Given the distressing – and depressing – state of product placement in television programs these days (see here for an especially egregious example), it was good to see this (via Advertising Age):

Many Brands Bid for Product Placement on ‘Modern Family,’ but So Few Make It

Advertisers are working furiously to get their goods into the hands of the characters on ABC’s “Modern Family.” But only a select few will make it, as the producers are wary of turning the nation’s best-loved TV family into a clan of shills . . .

Although requests from advertisers have ramped up in recent months, “we turn down, I would say, about 90%” of them, said Steven Levitan, one of the comedy’s executive producers and creators. “We get offers constantly. We do very few. We try to be extremely selective.” Mr. Levitan said the show will attempt one to three of these integrations per season, perhaps more if the story takes the cast to a remote location.

Those making the cut: Toyota, Audi, Target – and Apple’s iPad, which got a free ride:

 Apple received huge exposure in 2010, even though no money changed hands, when its iPad — at the time not available to the public — was made a major part of a plotline in which technophile Phil Dunphy was coveting the new product.

To all the TV shows coveting new product placements, take a lesson. Less is more.

John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
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