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Media

July 25, 2008

They're (Not) Lovin' It

This week, the New York Times reported on a seemingly new idea in advertising—news product placement. No, we don't mean placing positive coverage of products into news reports (though, who knows, that could be next), we mean having reporters consume a particular product on air. For instance, anchors on Fox morning news shows in several cities—including Chicago, Las Vegas, and Seattle—are being shown with cups of McDonald's coffee clearly placed in front of them.

product placement

Caffeinated and perky.

While this is more innocuous than corporate infiltration of news reports, it does raise some ethical questions, as the Times pointed out. Foremost among them is this: Will product placement during a newscast impact coverage of the advertiser?

To find out, Thursday morning we watched Fox's Good Day Chicago. We did not notice any cups of McDonald's coffee, though perhaps we were not watching the right telecast. There was, however, a brief segment which mentioned possible changes to the fast food giant's popular dollar menu. The segment, which suggested that the dollar menu's dollar days may be numbered was mildly critical. Perhaps fears of a morning filled with lofty praise for Big Macs are unjustified.







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