real TV show. Number 8 is the only non-reality show on the list, and one of only 2 non-competition shows on the list. Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me that reality competition shows use product placement. Why the hell not? It annoys me when my other shows (Eureka, I’m looking at you and the whole Degree deodorant fiasco) use blatant product placement.

  45. Dallas_shopper says:

    I DVR The Biggest Loser and fast-forward through the product placement. It’s blatant, annoying, and takes more credibility from a show that doesn’t have much to begin with.

  46. failurate says:

    The worst I ever saw was when Heros was plugging away for the Nissan Rogue. It was right then that I new that show had jumped the shark.
    Oddly, it seemed even worse than in the first season when words “blue Nissan Versa” were spoken every time the Japanese characters were on screen

  47. sweetgreenthing says:

    Modern Family! Holy crap that show and it’s shilling!

  48. Auron says:

    Yeah, and even when it’s obvious they are at Home Depot, they still refer to it as a home center.

  49. John Gage says:

    Those shows all of have one thing in common; I never watch any of them.

  50. Auron says:

    Yeah, and even when it’s obvious they are at Home Depot, they still refer to it as a home center.

  51. brinks says:

    Remember that episode of The Office where Dwight worked at Staples?

  52. mydailydrunk says:

    I’ve seen product placement integrated into the script of Burn Notice for a car. It was really weird.

  53. Rick Sphinx says:

    “Fringe” does a pretty good job with this.

  54. legotech says:

    Bones drives me nuts, every time they get into their cars they talk about some feature of the car or another like that’s normal conversation and not a commercial in the middle of the show

  55. gman863 says:

    What? No product placement shoutout for Hawaii Five-0 yet?

    * Chevrolet is all over it. I confess that seeing Alex O’Laughlin and Scott Caan driving the Camaro is the first time in my life the world “cool” is at the top of my mind when I think of Chevy.

    * Hawaiian Airlines logo in the opening title segment.

    * Microsoft’s OS platforms on all of the Five-o team’s electronic devices.

    * One episode last year where a biker bar was raided. They must have gathered every Ducati motorcycle on the island for this scene.


    On an unrealated note, it’s interesting how many local news and weather studios leave the backs of their PC monitors (with the huge DELL logo) in full view of the camera.

  56. Shorebreak says:

    Suits me fine. These are probably the top 10 shows I would never watch. Thanks for making my programming choices even easier.

  57. winstonthorne says:

    Where’s Bones? That list is entirely “reality” TV. I don’t really care about product placement in “reality” TV, because there’s no story arc involved. In a drama like Bones or Fringe (which is another frequent offender), the product placement blasts right through the fourth wall and yanks the viewer out of the story.

    P.S. Product placement is not better than commercials.

    P.P.S. It’s not like there’s a *choice* anyway – where there’s one, there’s always the other.

  58. AngryK9 says:

    Funny, how it seems to be the “reality shows”.

    Nothing more than scripted “adventumercials”, imo.

  59. bukkler says:

    December 22, 2011 11:16 AM
    “Honestly, I’d rather have product placement than commercials…”

    I’d rather have product placement than any of these crap “reality” shows.

  60. 132_and_bush says:

    If you want to see how to properly (and hilariously) do product placement, check out the Community episode with the “KFC Eleven Herbs and Space Experience.” If you want to see how to totally overdo product placement, watch any episode of Chuck. It really killed the fun of the show to me when they kept trying to seel me sandwiches and minivans with electric side doors.

  61. Levk says:

    I watch none of these shows listed on the article lol

  62. Plasmafox says:

    The show Psych frequently has car commercials right in the middle of the show.

    I don’t really watch Psych anymore.

  63. Weapon X says:

    I don’t watch any of those shows, but my stepson came home from college for Christmas break and watches a show called The League on streaming Netflix. I noticed the product placement was everywhere in that show. In a time of streaming shows and DVR/PVRs with the ability to skip through commercials, this form of advertising will become the norm. Those shows don‚Äôt pay for themselves.

  64. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    K…well, with the possible exception of Friday Night Lights (which I haven’t seen, but doesn’t seem to be in the same category as the rest of those shows), those are shows I like to think of as “Things that vapid people watch.” So haven’t seen any of them.

    But, I am mildly annoyed every time I’m watching NCIS LA and they show somebody’s laptop…with a Windows logo on the lid where an actual OEM logo would be. Newsflash: Microsoft doesn’t make computers. And there’s not a single laptop in the world that ships with a glowing Windows logo on the lid in lieu of an OEM logo of some kind.

  65. Professor59 says:

    That list is almost all reality shows. It’s far more annoying on a scripted show when one character suddenly says to another, “Boy these Hostess Twinkies sure are great, huh?” “Oh, you betcha. I eat a box a week. I couldn’t possibly live without my delicious Hostess Twinkies.”

    30 Rock does it all the time, tongue-in-cheek, but I bet they still get paid for it.

  66. Professor59 says:

    “24” used to spend an inordinate amount of time focusing the camera on the phone and SUV logos. They often had complete episodes sponsored by Ford, “with limited commercial interruption”. Except that the commercials within the show never stopped.

  67. KMan13 still wants a Pontiac G8 says:

    What about Castle and Hawaii Five-0, with all the Windows and Windows Phone 7 stuff lol

  68. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    I always wonder why some shows have old 50s or 50s vehicles in them. I wonder if there’s some sort of limitation in the law where producers don’t have to pay, say, Chevy for the use of a ’64 Chevy truck in an episode.

    I also think it might be that classic vehicles simply look better on screen than modern vehicles.

    Walking Dead: I did notice the Hyundai placement everywhere, but they’re also using old Jeep and GMC vehicles a lot.

  69. Vandil says:

    Movies, too. MI:4 was a good action film. It was also a huge Apple commercial with iPads, MacBooks, and tons of iPhone 4/4s handsets.

  70. CyberSkull says:

    I noticed a big surge in The Closer and Bones in the last several years.

  71. akronharry says:

    I do not watch any of these shows! I must have good taste!