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The good, and the annoying, side of cross-promotional synergy

By auguste
Monday, November 24, 2008 8:08 EDT
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SPOILER ALERT

So I’m watching the first episode of the new season of “24″ (hey, somebody has to still care besides the Corner) and I noticed two interesting juxtapositions.

First, the story (so far) deals with a civil war in Africa, and has child soldiers as a central theme. After the theme was introduced, an advertisement for Human Rights Watch’s End the Use of Child Soldiers campaign was aired. Good synergy.

Second, the outgoing president (Powers Boothe) is described as being “in the telepresence suite.” I noted the phrase as one I’d never heard before, but descriptive enough to be clear, and presumably just 24 being all high-tech-y, like in season one when they mentioned “opening a socket” about five times per episode. But then, at about 4:00 pm Bauer time, what should run but an advertisement for Cisco Telepresence.

Now, it’s totally possible that I’m just out of the loop, that this is like the time I heard of Newport News, Virginia for the first time and then ran across references to it seven times in the next three days. Or maybe they actually threw the line “The President is in the telepresence suite” into the show just to cross-promote Cisco’s videoconferencing solutions. It’s hardly the most egregious product placement ever, but it may be the sneakiest that I’ve personally noticed.

 
 
 
 
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