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 drank the juice when ill and immediately felt 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 has 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)
One year later, the Nurses' Ball is proudly sponsored by Yoplait Greek Yogurt.
Obviously, any Game Show, such as Lets 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(that still at least mentioned the brand in an informational context) with actual paid promotion, they've since been replaced by generic descriptions with no brand name mentioned at all for products that are not the subject of paid advertising.
Meanwhile, an Australian revival took this Up to Eleven to promote the Wal Mart-like store Big W by literally having its name on every prop.
During the mid-'90s, 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 was closer to a show's setting or filming location). Most did them without complaint and simply moved on. However, there was one revolt. The cast and crew of Roseanne didn't like being forced to make an hour-long Disney World commercial (it was a two-parter, but they didn't reach Disney World until part 2.) A little while later, they make an episode that is a thinly-veiled and scathing Take 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, adding in some unsettling Nazi overtones.)
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. These are probably more in line with a Shout-Out or Take That than product endorsements.
Jack Bauer and associates will always drive the model of car that is their 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 has been featured rather prominently in the last couple seasons. Admittedly, it's kind of amusing watching Cisco Systems trying to be sexy.
During the early run, all the good guys used Macs and the bad guys generic Wintel boxes. Recently the good guys started using HP computers. In the fourth season, the terrorists used 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.
Characters all used Nokia cell phones with the "Nokia Tune" ring for 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, villains grab the nearest small car that easily corner the 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.
It has, on a few occasions, featured 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 was contestants getting an email from America Online.
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!
American Dreams: Had so many examples it would take too long to list them all. First they had modern musicians singing classics almost every week and then there was, well, just about every product ever listed on the show. Fortunately because the show was somewhat built around nostalgia it tended 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 "Feildings"(AKA Budweiser) being the only beer that seemed to exist even in Viet Nam did tended to bug. Also Sarah Ramos had to get sick of saying "Campbell's Tomato Soup" about halfway through season three.
American Idol: If it were up to the execs who broadcast this show, everybody would own a Ford and drink nothing but Coca-Cola all day. Mad TV spoofed 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.
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.
The Biggest Loser: Frequently has the trainers recommend low-calorie foods and weight-loss products to the contestants.
Big Love: Included a bunch in the first episode, including a plug for Land's End delivered by the youngest boy in the family.
They pimp 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 just recently, 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. At this rate, a Toyota's going to be added to the main cast by the beginning of next season.
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'd be enough room, Cam pointedly comments "it'll be fine, there's plenty of room!" This scene also features an example of Of Corpse He's Alive.
Then there was 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 Microsooft provides "compensation".
The episode "The Gamer in the Grease" had 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 had him miss the film entirely as he was too busy hooking up with a hot geek girl on line.
The first series was all about Sam's Cadillac. Series 2 glorified a Saab; one crucial high speed chase in the summer finale of season two turned on the Saab's outstanding Electronic Braking System. Sam later lost his Caddy, and Fi sold the Saab in the season three midseason finale.
There was also an episode where Michael basically gave a Combat Commentary about how the car he was using for a high-speed chase was ideal and listed down its features.
Then there was the one where the electronic stability control in a Saab convertible proved useful to Fiona's skills as a wheelman.
They had 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. 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.
Henley cigarettes are also mentioned, but (unlike the three drinks) that brand no longer exists, "product placement" is probably not an issue.
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. In later episodes, the iPhone seems to pop up in just about every scene.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Las Vegas): Features the GMC Yukon Denali S.U.V.: the logo is readable on screen and it's even been mentioned by name a few times. On the other hand, with nearly everything else, their production crew has been 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've used "SendEx" a few times, complete with similar-but-different logo.
Damages: An early episode saw 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...
They had an unusual one in Pizza Pizza, a Toronto-based regional chain that's ubiquitous in that city and throughout Ontario but doesn't really exist in the rest of 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 appeared in almost every episode (including a character who was 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 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.
An early example was the sponsorship of the second movie in 1966 by Sugar Puffs, leading to out-of-place posters advertising the cereal in a supposed post-apocalyptic world.
The new series gave Rose Tyler a Nokia 3200 mobile phone, which was 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 that they used a recognisable prop than it being product placement (ie: 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; a few years ago, 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 moved away from the Macs-are-cool trope, featuring Dell desktop computers instead.
Driving Force: One episode of this reality show had two people eating KFC and blatantly plugging it — to the point where one of them read the nutritional facts panel to declare "It has zero trans fat".
One late episode of was 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 cars stats instantly upon seeing it. Safe to say Eureka doesn't take their product placement too seriously.
Lampshaded on 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 is actually sponsoring 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 slowy roasting the town. Anyway, 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.
Excused: This reality dating show explicitly promotes a number of products on different episodes, including Dentyne Gum and Black Star Beer.
Extreme Makeover Home Edition: The 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.)
