Of course, in just about any kind of sporting event televised live, the walls around the field and stadium will typically be plastered with eye-catching brand logos for whenever the camera happens to follow a play in their direction. With the advent of digital manipulation, some cameras can even be programmed to insert such advertisements into the frame whenever the camera turns toward the walls, changing which logos are shown from week to week depending on who's paying to be endorsed.
General Hospital also included in 2008 an in-show plug for açaí berry juice, which is endorsed by several stars of the show, including Steve Burton, whose character drinks the juice when ill and immediately feels better. Behind-the-scenes rumors suggest this was written into the story without ABC's permission and caused the show to lose Tropicana as a sponsor.
It also became a latter annoyance for ABC as this "endorsement" was used on obnoxious Web ads (i.e., the "one weird old trick" ad showing a badly drawn woman with a massive muffin top) faking news sites claiming that ABC News, Oprah and other news organizations endorsed açaí products, when in truth they were mentioned either in passing, in segments telling you not to buy the product, or not at all.
A May 2013 storyline on General Hospital had product placement for ABC's own daytime programming; well, specifically, a crossover plot involving a character appearing on The Chew (a food-oriented talk show which comes on right before GH). A few years later, they decided that cross-promoting college football bowl games on ESPN on General Hospital was a good idea too.
Obviously, any Game Show, such as Let's Make a Deal and The Price Is Right, will use this trope if it uses branded products as prizes instead of or alongside cash. However, while the copy read by announcers formerly mixed generic descriptions (that still at least mentioned the brand in an informational context) with actual paid promotion, they've since been replaced by generic descriptions with no brand name mentioned at all for products that are not the subject of paid advertising.
An Australian revival of The Price is Right took this Up to Eleven to promote the Wal Mart-like store Big W by literally having its name on every prop, and only giving away Big W "shopping sprees" in lieu of actual cash prizes.
In 1995, the ABC network was bought by the Walt Disney Company. In doing so, Disney had most, if not all, of their current shows make episodes that involved their characters going on a vacation toWalt Disney World. Even if Disneyland is closer to a show's setting (like Full House, based in San Francisco), or if such a trip would normally be outside the characters' budget (like Roseanne and maybe Family Matters). Most did them without complaint and simply moved on. However, there was one Writer Revolt. The cast and crew of Roseanne didn't like being forced to make an hour-long Disney World commercial (it's a two-parter, but they don't reach Disney World until part 2), so the very next episode was a thinly-veiled and scathingTake That! against them. In it, David gets a job at an amusement park called Edelweiss Gardens, where the brainwashing and conformity jokes come fast and hard. They also give the entire park a German theme with a Hans the Hare mascot, superficially a parody of Busch Gardens, but still adding in some unsettling Nazi overtones. To drive the point in further, the episode was titled "Springtime for David".
HBO occasionally has a character in its series watching a scene from another HBO series. For example, in The Wire, Omar watched Oz and Cutty's roommate watched Deadwood. There's also a scene where Dukie is about to plug Dexter, but is interrupted by Michael Lee. In the funniest one, Six Feet Under had a scene with David and Keith enjoying a gay sex scene from Oz. These are probably more in line with a Shout-Out or Take That! than product endorsements.
Jack Bauer and associates always drive the model of car that is the main sponsor for that season, while villains will drive other brands. It has often been commented that you can tell whether a character is actually a spy based on whether he's driving a Ford or not. (Note that in the one season Toyota is the show's main sponsor, and the Fords are driven by bad guys.)
Season 7 has a rather blatant one, where the plot seems specifically written for the characters to show off the high tech features of the Hyundai Genesis (namely, to play an audio recording).
Cisco Systems is featured rather prominently in the show. Admittedly, it's kind of amusing watching Cisco Systems trying to be sexy.
During the early run, all the good guys use Macs and the bad guys generic Wintel boxes. Later on, the good guys start using HP computers. In the fourth season, the terrorists use Alienware gaming laptops, which is rather odd seeing as terrorists are usually on the run, therefore needing PCs with better battery life... unless terrorists happen to enjoy playingCounter Strikein their spare time.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a deal with Ford. The episode "Nothing Personal" has a large amount of product placement when Coulson and Skye land on a street filled with plugs for hotel chains and Nokia.
During the pilot, camera shots of cars are designed to prominently display the stickers for Jaguar Car Security... but the relevant camera shots only ever happen on the cars Sydney is breaking into and stealing.
Characters all use Nokia cell phones with the "Nokia Tune" ring dring the first couple of seasons. Of course, as anyone who's ever seen Trigger Happy TV knows, the correct response to that is to go, "HELLO! I'm on the train! Yeah, it's really packed!"
In one episode's parking lot, the villains grab the nearest small car which can easily corner highway ramps. Meanwhile, Sydney's cry of "The F-150!" directs Vaughan to a boxed-in truck that forces them to weave through cars to reach the bay, then smash those same cars out of the way before they can resume the chase. Some clunky camera work then kicks in to try and hide the fact the truck is too big to corner the ramps at speed.
In one episode, a dream therapist gives a big speech about the artificial constructs the modern world creates to mimic natural reality just so that facon can be advertised as a vegetarian alternative to bacon.
On a few occasions, there's been an episode where all the remaining teams are given some fancy branded cell phone for no reason other than to read a clue off of it or get a text message from home. The real reason for the phone is, of course, to say the brand name and get it on camera a lot.
Another example is contestants getting an email from America Online.
When contestants have to drive themselves somewhere using a provided vehicle, the make and model of the vehicle will be mentioned multiple times, and sometimes key features (like a navigation system, or a hands-free mechanism to open the rear door) will be carefully demonstrated.
Or more blatantly, challenges that involve contestants not only finding the Travelocity gnome, but carrying it with them for the rest of the episode. Which Travelocity turned into a commercial of its own. Wrap that one around your heads!
An episode of American Crime has one of the main character browsing posters in a comic book shop. All of the comic characters characters featured (Elektra, The Daughters of Dragon, and Melinda May) are Marvel heroines, while a prominent advertisement for Totally Awesome Hulk can be seen in the background. The show aired on ABC, which, like Marvel Comics, is owned by Disney.
American Dreams has so many examples it would take too long to list them all. First they have modern musicians singing classics almost every week and then there's, well, just about every product ever listed on the show. Fortunately, because the show is somewhat built around nostalgia it tends to play better. The scene with a father and son discussing how to eat Oreos seems funny and even sweet when the cookies are a new invention. Although certain things like "Fieldings" (AKA Budweiser) being the only beer that seems to exist even in Vietnam do tend to bug. Also, Sarah Ramos had to get sick of saying "Campbell's Tomato Soup" about halfway through season three.
American Idol. Seriously, if it were up to the execs who ran the thing, everybody would own a Ford and drink nothing but Coca-Cola all day. Mad TV spoofd the hell out of this one, using Ryan Seacrest's love for Dramatic Pauses to play the Coca-Cola commercial with Mya and Common (during the show!) over and over again.
The Apprentice: Almost all of the tasks involve the contestants promoting a product, selling a product, or figuring out a way to improve a product. Like America's Next Top Model, it is largely the point of the series, though.
Arrow very shamelessly promotes Microsoft Windows 8.
It's apparently standard superhero procedure to use Bing.
They've also created a web-based miniseries called "Blood Rush," starring Roy, Felicity, and Bose Electronics.
An odd case in The A-Team. The van was supplied by GMC, but the grille and emblems were then blacked out and obscured by a brushguard making it indistinguishable from a Chevrolet. Confusing things even more, the prop van used for build montagesis a Chevrolet, and the blacked out Chevy emblem can be clearly seen in certain shots.
Babylon 5: The Zima sign in the episode "TKO" may seem like a straight playing, but Word of God is that the sign was added purely as a joke, and they were not compensated for it.
