All the things which are wrong about Shark Tale are ironically all the interesting things about it. The fact that most of the jokes do not work unless you know who the vocal talent doing the joke is (Will Smith is playing a yellow fish, therefore it is a bit rich him breathing the “white fish” nature of other fish who are a myriad of hues). The underwater, surface analogies are remarkably lame and not thought through (the money is clams, I get the gag but how exactly do whales pay for their whale washes?) But chief on the list is the incessant product placement. The puns are lousy, and the products remain clear. And we should expect much, much more.

I have now seen the first six episodes of Lost, and the first season of Arrested Development without any adverts. I get in the cinema after the adverts play. I rather like adverts, but its not what I am paying for, and they waste my time. So how do they advertise at me? And if they can’t, why would they bother paying for the programmes? This is not so much of a problem with blockbuster films, they clearly make their money back. But what is the business model for a TV show? Outside of the BBC the general idea is that they are being paid for by advertising revenue (DVD sales is new income stream admittedly, starting to twitch – cf Firefly and Family Guy’s films and new series). The only way I am going to be hit by a moving image ad is in the show itself. 24 has embraced this up to a point, but the premise of Lost doe not seem all that conducive to product placement. In many ways we may be going full circle, back to when TV shows were made by commercial wings of networks. How much product placement can we take? How much do we want the shows?

UPDATE: BBC on product placement claims. Come on Auntie. There’s product placement on films you show and boughts-in, why not save licence fee money?

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