May 30th, 2008

4,151 Product Placements in 38 Episodes for 545 minutes

How do we combat that pesky DVR fast-forward button that zips our consumers right through our commercials?  Product placement in the show!  But is it too much?  According to an article in BusinessWeek:

“…American Idol has become as much a marketing showcase as musical slugfest.  Contestants cavort in rock videos to pitch Fords, troop off to Apple to record iTunes tracks, and answer questions brought to you by AT&T.”

“Three years ago, Idol scaled back its sponsors from five to three to limit ad clutter.  But this year it added Apple, figuring it fit the show’s demographic. Meanwhile, advertisers like Ford Motor, which on May 14 unveiled a sportier Focus in a weekly 45-second rock video, became omnipresent.  It’s a lot of plugs to get through.  Idol showed 4,151 product placements in its first 38 episodes this year according to Nielsen Media Research.  That’s up just 4% from ’07, but the time on screen jumped nearly 19%, to a total of 545 minutes.”

The result?  An aging audience for American Idol.  Those skeptical youngsters are tuning out the product plugs and moms are tuning in instead: the median age of Idol viewers is now 43.

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