After moving to syndication for Season 2, the series had to rely on shameless product placement from companies like Domino's and Coke to compensate for the reduced budget. This infamously led to an Award Bait episode where David Hasselhoff's genuinely good performance is undercut by the show's hilarious Pepsi shilling.
Yamaha's WaveRunners gets a lot of play.
One episode has an entire plot point about Hobie going to the local liquor store to play Street Fighter II. Just in case you don't know what game it is, the characters say the title about half a billion times.
Played for Laughs in Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2012 where, knowing they might get freebies from fans or the companies in question, Jack Whitehall and James Cordon suggested that Antony Worrall Thompson stole Bollinger champagne, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and Canestan medicine.
Jimmy Carr: You do not get a point. But you may get some Bollinger, so cheer up.
The Biggest Loser frequently has the trainers recommend low-calorie foods and weight-loss products to the contestants.
Big Love includes a bunch in the first episode, including a plug for Land's End delivered by the youngest boy in the family.
The show pimps Toyotas like they're going out of style. It starts with characters referencing car models by name, progresses to little asides about backup cameras, and then the fact that a Prius can tell you when you're in the wrong lane became the catalyst for a episode's (major) B-plot when Hodgins and Angela get jailed for testing it out. It's a little surprising that the idea of adding a Toyota to the main cast was never brought up.
In the season 4 episode "The Double Death of the Dearly Departed", as Bones and Booth smuggle a corpse out of a funeral home, Cam states "your Sequoia... was blocked, so I grabbed Angela's Matrix." After Bones asks if there'll be enough room, Cam pointedly comments "it'll be fine, there's plenty of room!"
Then there's an entire shot in another episode that was basically written to say, "You know that cool parallel-parking thing Ford has? Toyota has it, too."
Quite a few episodes feature very clear shots of Windows and Windows Phone. The end credits, of course, mention that Microsoft provides "compensation".
The episode "The Gamer in the Grease" has Hodgins, Sweets and Fischer all going to ridiculous lengths to make the line for the premiere of Avatar. In order to avoid the Celebrity Paradox that would occur by Fischer (who is played by Joel David Moore who played Spellman in Avatar) seeing the movie, they have him miss the film entirely; he's too busy hooking up with a hot geek girl online.
The first season is all about Sam's Cadillac. Season 2 glorifies a Saab; one crucial high speed chase in the summer finale of season two turns on the Saab's outstanding Electronic Braking System. Sam later loses his Caddy, and Fi sells the Saab in the season three midseason finale.
There's also an episode where Michael basically gives a Combat Commentary about how the car he's using for a high-speed chase is ideal and lists down its features.
Then there's the one where the electronic stability control in a Saab convertible proves useful to Fiona's skills as a wheelman.
They have On-Star showing up every few episodes in season two. It paid for quite a few of the action sequences, so it was worth it.
Everyone except for Sam has a Razr, unless they're tearing it apart to make a bomb.
Subversion? Aversion? It's not entirely clear, but Call the Midwife, despite airing on BBC 1, makes explicit and fairly prominent mention of three branded beverages: (1) Horlicks, which is brought out any time someone is under stress, (2) Babycham sparkling perry, which the nurses—especially Trixie—like to drink when off-duty, and (3) The Glenlivet, on which a fairly significant joke in the second episode turns. The series also mentions the (branded) hair product Brylcreem (in a conversation between the doctor and his young son); Henley cigarettes are also mentioned, but (unlike the three drinks and the Brylcreem) that brand no longer exists, so "product placement" is probably not an issue. It's possible that since the logos aren't shown and the series is based on a non-fiction book, certain leeway was given to the creators, and given that it's the BBC, the creators were certainly not paid to include them. It probably also helps that the show banks heavily on period references for a not-quite-nostalgic-but-still-sweet vision of 1950s Britain.
Chuck gleefully shills for Subway and Red Bull, to the point that they regularly hang lampshades on Subway's Five Dollar Footlong special, a fact that didn't go unnoticed by Real Life Comics. It's actually played with; the first appearance of Subway was a rather mundane example, however when the series was up for renewal at the end of season 2 and looked like it might be cancelled, the fans rallied around Subway in an attempt to save the show. The Subway placement (and the Cherubic Choir when the sandwiches appeared) became an Ascended Meme and Running Gag for the rest of the series. In later episodes, the iPhone seems to pop up in just about every scene.
CSI: Las Vegas features the GMC Yukon Denali S.U.V.: the logo is readable on screen and it's even mentioned by name a few times. On the other hand, with nearly everything else, their production crew is pretty good about not just covering up brand names but inventing new in-universe ones, complete with realistic-looking logos. Instead of "FedEx", for example, they use "SendEx" a few times, complete with similar-but-different logo.
CSI, during the Ted Danson era, had the show grind to a halt so Ted Danson can be taught about Ancestry.com.
Damages: An early episode sees one character give another a gift certificate to Olive Garden, complete with the phrase "When you're here, you're family!", to the laughter of the people in the show and the groans of the people watching it.
Some egregious examples can be found here and here. Because yes, a simple snack needs some five minutes to explain all the benefits of why you should eat it instead of simply eating it and not having to awkwardly delve in like a normal person. And Cheddar Chex Mix are the best kind anyway!
This one is arguably worse given that the two actors have been on the show (off and on) since the early 1980s. Poor Bo and Hope...
The crab fishing fleet has been at sea for weeks, braving the worst that the Bering Sea can throw at them, and all the crewmen are still drinking their coffee out of paper Dunkin Donuts cups.
The After the Catch specials seem to have Coors beer and its logo everywhere.
Season 2 of Defiance was sponsored by Dodge, leading to the usually 1980s Alleged Cars used by the protagonists being replaced by a 2014 Dodge Charger in suspiciously good shape besides a roughshod rollcage exoskeleton and some (painted-on) rust. Season 3 drops it, and everyone's back into terrible 1980s and 90s cars and trucks made of rust.
They have an unusual one in Pizza Pizza, a Toronto-based regional chain that's ubiquitous in that city and throughout Ontario but didn't really exist outside the province until an expansion drive in the late 2000s (now trading as Pizza 73 in Western Canada) and couldn't even go by that name in the United States due to trademark issues with Little Caesar's. Product Placement, meet regional Shout-Out.
And in the previous series, Degrassi High, Pepsi and Quaker Oats appear in almost every episode (including a character who's almost always seen with a box of Dipps granola bars).
Dexter's MacBook Pro probably wasn't supplied by Apple, since he runs Windows on it.
It's a question as to what kind of writing Deb's season 2 boyfriend would need to do that would require an Alienware laptop.
The Red Bull placements in the second episode of Season 4 were borderline-Anvilicious, even for a show that's no stranger to this trope.
The Doctor Oz Show normally has Brand X items (particularly vitamins and supplementsnote in oversized bottles with large print labels that are easy to read on camera), but Dove and Pedigree are often mentioned by name if the segment is about skin care or pet care.
Doctor Who: The revival gives Rose Tyler a Nokia 3200 mobile phone, which is upgraded by the Ninth Doctor into a super mobile that can make phone calls through time and pick up signals where other phones can't, like other planets. Seeing as this is The BBC, it's more likely that they used a recognisable prop than it being product placement (i.e.: it wasn't paid for). It turns into a Samsung phone without explanation in series 2. By series 3, they at least removed the logos from Martha's phone (it's a Benq-Siemens). Product placement is technically illegal on the BBC; once, an episode of Spooks was temporarily pulled while they airbrushed out the Apple logo on a laptop. In the background. Because of complaints. The BBC takes its public ownership status seriously, as does the British public.
Dollhouse features the Apple iPhone 3GS several times in its second season. The season opener, "Vows", also shows off an iPhone app - the Sling Player, which streams television to cellphones, laptops and the like. While other Dollhouse staff watch Senator Daniel Perrin (in a press conference attacking the Dollhouse) on TV, Paul Ballard watches the same telecast on his phone. On the computer side, they move away from the Macs-are-cool trope, featuring Dell desktop computers instead.
