the frequency a kenny chung blog

May 22nd, 2009
according to

The sandwich chain Subway may be solely responsible for the NBC Show ‘Chuck’ staying on the air, speculates this article.

Subway has basically become the official sponsor of the show. Entering into a deal with Subway may deter the cancellation of the spy comedy despite less-than-stellar ratings. And the payoff? Prominently displaying Subway sandwiches within the scene settings and also shameless mentions within the dialogue itself.

Is this the future of product placement?

Well, that’s an inherently flawed question. This sort of hyperreal advertising is already happening in the present. Everyone’s aware that Simon, Paula and Randy (and Kara) all only drink one brand of carbonated beverage. The Transformers movie franchise is the perfect platform for GM’s highly transparent product placement campaign. Viewers of the CW hit ‘Smallville’ can tell you exactly which model of Toyota the show’s characters love to drive and their favorite brand of chewing gum. Even Terminator Salvation, set in a nigh-apocalyptic future, featured a particular SUV blown up by robots. In the scene immediately following the dust settling, viewers had to try hard to ignore the grill of the vehicle on the ground, still proudly displaying the JEEP logo. There was another scene where survivors gathered at a gas station/former convenience store. The camera deliberately panned upward to show a much weathered 7-ELEVEN logo.

Is this the future of product placement?

Will money soon influence art to the degree that the audience will not be able to ignore it? In the age of TiVo and online viewing, commercials have certainly lost their impact. Is the only solution to make TV shows into ads themselves? When do we reach the tipping point? Back when product placement wasn’t as common, it was easy to tell which companies paid to have their goods deliberately placed onto a set. And then it began happening more and it became harder to tell which were the result of natural dialogue (i.e. saying ‘iPod’ instead of ‘mp3 player’) and which were being paid for (ironically, the makers of the Harold and Kumar series did not have a deal with White Castle). So what happens when it becomes too evident that product placement is happening? Will it just stop working altogether? Will viewers resent that brand? Or will they grow to love the product as if it were their own child?

Only time will tell.

April 30th, 2009
according to

Link: P&G forecasts ‘buyer’s market’ in advertising

Too bad I’m on the agency side.

In the long run, this is a bad thing for the Advertising industry. Companies- big, important ones that others look to for guidance- are telling everyone that advertising is not that important. That it’s expendable.

Well guess what? It ain’t. Unless all your competitors are also scaling back on Advertising the same rate you are, you’re gonna lose market share. And when the economy turns and there’s money to be spent on ad campaigns again? Well, those who cut the most will be stuck playing catchup longer.

Brands cannot afford to be forgotten. Especially in this economic climate, you want people to remember your name, your product.

In my opinion, one company that’s doing it right is Hyundai. At the beginning of the year, they started the Hyundai Assurance Program campaign, which went far beyond any other car company’s Unique Selling Proposition at the time. Of course, GM has had their rejoinder. I watch broadcast TV a lot, and I can tell you that Hyundai commercials are becoming more plentiful (either that, or just more memorable). And look at the results: Hyundai has not only strengthened their brand retention, but has also increased sales. Now that’s good media planning!

This video makes no mention of the Volt, or even of automobiles.

But it still drives people to the website. Good or bad campaign?