Saturday, 3 April 2004

Re: our post on product placement, our pal R. of Words in a waltz writes in to say:
Whoa! Now here's something WE can speak volumes about. The allusion to product placement in books leads bang on to new-fangled trends in covert advertising that have come under critical surveillance in recent times. In the US, it began when writers of sitcoms started churning out plotlines devoted to selling jewelry or perfume, for instance. A few years ago, an entire evening of sitcoms featured Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds perfume.
And now to Fay Weldon's book - one of the first scenes in this British writer's novel takes place amid "the peaches and cream décor" of the Bulgari jewelry store on Sloane Street in London. There, attended to by “charming girls, and men too,” the real estate mogul Barley Salt pays £18,000 to buy his scheming second wife, Doris Dubois, “a sleek modern piece, a necklace, stripes of white and yellow gold, but encasing three ancient coins, the mount following the irregular contours of the thin worn bronze.”
Initially, readers probably didn’t know that Bulgari, the Italian jewelry company, paid Ms.Weldon an undisclosed sum for a prominent place in the book, fittingly entitled “The Bulgari Connection.”
The bottom line on this, is simply that marketers believe implied credibility of a presumably unbiased endorsement is the most effective kind of advertising.

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