On television and in films, significant placement of a brand can mean big bucks, both in fees for the production company and revenue for the brand owner. The concept goes back to Pavlov’s dog. People react to a stimulus. See a Coke machine in the background and the audience gets thirsty. But what happens if a mass murderer is pictured guzzling a Coke right after hacking up his latest victim? Not so refreshing, right?
Something similar happened this week. Abercrombie & Fitch offered to pay cast members of the television show “Jersey Shore” NOT to wear the brand on the show. The company sited “significant damage” to its image if the characters party ‘till they puke while wearing A&F branded clothing. Watching such activity, the company said, could be “distressing” to its customers.
I question whether regular viewers of the show really care much about taste, or if they even shop at A&F. But I think offering to pay people not to do something opens a door that would be difficult to close. How close are we to having a producer extort money from a brand in order to not use it in his next trashy epic?
Then again, maybe I could make it work in my favor. Think Speedo would pay me not to wear their swimsuits?