Thursday, March 14, 2013

Product Placement Overload: The Biggest Loser

How many product placements are too many? People only have a certain amount of tolerance for product placement before they feel less like they’re enjoying a television programme, and more like a well-targeted shopping network program. It is understandable that television programs need extra income to supplement their revenues and offset their costs, and the product placement is an effective way to issue advertisement to a target market; however at what point does it cross the line? 

According to an analysis by Neilsen in 2011, the biggest loser had charted a staggering 533 product occurrences for the year. Reading facts like this makes me wonder what differentiates programs like The Biggest Loser from an infomercial – it must be the prizes?

After viewing a more recent episode of this television programme, I personally am left wondering whether or not this is ethical. In the same episode of The Biggest Loser they speak to the importance of lowering the sodium content in a healthy diet, and then go on to promote “Light” Soups. In this product placement they speak to only the calorie content while complete neglecting to mention the sodium levels which typically amount from 20% to 40% of daily sodium intake per can. 

People who watch the show and seek information and recommendations on how to live an healthy and active lifestyle from this television show and make poorly informed decisions when buying the products because they think they will have the same results as show contestants. Is this unrealistic association ethical or should views know well enough to take these product placements with a grain of salt? What is your opinion?

By: Scott Moodie

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