just wanted to weigh in on the 30 Rock/McDonald’s scandal.
To me, product placement is not only a sign of these challenging, DVR-dominant times. Advertisers have to get their message across or the networks can’t stay in business. And as long as the placement fits the story, which it did in this case, I have no problem with it. It’s when it stands out — i.e. Nissan’s heavy-handed Heroes placements from season 2 or any mention of Staples on The Office — that I get bugged.
But 30 Rock has been masterful with placements. Think of Tina Fey raving about her Verizon phone before breaking the fourth wall by turning to the camera and asking if they could have their money now. Even better was the Snapple mentions — I’m still not sure if that was satire or actual placement — in Season 1’s “Jack-tor” that featured a guy in a Snapple bottle costume.
All that said, it turns out the McDonald’s placement wasn’t a placement at all. The characters of Jack and Elisa just really like McFlurry’s.
Here’s a statement Tina Fey issued last week.
“It gives me great pleasure to inform you that the references to McDonald’s in last night’s episode of 30 Rock were in no way product placement. (Nor were they an attempt at product placement that fell through.) We received no money from the McDonald’s Corporation. We were actually a little worried they might sue us. That’s just the kind of revenue-generating masterminds we are.
“Also, the upcoming story line where Liz Lemon starts dating Grimace is just based on a recurring dream I have.
“Seriously, though, it’s not product placement.”
Self-deprecation aside, that’s pretty lame that they gave the Golden Arches so much airtime and couldn’t figure out how to milk some revenue out of that. No wonder NBC is hurting so badly.