Donny, being a USA Network show, naturally has product placement. Rather than be subtle about it, they turn the obligatory product placements into a Running Joke where, Once an Episode, Donny breaks the fourth wall and openly plugs whichever company has sponsored that week's episode.
One episode of the reality show Driving Force has two people eating KFC and blatantly plugging it — to the point where one of them reads the nutritional facts panel to declare "It has zero trans fat".
Elementary has such a blatant plug for the Microsoft Surface Tablet (and Bing) that you could be forgiven for wondering if an ad break had just started without you noticing. Sherlock suddenly needs to look something up on the toilet, so he randomly pulls out the tablet and slots in the keyboard, complete with snappy clicks and long, loving shots of the logo and the menu screen. He then proceeds to use it to find out the locations of nearby rapists. That's a new one.
One late episode is pretty loud in its proclamation that the new Subaru is a good car. First, Carter is impressed when Jo shows him her new car, and she gets to brag about it; it's then contrasted with Fargo's crappy old car. Fargo then ditches his old car and gets himself a Subaru; Jo asks him how he pulled it off because she was on a waiting list for months for hers but he claims to have pulled some strings (apparently people in Eureka must not buy their own cars). But it's not until much later in the episode that Jo's new car saves the day by being the only thing that can get Fargo to where the others are in time to deliver some crucial information. Finally, near the end Fargo makes a solemn declaration that to make amends with his jilted car AI he'll install her in his new car right away.
Also, Fargo lists off the car's stats instantly upon seeing it. Safe to say, Eureka doesn't take their product placement too seriously.
Lampshaded in the third season premiere. The new chairwoman of GD announces its first corporate sponsor, as several crates bearing Degree [the deodorant sponsoring the season] logos are wheeled in. Degree actually did sponsor the show, insisting on heavy placement of ads and an entire episode where deodorant saves the day. One extreme example of this particular product placement happens in the episode "Here Comes the Suns". In it, a second artificial sun created by a ten-year-old as a school science project is slowly roasting the town, and at several points the characters mention staying cool under pressure. This is the tag-line for Degree deodorant. To see one person's thoughts on this episode, go here.
Reality dating show Excused explicitly promotes a number of products on different episodes, including Dentyne Gum and Black Star Beer.
In The Expanse, the OPA uses cargo pods with the Fed Ex label on them as boarding craft.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition's cup runneth over with Product Placements — every little thing that goes into every house they rebuild has a brand name that is prominently displayed on-camera. Sears Roebuck in particular has a great deal with this program — in addition to frequent on-camera visits to Sears by the designers and lingering shots of Kenmore products entering the house, every episode they get a custom commercial tailored to that episode that just happens to count off each appliance, piece of furniture and even every tool used by the construction crew, under the guise of congratulating the latest recipients of ABC's weekly largesse.
Also, most of the families receiving homes will spend their week away at Disneyland (see the aforementioned "Disney owns ABC" post.)
Adidas has a similar moment in the spotlight in an early season two episode, in which a minute-long sequence is dedicated to showing Can exercising in the company's gear.
Billboards for ING Bank, a chief sponsor of the second season, are more subtly integrated, thankfully.
FlashForward (2009): Whenever any character, particularly Mark Benton, has to make or receive a call on their cell, the show always makes sure we saw that it's a Sprint phone.
Friday Night Lights: Curious about which car company is sponsoring the show this week? Just wait for the scene at Buddy's car dealership and see which brand gets its name mentioned.
One rather weird one is when Matt tries to take Julie to see Eragon for their first date, but it's sold out by the time they get there. Even at the time, the fan response was largely that he didn't know how lucky he was, as forcing Julie to see that movie might have made her break up with him then and there.
Friends has the infamous episode "The One With Pottery Barn", which features Rachel redecorating Phoebe's apartment in all Pottery Barn products and having to lie to her about where she purchased them. It's been snarkily described as a half hour Pottery Barn commercial. To this day, Pottery Barn claims to see a spike in their sales every single time that episode airs.
In another episode, Phoebe and Monica try to deduce the world's best chocolate chip cookie recipe — it turns out to be Nestlé Tollhouse. This may not have been product placement— the joke is that the recipe is printed on the side of the by-far most common chocolate chip packages, but her grandma lied and said it was an "old family recipe".
Fringe: Was it really necessary to have the characters make video calls in the field, complete with long, loving close-ups of the implausibly good quality and provider logo?
To its credit, the series never has the characters use video calls to talk about the features of the cars they're driving. These instead are dropped shamelessly into the dialog, or, in the case of a car being driven by some nameless background characters near the end of season three, shown by making the reversing camera a minor plot point that enables said family to escape.
Fuller House: Macy Gray's appearance is little more than a plug for a new song and album. Additionally, Apple appears to be one of the biggest sponsors of the show: A classic Mac appears in the opening theme, everyone is shown owning an iPad or an iPhone, Uncle Jesse directly invokes Siri in the second episode, and a Macbook appears several times in the fifth. And it appears that VTech was a minor sponsor, given their tweet about their baby monitor (with its logo intact) appearing in the show after it premiered.
There's plenty of product placement (as the series was created as part of a family-friendly programming initiative backed by major advertisers), but thankfully it's more often than not very subtle (Rory asks for a Coke...that's as bad as it got).
However, in season two, PepsiCo and the WB commissioned a 30-second ad that has Lorelai and Rory in-character extolling the pleasures of drinking Aquafina bottled water in their usual rat-a-tat conversation style, via a situation where Lorelai is about to get a bottle of water from an...Aquafina stand (OK), but a woman in front of her gets it first and instantly wins cash instead of Lorelai, which Rory rubs into her mother pretty hard. It's odd and out of character, since the Gilmores are much more associated with coffee rather than bottled-up filtered tap water from Munster, Indiana.
A season 6 episode, titled I Get a Sidekick Out of You, which, among other things, prominently features the Sidekick, a T-Mobile phone. Logan is also rarely seen without his Razr in the last season.
Glee: Will Schuester buys a Corvette in one episode as a response to his not-quite-girlfriend getting a cool new boyfriend. In case you miss the half-dozen times they mention the Corvette, you'll also get a good long look at the dashboard logo while the dialogue stops to make way for engine-revving noises.
Hairspray Live!: Tracy passes a Reddi-Wip truck during "Good Morning Baltimore", Wilbur drinks Coca-Cola in a different part, and the Turnblads' refrigerator has a jar of Oreo cookies on top of it.
Hawaii Five-0: The reimagined series has plenty, see the work page for more examples. But some of the worst offenders:
The "Pu'olo" episode in the second season basically has a 50-second Subway commercial inserted into the middle of the episode. It was criticized widely as over-the-top even by the standards of in-show product placement.
It also has the sole unironic use of the phrase "Bing it" (rather than "Google it") in human history.
The fifth season opener features a Take That! to this trend. Jerry (Jorge Garcia) uses the automatic door opener (with closeup of the button) on his mother's old minivan to allow Steve and Danny into the vehicle. Steve promptly quips that the automatic door is so 1998.
Sprint and Nissan are pretty much the show's two largest sponsors - beyond the Product Placement, at least half of the commercials are for either Sprint phones or Nissan cars.
The series features repeated mentions of the Nissan Versa / Tiida. Almost all cars in the series are Nissans. Every one of the online comics begins with a Nissan Versa ad that is far bigger than the comic itself. It's become a Running Gag. Funnily enough, even though most computers in the series are Dells, the logos are taped over.
One episode features a scene between HRG and one of the baddies, the Hunter, taking place at the latter's apartment. What occupies the center of the screen in shots featuring the two of them? A large stack of Dell computer boxes.
