I remember the days when beers on TV shows looked like popular brands but were misspelled versions of the brand. Millur, Shlits and other knock off brands would appear in the bar scenes of popular shows. Once product placement came around this debacle was all over.
You would see popular brands popping up everywhere in movies and television. Sometimes the product would be forced into a script or a story line in an uncomfortable way. This also is a gadget of the past, the brewers have gotten smarter with brand placement.
Not only are they placing the right product in the right show. The right brand is landing in the right hand. These brewers know what their demographic is and want that to reflect on the show.
Case in point the new Dylan McDermott cop show Dark Blue on TNT is about working class undercover cops. These guys are not your Crockett and Tubbs of the 80’s these are rough and tumble bad assed cops.
These are characters you can relate to; people that could be your neighbor, cousin or brother. Definitely someone you could find on a barstool next to you at any random watering hole. Though there is a dark side to these cops they are very likable, take Office Ty Curtis as an example.
When Officer Ty Curtis played by Omari Hardwick arrived home last week after a stressful day. He opened his refrigerator in a darken room, the fridge must have has a 200 watt bulb in it. The room filled with light shining through bottles of Miller 65 gleeming like gold. Bright yellow advertising gold.
Fast forward to this weeks’ episode. Nicki Aycox’s character Jaimie Allen finds here self in a seedy bar looking up an old friend. Not only are Miller 65s in hand but there is Miller signage all over the bar. Miller Genuine Draft 65 is ordered by name “I will have a MGD65” , to drive home the messaging.
Spiking the ball in the endzone is the cut scene that goes directly into a Miller 65 commercial. This is very smart placement, with a great follow up message.
Yet another great show with great beer placement is FX’s Rescue Me. The main character Tommy Gavin played by Dennis Leary doesn’t even drink beer. Tommy prefers his Irish Whisky and chilled vodka. Leary’s supporting cast on the other hand drink plenty of beer and when they do it is Sam Adams. Rescue Me is about the NYFD and is shot in New York you would think they would use a New York brand.
That mystery is easy to solve. Leary is a Boston native as are a lot of the people tied to the show. I am sure he has ties to the Boston Brewing Company seeing the unselfish amount of charity work both Jim Koch and Dennis Leary do. I am guessing the relationship goes back a few years.
That being said Sam Adams has a huge market share all over the country, the show could be shot in Alaska and a bottle of Boston Lager wouldn’t be out of place.
A plus for the Sam Adams people is the firefighters on the show own a bar together. A bar that is tastefully decorated with Sam Adams neon signs. I love the way Boston Brewing Company does the one-two advertising punch.
The cut scenes flow right into Sam Adam commercials and “Who Do You Love” by George Thorogood & The Destroyers starts pumping through your TV.
Taking a cue from commercial television some brands are showing up on our favorite cable series. One show that comes to mind is Showtime’s hit series Weeds.
Weeds is shot in southern California the backyard of Stone Brewing Company. The product placement isn’t as obvious and in your face as the for mentioned. I can’t officially tie any advertising agreement between Stone Brewing Company and Weeds.
Still I find it curious that every time Uncle Andy Botwin played by Justin Kirk cracks a beer it just happens to be a Stone. Hey any vehicle that gets the word out about a great brewery like Stone Brewing Company is a great thing. It is simple economics, the more people drinking Stone IPA the easier Stone IPA will be to find. So drink up Uncle Andy, one of my favorite characters drinking one of my favorite beers is a perfect match.