FlashForward (2009): Whenever any character, particularly Mark Benton, had to make or receive a call on their cell, the show always made sure we saw that it was 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: Had 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, and has 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. The second may not have been product placement— the joke was that the recipe was 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 had the characters use video calls to talk about the features of the cars they were driving. These instead were 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 enabled said family to escape.
They had plenty of product placement (as it was created as part of a family-friendly programming initiative backed by major advertisers), but thankfully it was 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 had 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 was about to get a bottle of water from an...Aquafina stand (OK), but a woman in front of her got it first and instantly won cash instead of Lorelai, which Rory rubbed into her mother pretty hard. It was 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 featured 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.
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 had 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 had the sole unironic use of the phrase "Bing it" (rather than "Google it") in human history.
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 featured 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 is starting to bleed into the commercials. During Season 4, there was a short commercial which was 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 has 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've also done it for Chuck, showing Morgan, Ellie and Devon on the way to the Winter Games in a Honda.
Home Improvement: Made use of this trope in the Show Within a Show "Tool Time", where Tim and Al often plugged products by the fictional Binford hardware company. One episode dealt with Tim's reluctance to promote an inferior Binford product on his show.
The episode "Gut Check" featured a lingering shot of Wilson's Ford Taurus's logo, and then transitioned 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) use 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 featured toys and movies posters heavily for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The posters were not commented on, however they made great use of the toy Wolverine claws in several scenes. Additionally, "toy guy" also used Nerf weapons, which is made by the same company who made toys for the Wolverine movie.
Jericho: Showed just how good a cell-phone company can really be: Sprint maintained 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.)
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.
LOST: 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: For a show involving an advertising firm, this trope is expected to hit very 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.
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 was 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.
Modern Family has an entire episode about 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.
The show in general can be pretty disgusting about this. 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.
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 was only the beginning: In the following three seasons, Natalie went through six cars, one of which was the aforementioned Buick Lucerne. Among others that were almost certainly product placement were 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 featured a scene where Monk was returning to the hotel room in which he was staying with only one bag of cleaning supplies. Natalie reassured a hotel employee that having only one bag was like giving the hotel five stars. Other scenes included a uniformed Sleep Inn employee as a minor character.
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 has featured 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 featured Cisco's failed Cius tablet.
NBC's New Year's Eve special for 2014 with Carson Daly had some subtle, 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 The show 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): One of the few shows to be realistic about the preponderance of PCs vs. Macs in real life settings is this show, in which the office computers were Dells earlier and Gateways later, as you'd expect to see in many similar real offices. Since Acer bought the latter, its logo has become more common.
Pawn Stars: Has some SHAMELESS plugs in some episodes for Subway sandwiches. Chumlee one episode 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 Oldman that the breakfast sandwiches are "delicious", and when Rick notes how fat and out of shape Corey and Chum both are, he gets them some healthy and nutritious Subway sandwiches.
Pretty Little Liars: In the early episodes, Aria is seen repeatedly with a Microsoft Kin phone and it always highlighted the Facebook stream very obviously. It also helps that texting is a major plot point in the series.
Psych: Has many examples, given Shawn's eccentric tendencies, this is relatively believable for him.
In a few early episodes, the main characters uses an Alienware laptop.
They hysterically place an ad for Dunkin' Donuts in an 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 Apple-brand phone 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 time with the speech recognition software "Siri" calling it by name. Another episode goes so far to actually replace Shawn's physical presence by an Apple brand tablet computer through which the character takes part in the action. The brand of video chat software used for this is mentioned several times. The whole episode appears to be written around the product.
Puppy Bowl: The show 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 featured the same referee taking a break to enjoy breath mints, acting like they single-handedly restored all his energy, and 'celebrity cheerleaders' on the sidelines hawking a new animal movie.
Rebelde Way: This Argentine soap doesn't miss a chance to promote some snack food or another. Amusing because it places the characters momentarily way out of character and because it's nearly impossible as a foreigner 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 have been 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.
In the worlds of Series/Scandal and The Mindy Project, the only cell phones existing in their entire universe are Nokia handsets running the Windows Phone operating system, and even a faux-Apple computer is nowhere to be found.
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 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 made sure we saw the Apple logo on Carrie's notebook whenever she was typing her column. It was subverted in "My Motherboard, Myself" when it finally crashed, we saw the bomb on the screen and we learned that most of her hard drive was lost. At the end she learned to back up her data externally.
Shark Tank: Later episodes have prominently featured one or more T-Mobile devices.
"Clark, my Yaris gets great mileage." "Your super-speed's out of gas, so take my Yaris." Yaris, Yaris, YARIS. It was 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 was 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 returned to the show in full force after a three-year absence, in an episode called "Hero", which was pretty much a drawn-out Product Placement scheme for Stride Gum. The gum actually had a point in the episode — it got contaminated with Green Rocks and gave Pete super stretching powers — so it was shown much more often than the average Product Placement item. Also, Stride gum was 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 was 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 left, though, the Product Placement remained 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 Smallville's 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 I was able to recall all of these 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), to 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.