There's also this exchange from "The Second Coming", in the middle of a remote desert:
Matt: I gotta use your cell. Usutu: No service! I should've gone with Sprint.
The first episode of Season 4 shows a Sprint logo on the Dial-a-Hero ad in Tokyo. Now that's amazing coverage.
The show eventually bled into the commercials. During Season 4, there was a short commercial which is otherwise indistinguishable from a normal scene where one of the villains must sneak another one... a Sprint phone. It then cuts to a web address where you can presumably follow that side plot which will heavily feature cell phones.
Every character on the show (and graphic novels) has a Sprint phone.
NBC inverted this by not just placing commercials in the show, but placing the show in the commercials. Starting with a multi-part Heroes subplot revolving around a Sprint cellphone, they also did it for Chuck, showing Morgan, Ellie and Devon on the way to the Winter Games in a Honda.
The episode "Gut Check" features a lingering shot of Wilson's Ford Taurus's logo, and then transitions to a view of the dash with in-board GPS. Not commented on by the characters, but still quite blatant.
Name a time when Dr. House isn't sporting a flashy pair of Nike shoes. With a closeup.
Almost everyone in House of Cards (US) uses iPhones, sometimes with closeups of the Apple logos. There's also a scene where Peter picks up a rental car from Enterprise, and the cameras make sure to linger on the facility while he gets inside.
How I Met Your Mother: In one episode they heavily feature toys and movies posters for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The posters are not commented on, but they make great use of the toy Wolverine claws in several scenes. Additionally, "toy guy" uses Nerf weapons, which is also made by Hasbro.
Impractical Jokers has it in the background when they get to set a challenge in Ikea, White Castle, and so forth, but one extremely obvious example centers around a Kellogg cereal taste test and questions.
Funnily enough, the folks at El internado: Laguna Negra seem to have to stop and sign for a big package from Mailboxes, Etc. every week before resuming the mysteries, secrets, and conspiracies.
Jericho shows just how good a cell-phone company can really be: Sprint maintains service through 20 or more American cities being nuked and the resulting remnants dissolving into squabbling factions. (Sprint was a major sponsor of the show.)
Most of the Showa-era shows have motorcycles manufactured by Suzuki, while all of the Heisei-era shows after Kamen Rider Kuuga have Honda bikes. (Drive has an old, modified Honda NSX sports car instead.)
Kamen Rider Accel from Kamen Rider W uses a Ducati bike, while Kuuga uses Gas Gas bikes.
Shoei helmets are also common.
Kamen Rider OOO has a rather painful scene where Ankh tests out a new iPhone and proclaims how wonderful and convenient human technology is.
Kuuga has a very obvious scene where Godai vigorously munches on a McDonalds with the logo in the bag clearly visible in the center of the screen, while he and Sakurako state that the food is already cold but still tastes good.
Knight Rider: The Pilot Movie for the remake has one chase scene which is a painful example of this. KITT is a Ford, and the cars chasing it are Fords. Throughout the chase, we get closeup after closeup of their logos. At the end of a chase, the cars pursuing KITT are tricked into driving into a fully-loaded semi truck... and stop inches from the bumper; God forbid a Ford be damaged, after all. Later, just to hammer it in, a General Motors car is seen as a burning wreck. In the series, KITT routinely transforms into other Ford models for disguise or utility.
Kyle XY: Who can forget Kyle's Narmful love of Sour Patch Kids throughout the first season? Thankfully, they eased up for season 2.
Laguna Beach: All of the principal cast members are seen using the T-Mobile Sidekick II, and the product is also displayed prominently whenever it is used.
Lethal Weapon (2016): An odd bridge between commercial and episode, Fox's "Story Stretch" is a one minute commercials during the episode's ad breaks featuring two side characters. While discussing the episode's story, they also show off one of the Microsoft Surface Pro's many features.
Lost is an interesting case - During the airing of the Season 3 finale, several forum posters and other live commentators pointed out how glaring the placement of Jack's Motorola RAZR phone was during his off-Island flashback, especially since Oceanic Flight 815 crashed in September 2004, years before the phone was manufactured. The end of the episode revealed that Jack's story had actually been a flashforward three years into the future, making the product placement a crafty clue.
Mad Men is a show involving an advertising firm, so this trope was expected to hit pretty hard.
It has plenty of product placement for alcoholic beverages, although you have to be looking for it. The most blatant is the Smirnoff bottle in Roger Sterling's office. In fairness to Roger, it definitely goes with the black/white/clear glass decor. Interestingly, Don's favorite tipple (Canadian Club) is from a different company.
Heineken is featured in one episode as a client that is seeking a firm to attract American customers during the time period. The episode features a form of in-universe product placement when it proves at a dinner he had with his colleagues at his home that the techniques for Up Marketing the beer to well-off suburban housewives Don had advocated had worked on his own wife Betty, and she unwittingly regurgitates a line he had thought of (which is part of the point of holding the dinner—the dinner is basically set up to give Betty an opportunity to engage in unwitting product placement for Don's strategy). Everyone is impressed except Betty, who is understandably upset by the manipulation, and couches Don for it.
Discussed by the show creator, saying that paid product placement is limited to reduce the strain on the writers and be more creative with the episodes. Some brands, like Utz and Cadillac, are only there for purposes of realism and are not paid for by the companies, while a lot of the others are just fictional brands.
In the third season, the "Hecking It Up" episode seems to have basically been written as an extended ad for the Volkswagen Passat starring the show's characters. They made sure to use the remote starter as many times as possible and, at one point, Frankie even mentions the "roomy trunk".
Subway also gets one in (as in, it's mentioned in the credits) early in the third-season episode "The Guidance Counselor" when the camera pans just slowly enough across some Subway wrappers and sandwiches on the kitchen counter as Frankie announces dinner is ready.
An entire episode has Claire trying to buy Phil an iPad for his birthday. It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that the episode opens with Phil proclaiming how amazing the iPad is while rattling off a list of its features.
One of the Christmas specials has a lengthy sequence where Claire and Hayley shop for gifts at Target, while another episode has a whole subplot about Mitchell going to Costco for the fist time.
The episode "Connection Lost" makes creative use of product placement; the entire episode takes place on Claire's Macbook. She's at the airport on her way to a business trip when Haley goes missing—possibly eloping with a strange boy—and Claire uses Facetime to get in touch with the family to see where she is. Between calls, we see her doing things like looking at Haley's baby pictures (Sarah Hyland's actual baby pics), trying to read Alex's college entrance essay before getting bored and sending an email lying about how she loves it, and looking at "porn" (that is, organized shelving).
In the episode "Mr. Monk, Private Eye," Sharon Lawrence's character describes her dented car as such: "This is a Lucerne 275 Northstar V8. I get a new Buick every year. It's my trademark." This is only the beginning: In the following three seasons, Natalie goes through six cars, one of which is the aforementioned Buick Lucerne. Among others that are almost certainly product placement are an Audi and a Hyundai Genesis. It makes one wonder how Natalie can afford several different cars, considering how little she is paid. These cars are also heavily advertised on the Monk website. There is a Concentration-type game, where, in addition to characters' faces, you match parts of the Buick Lucerne. That remained, even after the sponsor of the website changed to Audi. In the original airing, the first commercial was the same car shown in the episode right before it went into commercial break.
"Mr. Monk and the UFO" was sponsored by Sleep Inn and features a scene where Monk is returning to the hotel room in which he is staying with only one bag of cleaning supplies. Natalie reassures a hotel employee that having only one bag is like giving the hotel five stars. Other scenes include a uniformed Sleep Inn employee as a minor character.
Direct-to-video Edutainment SeriesModel Me Kids has so many references to real-life brands and places that it could be considered "Product Placement: The Series". Justified, as it's probably to get its target audience's attention.
