While packing for Thanksgiving, I finally found time to clean out the old DVR, and stumbled upon a product placement doozy left over from October.  Early this season the CBS series How I Met Your Mother, while generally good about keeping its content and commercials separate, set some program time aside to shill for Microsoft.

Roll it!

I know many SneakADtack readers are fond of arguing that having a character use a particular branded product is a necessary part of storytelling – an easy signifier of who the character is that everyone can understand.  I think that argument is hard to make in this case.  (Does anyone really use Bing?)

As the episode goes on, Microsoft continues to make its presence felt.  A chance encounter with Maury Povitch (pictured below) gives Mother the chance to feature not one, not two, but three Xbox packages.  Maury is also carrying the much-hyped Xbox Kinect, released earlier this month, meaning Microsoft was able to slip the product in just prior to its release.

This episode dovetails nicely with a recent article in AdAge, arguing that tech gadgets have a leg up on other items when it comes to product placement. The crux of the article’s argument is that, as our gadgets become more and more a part of daily life, the placement and use of these gadgets by fictional characters becomes less jarring. This is perhaps more true in some cases than others.

What say you, Mother fans and detractors? Was this an important part of the storyline?

Liz White has 15 post(s) on Sneak Adtack