Product Placement: The casual use or display of products in movie and t.v. shows that act as a kind of subliminal advertising.
We all probably expect product placement in movies and t.v. shows but how about fiction?
I’ve been reading a series lately (well, devouring is a more accurate description) that uses product placement to such an extent that I have to wonder if the author is being paid for endorsing the products littering the pages of the novels. Now, I do love the series in question but the amount of product name dropping is bordering on ludicrous. It’s jarring, pulls me from the story time and time again (and that’s a lot because it usually happens a few times per page), and I don’t really get the point. It won’t stop me from reading more and more of the series but it has left me wondering how much is too much?
During the very first rewrite I did for my agent I was warned against dropping product names. I used the name of a well known discount chain of stores and my agent felt that this might be entering dangerous territory for a variety of reasons...so I removed it. Now, when I’m writing, I am very diligent about keeping those references out.
I’m not sure fiction is the right place to drop product names...unless it’s used to establish character or setting in some way, but even so, couldn’t that be done in a generic way somehow?
What do you all think? Should writers use product names in their manuscripts or should they avoid it? Have you noticed it happening in other novels you’re reading or do you just gloss over it and ignore?