In at least one of the seventh season episodes of My Cat from Hell, a litterbox is given to a family by Jackson Galaxy from PetCo, with the owner specifically mentioning that it came from PetCo.
NCIS frequently shows knives being used as both tools and weapons. Particularly prominent is the inclusion of the Zero Tolerance 0300 series carried by Gibbs and Tony in later seasons. The knives frequently get closeups long enough to show them clearly, and are even incorporated into gags, like the time both men deploy their nearly identical knives in perfect unison in order to cut their steak in the season 7 episode "Flesh and Blood".
NCIS: Los Angeles features Microsoft products on occasion, including Windows Phone devices (HTC in earlier episodes, Nokia Lumia models in later seasons), and the Microsoft Surface tablet. An earlier episode features Cisco's failed Cius tablet.
In "Mind Games", Tony realizes that Agent Paula Cassidy wears Victoria's Secret when he looks down her shirt and sees her bra. Paula then tells Tony to enjoy the view as long as he can because that's how far he's going to get with her.
NBC's New Year's Eve special for 2014 with Carson Daly has some clever, yet blatant product placement for GEICO. January 1, 2014 fell on a Wednesday, and the company's "happier than a camel on Wednesday" ad (a.k.a. the "Hump DAYYYYYY~" one) was the thing, so they branded their countdown clock as the countdown to "#humpday 2014", and just seconds after Midnight, Daly declared that it was time to go live to the GEICO Camel for his "thoughts" on the year, which was mainly a barrage of bad jokes alluding to said ad.
Nikita is usually fairly subtle about its product placement for Kia, though they did devote a shot in season 2 to the Optima's voice-command system.
The Office (US) is one of the few shows to be realistic about the preponderance of PCs vs. Macs in real life settings. The office computers are Dells earlier and Gateways later, as you'd expect to see in many similar real offices. Since Acer bought the latter, its logo became more common.
Pawn Stars has some shameless plugs in some episodes for Subway sandwiches. In one episode, Chumlee brings Corey some sandwiches when Corey is working late. Rick treats Chumlee after he pulls off a big shift, and Rick even comments to the old man that the breakfast sandwiches are "delicious". When Rick notes how fat and out of shape Corey and Chum both are, he gets them some healthy and nutritious Subway sandwiches. One particularly staged scene has Corey illustrate a point to Chumlee using a Subway sandwich as a prop.
Sponsored programs are quite common in some countries such as Bangladesh and the Philippines, where they essentially serve as thirty-minute commercials for the companies involved. Notable examples of these include Jollitown and Tropang Potchi, sponsored by Jollibeenote A Philippine fast-food chain in similar vein to McDonald's and Columbia International Food Productsnote A confectionery company in the Philippines respectively.
Political Animals: Skype seems to be the video-chat app of choice in the show. It is not only used in multiple conversations between characters, with the interface clearly visible, but mentioned by name when characters are told that someone else is on the line calling them.
Pretty Little Liars: In the early episodes, Aria is seen repeatedly with a Microsoft Kin phone and it always highlights the Facebook stream very obviously. It also helps that texting is a major plot point in the series.
Psych has many examples, but given Shawn's eccentric tendencies, this is relatively believable for him.
In a few early episodes, the main characters use an Alienware laptop.
They play an ad for Dunkin' Donuts for laughs in one episode, with Spencer going on a really really tangential rant about how refreshing Dunkin' Donuts is while a life hangs in the balance, and every other character in the scene looks at him strangely.
Red Robin has factored into settings and mentions at least twice. It's (obviously) a sponsor and gets a prominent shot at commercial breaks, even when there's not a Red Robin in the area for miles around.
Snyder's of Hanover pretzel snacks are consumed and talked about quite prominently in several episodes.
Shawn frequently eats Doritos and makes some exaggerated quip about how great they are.
Shawn refers to Axe Body Spray as "like catnip for women." Juliet gives an approving nod.
Apple products are featured throughout the series in notable ways: Shawn's iPhone is used in virtually every episode to a large extent and often written specifically into the plot. For example, in one episode, the main character talks several times with Siri, referring to her by name. Another episode goes so far as to actually replace Shawn's physical presence with an iPad, through which the character takes part in the action. The FaceTime brand name comes up several times. The whole episode appears to be written around the product.
Puppy Bowl is filled to the brim with ads. The Kitty Halftime Show always ends with a massive shower of confetti, followed by the referee using an explicitly name brand vacuum to clean up before the puppies take the field again. Puppy Bowl VII also features the same referee taking a break to enjoy breath mints, acting like they single-handedly restore all his energy, and 'celebrity cheerleaders' on the sidelines hawking a new animal movie.
The Argentine soap Rebelde Way doesn't miss a chance to promote some snack food or another. Amusing because it puts the characters momentarily way out of character, and because it's nearly impossible for someone who doesn't live in Argentina to determine what's the fuss about.
Revolution: Not a smartphone, but "You still carry around an iPhone?". Made a little funny when you realize that Aaron used to work for Google - makers of the Android smartphone OS. Not that it works, anyway. Maggie only carries the phone around for sentimental value. You get to see the iPhone in the pilot episode, episode 2, episode 3, and episode 4.
Rizzoli & Isles: The producers are strikingly honest about the show's contract with MGD 64 and the ensuing, blatantly straightforward product placements, ranging from background billboards through use of the product and all the way to having the characters "casually" deliver dialogue borrowed from the product's actual commercials ("How is it you're still single?").
Ros na Rún: Tigh Tadhg is full of ads for Beamish.
RuPaul's Drag Race is not shy or subtle about its product placement. However, several things keep this from being too obnoxious: most of the brands the show plugs are either gay-owned like AlAndChuck.travel, specifically market to the gay community like Absolut Vodka, or are companies that Ru has worked with for years like MAC Cosmetics.
Scandal seems to take place in an alternate timeline where not only does a Republican president pursue Democratic issues, but the Windows Phone seems to have obliterated both iOS and Android; all the phones and tablets in the show are Nokia or Samsung products running the tile-heavy OS. Naturally, How to Get Away with Murder also uses plenty of Windows products, with Apple products receiving a generic version.
A Mac is always seen in the background of Jerry's apartment.
They once based an entire episode around the premise that a Kenny Rogers' Roasters restaurant has opened across the street from their apartment building. At first, the placement is inverted, as Kramer is being driven mad by the gigantic garish neon sign that gives his entire apartment a red glow and keeps him up all night. But then, as soon as Kramer actually tastes the chicken, he loves it.
In another, Kramer tries to convince Jerry to eat a Junior Mint as they watch an operation, and Jerry pushing it away results in it falling into the patient's operating cavity. It's later hinted that this saved his life. Plus, Kramer's line right afterwards: "Who's gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It's chocolate, it's peppermint, it's delicious! It's very refreshing!" An outtake even has Jerry turning to the camera and acting like they're doing a commercial.
In another episode, Elaine becomes addicted to Jujyfruits. They are not sold outside the US, so many viewers thought they were a fictional product.
Sex and the City: The producers always make sure we see the Apple logo on Carrie's notebook whenever she's typing her column. It's subverted in "My Motherboard, Myself" when it finally crashes, we see the bomb on the screen and we learn that most of her hard drive is lost. At the end she learns to back up her data externally.
"Clark, my Yaris gets great mileage." "Your super-speed's out of gas, so take my Yaris." Yaris, Yaris, YARIS. It's almost as bad as the Stride placement detailed below.
This only scratches the surface of Smallville's frequent car product placement. Clark, whose family struggles with paying the bills are frequent plot points, has been shown driving several brand-spanking-new trucks well beyond his means, to include a shiny red Toyota Tundra in "Progeny" and a shiny blue Toyota Tundra in "Hero" (though maybe he just sprung for a new paint job, because those are cheap). Even worse is Lois Lane using her brand new Ford Fusion to distract a guard in "Solitude" by showing off its amazing features.