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 win.
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 showed enough of the edge of the monitor for a very large and prominent Compaq logo to be displayed.
Survivor: 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 wouldn'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 looked.
Hilariously enough, its platform was used on the Buick Rendezvous as well, released in the same year. This luxury version, which did not share the same hideous design, was actually credited with saving the Buick brand!
Perhaps most embarrassing of all was 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 got a ton of obviously staged shots of the winners laughing and saying things like "He's fat!" Then at Tribal Council they discussed the film like it was 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.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: The second season features the 2009 Dodge Ram extensively, including showing off its many handy storage compartments and GPS system.
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.
Also, 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: The History Channel's game show 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.
The Ultimate Fighter: Although this show is one giant advertisement for the UFC, The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil features the notable inclusion of very 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 Jade's bag have the Gears of War logo in her bag strap. Later in the series, the placement was gone.
One of their 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 have been showing Twizzlers brand licorice in several episodes. One episode had Myka saying she was "a Twizzlers girl", and another episode had 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.
In Season 3 Episode 3, a plot point involves computer chain store Tiger Direct.
The West Wing: The cast drink rather a lot of Schweppes Bitter Lemon.
White Collar: Spent 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.
Who Wants to Be a Superhero?: A truly painful example comes from this show, where "Erin eSurance" (the Kim Possible knock-off mascot from online insurance company eSurance) is digitally inserted into the show itself as a Voice with an Internet Connection guide to one mission. The contestants managed to be nonchalant about it, even though they were essentially getting instructions from a walking advertisement.
"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 Hardees, 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./Hardees 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.
X-Play: This show is apparently required to plug Gamefly.com Once an Episode, usually after a review of a mediocre game. They have fun with it, however, by making the segue to the plug as blatantly obvious as possible. In a recent episode, they made further fun of it — Adam begins shilling for the show's Web site, but Morgan launches into her Gamefly.com plugging by accident.
The episode "Jack-Tor", in which the characters' dealt with product placement on the Show Within The Show, cleverly lampshaded 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 got 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"]
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".
His coverage of his own 2008 presidential run was "sponsored by Nacho Cheese Doritos" until it was pointed out that Federal election laws prohibit direct sponsorship of campaigns, so he changed it to sponsorship of the coverage of his campaign. Frito-Lay never actually paid him anything.
He spent several months mentioning the iPhone at every possible opportunity in the hope that Apple would 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 sat in a "Dr Pepper Flavor Corner" chair and invited the band to help endorse the sponsor, which they declined.
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: One episode features a KFC-sponsored spaceship simulator. Naturally, this is lampshaded, not to mention a sub-plot in season three involving a character literally named Subway.
Conan O'Brien: 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.
Home and Away commercial: Back when it existed, the ITC (the UK's Independent Television Commission) once ran this lambasting Product Placement, showing a mock Aussie soap scene that focuses more on the beer than the plot. Flash forward to 2010, and the UK is just now drawing up rules for product placement.
Impractical Jokers: While the show has it in the background when they get to set a challenge in Ikea, White Castle, and so forth, one extremely obvious example centered around a Kellogg cereal taste test and questions.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The episode "The Great Recession" drew controversy for having a Dave & Busters restaurant feature heavily in plot, as well as repeated plugs for Coors beer. The creators claim the Dave & Busters segments were intentionally tongue-in-cheek as a nod to the growing need for product placement during the economic recession, while the fact that FX aired a bunch of Coors promos during the commercial breaks was a complete accident.
Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge: Spoofs the levels that some television personalities will stoop too to shill products; every episode featured 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 became a plot point; the Christmas Special focused heavily on Alan's increasingly feeble attempts to discretely sell Rover cars under the nose of his savvy boss, who was a guest on the same show.
Last Comic Standing: The network 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.
Malcolm in the Middle: One episode had 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: Genericies 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.
Only Fools and Horses: Parodied 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 making opportunity. Including a sauna business and an undertakers...
The Sarah Connor Chronicles: John Henry loved to play with his Bionicles toys. He would also frequently tell 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.
Seinfeld: 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.
Sons of Anarchy: Most likely Played 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?"
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 got a lot of screen time, during season 2, even being the means of seeing ghosts in "Hollywood Babylon".
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 an episode 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 competed with fellow regulars David Gower, Lee Hurst, and Rory McGrath was covered in Walker's logos, and his sack for the sack race was styled to look like a giant crisp packet.
Top Gear: Parodied the concept a couple of times, always starting off with a Lampshade Hanging citing BBC policy which prohibits advertising:
In one episode, Top Gear managed 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 couldn't do that, but he'll "slide in a couple of references no one will notice". The review segment had 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 used references to Pink Floyd albums in his review of the Enzo, and the Stig had the car's stereo playing Another Brick in The Wall, Part II while he did the hot lap. At the end of the day, Top Gear managed to review the Enzo, Mason got his book plugged, and the audience gets a good laugh out of the blatant product placement on television, everybody 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."