Why are they called Soap Operas?

This Page 1 WSJ article is an interesting look at the competitive challenges of selling advertising these days…and how it helps to have “added value” (although that term is not used). While the article is interesting, the claim that the current advertising environment is the cause of such aggressive product placements and creative media ideas as those described is misinformed. Very misinformed. Read anything about the history of Absolut advertising (I would link to their site, but it is Asolut Flash in such a way that does not allow linking to a specfic page) and you will learn how magazines have for decades dreamed up creative ways to capture the Vodka’s ad dollars. And to imply that Rosie eating a salad on her show is a major concession to Wendys overlooks 50 years of television advertising and product placement.

Yesterday, listening to the Today Show while preparing to check out of a hotel, I was “treated” to a ten minute interview with a Coca-Cola marketing director about the new Vanilla Coke. Of course, that was after 30 minutes promoting Richard Geer’s movie (right before an ad for the movie) and Tom Brokaw’s new book. But then didn’t I Love Lucy’s closing credits feature a cup of Maxwell House Coffee?

In other words, ad dollars leading to promotional opportunities is interesting, but it is not new…or news.