In one particular episode, Pete returns to the show in full force after a three-year absence, in an episode called "Hero", which is pretty much a drawn-out Product Placement scheme for Stride Gum. The gum actually has a point in the episode — it gets contaminated with Kryptonite and gives Pete super stretching powers — so it's shown much more often than the average Product Placement item. Also, Stride gum is mentioned by name over and over, never "gum" but always "Stride," and even one mention of how long the flavor supposedly lasts. At the end, a cured Pete offers Chloe some, holding it up to show the logo exactly as a person in a commercial would, and says "It's Kryptonite-free" as if that was its slogan. The entire episode is basically an hour-long Stride commercial with the cast of Smallville along for the ride.
Smallville doesn't just pimp gum; it advertises everything else to the point that (before he was Put on a Bus) Pete was nicknamed 'Product Placement Pete' by Television Without Pity for mentioning everything from Lemon Pledge to a shameless push of the Smallville soundtrack, in character, to boot! After he leaves, though, the Product Placement remains glaringly obvious, with Chloe saying things like "We'll take my Yaris." rather than "Let's use my car." and the directors seemingly going out of their way to show unnecessary close-ups of the characters' cell phones as they dial, to show off the nifty Verizon logos.
The most extreme examples of their glut of product placements include a melodramatic locker room scene before the Big Game where the camera lingers on Clark's Old Spice Red Zone deodorant in "Jinx", the Angel of Vengeance's use of Acuvue contact lenses when supersuited up in "Vengeance" (to which Chloe painfully states "Acuvue to the rescue!"), and a Product Promotion Parade in "Noir" where Jimmy Olsen plays Chloe a goodbye playlist by hooking up his Apple iPod to her Toyota Yaris before snapping a farewell photo of them using his Nikon Coolpix camera. It's a testament to the durability of product placements that all of these were recalled from memory. Ugh.
Stargate Atlantis: In the episode "Vegas", during an exchange between Sheppard and McKay, McKay tells Sheppard that he knows his favourite flavour of gum (spearmint), which Sheppard believes to be a bluff. In reaction to this, McKay whips out a slightly beaten-up pack of Stride spearmint gum from his jacket and throws it out on the table in front of him. Nobody says anything about the brand, so it is possible that either this is a typical Stargate subtle product placement, or it was just that a package of Stride gum was what was available to them.
This also happens when the stranded Earth expedition continually whip out the latest Dell gear for months on end, even before the Daedalus reaches them. This is Truth in Television: Any movie or show featuring a government organization must have Dells if it wants to be accurate. NASA and the military are the biggest users of Dell products, as Dell has one of the best support systems for failed equipment, saving the tax payers money. Chances are, if the film features the government, there will be Dell products.
In the Groundhog Day episode, Colonel O'Neill and Teal'c hit golfballs through the stargate with name-brand golf equipment prominently displayed. Rule of Cool, though.
Stargate SG-1 is guilty of this extremely subtly, as Samantha Carter is always seen either using a Dell Inspiron laptop or, in the later seasons, a Dell XPS laptop.
Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad: The computer scenes always show enough of the edge of the monitor for a very large and prominent Compaq logo to be displayed.
Bow to Survivor, lesser reality shows, for it is king of this.
Reward Challenge rewards have included camp-building supplies from Home Depot, Budweiser beer, Charmin-brand toilet paper, family messages on Sprint smartphones, so on, and so forth. A 2011 challenge required using Sears' Craftsman tools at each stage of a relay race. And not only are the products prominently branded, but host Jeff Probst is careful to mention the brand at every opportunity. Advertisers get their money's worth from Survivor!
One of Survivor's (specifically Survivor Outback) most infamous moments actually revolves around one of the products offered as a contestant prize — the then-new Pontiac Aztek, which was not only paired with an immunity award during the actual show (which the winner also got to sleep in) but was also thrown in as prizes for the ultimate winner and winner-up. The winning contestant of the first prized Aztek won't stop gushing about its "amenities," though perhaps it's understandable giving how he had been stuck in the Australian Outback. Now looked upon as a Hilarious in Hindsight moment for how the car ultimately fell with a dud louder than the Edsel and for just how gawd awful the Aztek looks.
Perhaps most embarrassing of all is the time that a reward was a pre-screening of the soon-to-flop Jack Black film adaptation of Gulliver's Travels, in which we get a ton of obviously staged shots of the winners laughing and saying things like "He's fat!" Then at Tribal Council they discuss the film like it's some deep philosophical piece. Worst of all is that the timing of when the season was filmed made it obvious that they couldn't actually be watching the finished film, and at best were just seeing a few scenes.
They did this again in Season 23 with the movie Jack and Jill. This included shots of the contestants laughing at scenes that contained no actual jokes.
Teen Wolf: Everyone in Beacon Hills shops at Macy's. Everyone. They also really like Canon cameras, Macintosh computers, Samsung phones, Adidas clothing, and Pandora. They are occasionally subtle, but often fairly obvious.
Today: Smuckers sponsors the 100th birthday shout-outs helmed by semi-retired weatherman Willard Scott.
1968 had an odd one for milk (with then-host Hugh Downs) and the now-defunct National Observer newspaper (then–co-host Barbara Walters) after the Today show crew had taken over coverage of the 1968 U.S. presidential election (which was still up for grabs at that point).
Top Shot on The History Channel gives away a Bass Pro Shops $2,000 gift card for the winner of an elimination challenge. This is separate from the $100,000 cash prize for being the last man standing; a contestant could win one or more of the gift cards but not win the grand prize. Conversely, the grand prize winner might never end up in an elimination challenge and thus never win any gift cards.
Total normal was supposedly sponsored by Mitropa, and Hape Kerkeling would repeatedly present and give away coffee machines manufactured by them. It's actually a catering company, primarily working on trains.
2012 has so many, including Bentley, Sony Vaio laptops, and Goodnites.
Although The Ultimate Fighter is one giant advertisement for the UFC, The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil features the notable inclusion of blatant product placement for a variety of brands, in contrast to the American version. Sponsors are listed by the coaches during their speeches to contestants. Whole scenes are dedicated to showing fighters shaving using the featured brand products from a promotional display beside their sink. There's even a scene of a coach holding a team meeting to pass out and praise a nutritional supplement. Apparently not just content to push brands, another fighter shows up to deliver a public service announcement to the fighters about avoiding infection from stagnant water in potted plants.
The Vampire Diaries has some of the mostpainfully obvious Product Placement, though The CW as a whole is a major offender, including using Bing for searching online, AT&T for getting online(MiFi) or texting with their phones, or using Skype/MSN to video chat! It's nigh impossible to find a episode that isn't so shameless.
Victorious has the Gears of War logo on Jade's bag strap. Later in the series, the placement is gone, possibly because the executives didn't want to advertise an M-rated franchise in a kids' show.
One of the show's sponsors is Hyundai, and their Tucson compact SUV is featured in the second season. Hyundai even created a "zombie survival machine" based on their Elantra compact as part of their cross-promotion with the show.
The Gerber blade company also sponsors the show. Whenever a combat knife, hatchet, machete, or other bladed weapon is used on the show, expect to see the Gerber logo and their distinctive black-and-orange coloring.
During the second season, they show Twizzlers-brand licorice in several episodes. One episode has Myka saying she was "a Twizzlers girl", and another episode has a prolonged shot of her taking a Twizzler out of a package.
Claudia comments on the Toyota Prius in Season 3 Episode 1. It's even taken to the point of parody. Jinks becomes increasingly annoyed during the scene as Claudia ignores his questions in order to list off the features of the car.
