I don't know how many of you have been noticing the new T-Mobile product placement in the Shark Tank, but it makes me want to throw up in my mouth. It's rude, awkward, embarrassing, and completely ineffective.
For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, product placement is when a brand subtlety places a product in a movie or TV show with a goal of making an impression in the viewer's mind, leading him or her to think about that product. It's Cheerios in Superman. It's Reese's Pieces in E.T. It's Aston Martin in the James Bond franchise. It's Fed Ex in Cast Away. It's Pepsi in The X Factor. Get the picture? Companies have bidding wars and pay premiums to get their products in films and shows. Did you watch the newest James Bond - Skyfall? Did you recognize the Heineken beer 007 was drinking instead of his notorious vodka martini? Do you know how much Heineken paid for that? $45 million dollars! That's why only large companies get their products into these shows and films - it costs a fortune. But it's well worth it...when it's done right.
Let's talk about the latest episodes of Shark Tank. One of the most unique elements about Shark Tank is its authenticity and realism. Entrepreneurs who are at great risk of losing their businesses come on the show pleading for investments, and you watch their dreams come true. It's incredible, educational, inspiring, and so real. It's real people, real money, and real results. But now, there are sprinkles of interrupting trash. And it's just plain disturbing.
You all saw it, the question is if you picked up on it. T-Mobile has started a product placement campaign on Shark Tank. Whether it's the entrepreneur who, after being criticized by Mark Cuban, exclaimed that with his T-Mobile phone he can show his infomercial on the TV screen, or Daymond John who awkwardly pulled out his T-Mobile to take a picture of Mark Cuban and then "share it with the world", it's undoubtedly the worst product placement attempt I've ever seen. Product placement isn't about dumping your product into a show, it's about carefully positioning it so that it's being showcased in a cool, positive environment. When James Bond drinks that Heineken, you want to get of your butt, start up your Aston Martin, swagger your way into the store, and pop one open yourself. Now imagine if 007 just randomly blurted out "Heineken is the best beer" in the middle of a shoot out. Or if he explicitly made a remark about Heineken. It would look absolutely ridiculous! Well, that's what T-Mobile has done in the Shark Tank. They have embarrassed themselves with a completely ineffective product placement choice, and have taken some of the pureness out of the best reality show on TV.
And for the few of you who actually went out and bought T-Mobile phone because you saw one in Daymond Johns' hands, do you really think Daymond uses T-Mobile? Really?? And he decided to inform us of his phone choice in the middle of airing a TV show? This is reality here. T-Mobile needs to hire some new marketers. Because this is an embarrassment to their company, their customers, the Sharks, and Shark Tank fans across the country.