Extreme informercial

 
 
 

Extreme informercial

In a new partnership that underscores the widening reach of product replacement, Sears, Roebuck and Co. has signed on as chief sponsor of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," a six-episode series that is in production and expected to air beginning in early 2004.

The head of an advertising watchdog group said the new show extends a disturbing trend of more and more embedded ads on television.

"'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' is not a regular program -- it's an infomercial for Sears," Gary Ruskin, director of Commercial Alert, said Wednesday from Portland, Ore. "It's not just product placement, it's product integration, plot placement, title placement, paid shills, virtual ads. Increasingly, television is turning into an infomercial medium."

The new ABC program will carry scenes of trips to Sears stores, trucks delivering merchandise from Sears to the homes and visits by Sears repair workers who will use Craftsman tools in their home-improvement work.

Sears officials also said they have been sensitive to criticism about branded entertainment.

"It's obviously something that needs to be integral or natural to the program, which in the case of home improvement is a totally logical and authentic place for Sears to be," McDougal said. "Consumers would not be fooled by forced sponsorship."

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Comments

Looks like ABC is following the lead of NBC's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." That's also chocked full of product placement... But if you're in need of some really fabulous hair gel -- or, in the case of "Extreme Makeover", some really tough drill bits -- do you really care if the placement is paid for? This is different from regular advertising in that you've already captivated the right audience with the show's content... And come on: people aren't going to head straight to Sears

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