Throughout seasons 3 and 4, the Prius plugs recur but take on an increasingly irreverent tone, such as Steve starting to shill the car's features only for Artie to sharply rebuke him for doing something so frivolous while they're in the middle of looking for a dangerous artifact. Or when Pete and Claudia are stopped by a massive fissure in the road and Pete asks if Claudia thinks the car could make the jump, she sarcastically responds "yeah, and we can use Bing to figure out just how deep the gorge is." It seems that the writers eventually either became tired of or annoyed by the requirement to have in-universe Prius ads and decided to make them as dumb, useless, and non-serious as possible.
In Season 3 Episode 3, a plot point involves computer chain store Tiger Direct.
In The West Wing, the cast drinks quite a lot of Schweppes Bitter Lemon.
White Collar spends some time shilling for Ford. "This is a Taurus, it can take care of itself. I'm keeping my eyes on you."
The Wire: In addition to the general examples above, there are often conspicuous shots of brand-name fast food lying around in the many shots of police stakeouts throughout the series. Likely Truth in Television, as there's just as many verbal and visual references to generic local Baltimore cuisine.
The Wiz Live!: Addaperle the Good Witch of the North informs Dorothy that Apple produced her Magic Slate (which the musical upgrades from an unbranded chalk slate, used by the Good Witch in the original book of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, to an electronic tablet). However, audiences don't see an Apple logo on the slate, due to it having a cover color-coordinated with Addaperle's dress.
"Hungry Like the Wolf Dog" has the guys get lost in the woods, with a bag of Jack Link's Beef Jerky as their only source of food. Not only do they show the bag multiple times, but they name check the product constantly, even after the jerky is gone. Guess who one of the show's biggest sponsors is?
The episode "Miss BS" opens with the guys eating burgers from Carl's Jr. (or Hardee's, depending on where you live), with the logo in clear view of the camera. There's even a gag where Blake loudly proclaims how delicious the buns are, which causes a young woman to think he's talking about her butt. Later in the episode, they try to bribe a Latina gangster into helping them by giving her a Carl's Jr. gift card.
"Snackers" is an entire episode about the guys trying to get a hold of their office's Costco card so they can buy snacks. It even contains a scene where Adam describes how amazing Costco is while the other guys lovingly talk about all the awesome things you can buy there.
As of Season 4, the plugging for Carl's Jr./Hardee's seems to be a regular thing. Oftentimes, you can see one of the guys guzzling soda out of a cup with the restaurant's logo on it.
In the episode where the guys open up an illegal casino in their house, Adam is seen giving free Slim Jims to all the guests. He even uses the "Step into a Slim Jim!" slogan.
The second episode featured Ders dating a girl because her dad had a Cadillac Escalade. As soon as he's allowed to drive it, he completely ignores her and spends the rest of the episode gushing over the car. This is especially offbeat given the praise he heaps upon his Volvo, which he considers the perfect car.
The X Factor got in trouble for this. Remember how the main page said product placement was illegal until 2011? During season 3, 5 years before the ban was repealed, the Spin-Off show The Xtra Factor showed a viewer's text on a mobile phone which was held right up to the camera... a phone made by the show's official sponsor Nokia.
X-Play was apparently required to plug Gamefly.com Once an Episode, usually after a review of a mediocre game. They had fun with it, however, by making the segue to the plug as blatantly obvious as possible. In a later-run episode, they make further fun of it — Adam begins shilling for the show's website, but Morgan launches into her Gamefly.com plugging by accident.
Silicon Valley: Season 5 has a season-long arc about Tesla automobiles. Dinesh buys a Tesla, crows about its selling points, and tries to sell more Teslas to other coworkers so he can get a referral perk with the company. Ultimately a Tesla's "ludicrous speed" setting solves a crisis for the company.
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee: The show is sponsored by a car manufacturer. In one episode, Jerry and his guest walk pat a parked car made by that company, and Jerry nonchalantly notes that it's product placement.
Averted in the first episode: Jack's loving description of the GE Trivection Oven seems like a parody product placement (i.e., that GE—which owned NBC at the time—was forcing the writers to mention the oven, which they proceeded to do in the most ridiculous way possible), especially because ads for the oven aired during the initial broadcast, but it's purely a joke based on how ridiculous the writers thought the oven was. The joke is so good, GE actually felt forced to take out ad time during the airing of the episode to convince viewers that the product is real.
The episode "Jack-Tor", in which the characters deal with product placement on the Show Within The Show, cleverly lampshades the use of product placement on the actual show.
Jack: These Verizon Wireless phones are just so popular, I accidentally grabbed one belonging to an acquaintance. Liz: Well, sure, 'cause that Verizon Wireless service is just unbeatable. I mean, if I saw a phone like that on TV, I'd be, like, "Where is my nearest retailer so I can get one?" [looks straight into the camera] Can we have our money now?
Other products that are "Product Placed" on 30 Rock include Snapple and the Suggie.
Liz: It's not product placement, I just like how it feels!
Jack gets in on the act himself in the Live Episode, shilling for Capitol One:
Jack:[on a suggestion to drop TGS' product placement for Capitol One to do something for Liz on her 40th] Oh, you can't do that, the Capitol One Venture Card is amazing. [looking into camera] They give double miles every day for every purchase. [cut to guy wearing cap and shirt saying "Promotional consideration furnished by Capitol One"]
The pilot has a running gag in which a giant "www.(Ford logo).com" shows up in the bottom of the screen every time Angie and Geils get into or out of their car (which is a different Ford each time). When they're out of car scenes, it just randomly shows up while they're in the office.
In "The Famous Ventriloquist Did It," Tanner and Geils spend a good minute talking about how a Snickers candy bar really satisfies.
Arrested Development: Two characters meet at Burger King and discuss how a show within a show is getting a big endorsement from the restaurant for mentioning its name. Naturally, the conversation itself features the characters repeatedly saying the name "Burger King" (while cutting away at the restaurant exterior to do a close up on the logo) and hawking the restaurant's services like free drink refills, until even the narrator joins in. Indeed, the writers originally were going to call this episode "Tendercrisp Chicken Comedy Half-Hour," after the sandwich heavily advertised in background signage.
Tobias: It's a wonderful restaurant. Narrator: It sure is.
A Bit of Fry and Laurie: One episode was filled with references to something called "Tidyman's Carpets", in the most ham-fisted way possible.
Fry: Hello, and welcome to "A Bit of Fry and Tidyman's".
Stephen Colbert dubbed his 2008 presidential run the "Hail To The Cheese Stephen Colbert's Nacho Cheese Doritos 2008 Presidential Campaign", until it was pointed out that Federal election laws prohibit direct sponsorship of campaigns, whereupon it was changed to the "Hail To The Cheese Stephen Colbert's Nacho Cheese Doritos 2008 Presidential Campaign Coverage". Frito-Lay never actually paid him anything.
He spends several months mentioning the iPhone at every possible opportunity in the hope that Apple will send him one for free. Apple did.
Axe Body Spray, the character having sold his soul to various corporations in order to get sponsorship that will keep the show going in light of the financial meltdown.
His habit of drinking Sierra Mist, however, is not product placement. It is just the best way to quench your thirst. Ahhh.... refreshing Sierra Mist.
While interviewing the anti-establishment and anti-corporation band Radiohead, Colbert sits in a "Dr. Pepper Flavor Corner" chair and invites the band to help endorse the sponsor, which they decline.
Colbert launches a Take That! against his own sponsor Wheat Thins by airing their list of demands for how to endorse the products. Colbert begins to pointedly break the rules before the broadcast is cut.
Community features a KFC-sponsored spaceship simulator in one episode. Naturally, this is lampshaded, not to mention a sub-plot in season three involving a character literally named Subway.
The second segment on Conan occasionally involves Conan and Andy plugging a real life sponsor, usually with awkward grins and always with some sort of ridiculous skit about it.
Back when it existed, the ITC (the UK's Independent Television Commission) once ran a commercial lambasting Product Placement, showing a mock Aussie soap scene that focuses more on the beer than the plot. The UK only just then drew up rules for product placement years later in 2010.
Home Improvement avoids this trope by having Tim's Show Within a ShowTool Time sponsored by the fictional tool company Binford Tools. Whenever Tim uses a tool, he announces that it's a Binford. However, this causes Tool Time to comes across within the world of the show as a trumped-up infomercial for Binford rather than an honest, educational home improvement program.
The episode "The Great Recession" features an opening scene set in Dave & Busters restaurant that discusses the establishment a lot, leading into the main plot of the story. It's fairly tongue-in-cheek, as the clueless and low-class gang seems to think that D&B is a fine dining establishment, ordering steak and red wine while marveling that "you can't find a better steak in an arcade environment!"
After several seasons of drinking Brand X beer, Coors beer bottles seem to become quite common at Paddy's, and one joke is about how the illiterate Charlie believes that the "Closed" neon sign is an ad for "delicious Coors."
Several episodes in one season feature Subway, including one where Dennis and Dee meet dates at Subway and another where Dee sneaks out of her delivery room to get a Subway sandwich.
Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge spoofs the levels to which some television personalities will stoop to shill products; every episode features the host, Alan Partridge, hawking cheap tat with a complete lack of subtlety. However, as Alan worked for The BBC — which takes quite a dim view of these kind of practices, being a public broadcaster with strict rules about this sort of thing — this gradually becomes a plot point; the Christmas Special focuses heavily on Alan's increasingly feeble attempts to discreetly sell Rover cars under the nose of his savvy boss, who is a guest on the same show.
Last Comic Standing tried to play it straight by having a minion from the then-upcoming Despicable Me show up as an auditionee. It might not have been a good idea to do that with a judging panel of Deadpan Snarkers.
Natasha: I can't wait to see Steve Carrell in Despicable Me starring Steve Carell...Steve Carell.
One of the Adventure Call sketches from Limmy's Show is just a lengthy advertisement for a soda called Barry's Red Cola.
Malcolm in the Middle has Malcolm and Reese buying a huge pile of fireworks from a Phantom Fireworks stand, topped off with the massive "Komodo 3000". The company and the product both actually exist, although the latter is probably not quite as powerful in real life as it is memorably depicted in the show.
In the episode "Living Will", the characters remark on the wonders of Raisin Bran, Applebee's, and Radioshack.
MythBusters genericizes any products it uses (except for a few cases, such as Mentos and Diet Coke for the Mentos and Diet Coke myth) by using blurring or sleeves with the MythBusters logo, and occasionally has short segments endorsing "blur" or "MythBusters" brand products.
In Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations while covering Singapore, he declares that the food in the Hyatt™ chain of hotels over there does not suck. During the segment he makes passing remarks about how he's endorsing the establishment for free and wants to get in on the endorsement act like so many other celebrities eventually give into. Which he does, sort of, in the next segment by posing with some items in front of one of his professional photographer friends.
Only Fools and Horses parodies this with Rodney's film having about two hundred extras and two more pages of businesses to advertise in film, thanks to Del Boy seeing a money aking opportunity. This includes a sauna business and an undertaker.
The Real Husbands of Hollywood parodies this when Kevin Hart complains that his friends aren't wearing Armani suits on camera, as he has an expensive product placement deal with the company. Boris then looks into the camera and does a plug for his own clothing line, which only serves to further infuriate Kevin.
Seinfeld actually inverts this. Given the predominance of Product Placement in the current media landscape, most assume that the show just did it to get money. Actually, the Product Placement in Seinfeld broke a lot of sitcom etiquette by actually mentioning specific products, and the writers had to lobby for permission to use the names of real products. Why? The Contemplating Our Navels conversations that Seinfeld is famous for are based on Real Life diction, and such diction is extremely clunky to recreate with an abstract Brand X. As an example, one episode involves George Costanza attempting to prove that someone took his candy bar impugning a suspect's description of candy bars. By using actual candy bars, the viewer can base her own experiences with that candy bar in interpreting how the characters on screen react to it. The incidental Product Placement in Seinfeld is actually a large reason why Product Placement in general has become so popular in the modern age. Prior to Seinfeld, ad executives were far more worried about negative association than, in retrospect, they should have been. One of the clip shows features a two minute montage of the cast mentioning brand names such as Drake's Cakes, Chunky bars, Snapple, Yoohoo, and, of course, Junior Mints.
One episode most likely plays this for laughs when you see Chibs drinking Jameson Irish Whiskey, packaged in a juice box, leading the viewers to ask "Where can I get those?"
After a few seasons, SAMCRO suddenly seems to really like Miller beer, as the bottles start popping up everywhere. In one particular scene, Unser asks for beer in the middle of the day. Jax says, "Is it Miller Time already?" He then opens up a fridge that is completely filled with Miller bottles.
Sons of Guns has the Red Jacket crew using Magpul-brand parts accessories for the majority of their custom-built guns.
Supernatural: Sam's Verizon Motorola Q8 phone gets a lot of screen time during season 2, even being the means of seeing ghosts in "Hollywood Babylon".
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: John Henry loves to play with his Bionicles. He also frequently tells other characters about the mythology of the Bionicle world. It also becomes important to the story: You see, Bionicles have almost exclusively ball-and-socket joints, which are extremely useful. John Henry can't understand why God would design humans with hinge joints instead.
They Think It's All Over: Team captain Gary Lineker was the face of Walker's Crisps when the series began airing, a fact he would sometimes comically shoehorn into episodes whether the situation called for it or not. In the No Holds Barred video edition, his kit for the "school sports day", in which he competes with fellow regulars David Gower, Lee Hurst, and Rory McGrath, is covered in Walker's logos, and his sack for the sack race is styled to look like a giant bag of crisps.
Top Gear parodies the concept a couple of times, always starting off with a Lampshade Hanging citing BBC policy which prohibits advertising:
In one episode, Top Gear manages to borrow a Ferrari Enzo from Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, but only under the condition that they plug his book. Jeremy Clarkson then mentions that he told Mason they can't do that, but he'll "slide in a couple of references no one will notice". The review segment has Jeremy Clarkson interviewing Nick Mason while both of them are holding the book, in a slightly forced, exaggerated and stereotypical manner not unlike the most blatant plugs on a TV program. Clarkson also uses references to Pink Floyd albums in his review of the Enzo, and the Stig has the car's stereo playing Another Brick in The Wall, Part II while he does the hot lap. At the end of the day, Top Gear manages to review the Enzo, Mason gets his book plugged, and the audience gets a good laugh out of the blatant product placement on television. Eeerybody wins! Yay Top Gear!
When they did the 24-hour Britcar race, they weren't allowed to have sponsor decals on their car. Instead, they added logos of made-up sponsors Larsen's Biscuits and Penistone Oils, with Clarkson saying they wanted to "look more authentic." Top Gear being Top Gear, they "accidentally" placed the decals in such a way that if the car's doors were swung open, the letters would read "Arse Biscuits" and "Penis". Throughout the segment, the team was shown talking while resting their elbows on the car's open doors for the purposes of "sponsor airtime".
In true Top Gear fashion, during the wide shot where we can see the "offending" words, Richard Hammond says "I want people to take us seriously."
Clarkson and Hammond are frustrated in one episode after they go to see a race in Russia, but find that every angle from every bar they went to has the the view blocked by the latest Audi having been obviously positioned in the foreground. This is then parodied in the episode (and the episode after it) when a host is introducing the next segment from behind the same type of Audi, or the introduction appears normal until an Audi is conspicuously pushed into view.
The Great British Bake Off: Defied Trope per BBC rules, which didn't stop the show getting in trouble for showing the logo of the fridges too prominently by mistake. A deal was reached whereby the editing would be fixed and the makers would stop advertising themselves "as seen on the Great British Bakeoff" on their website.