A blog by Jorge Garcia.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Friday Nights at Applebee's

At last Friday Night Lights is back on network television. Some of you might have confused it for an Applebee's infomercial.  I can't help but feel sorry for the show. It's so good but it has struggled to stay on the air. First it premieres this season on Direct TV. And the coaches daughter gets a job at Applebee's. And they run commercials for Applebee's during the break.

I guess this is the future of TV. I keep seeing more and more product placement designed to sell advertising in this era of TiVo.

It's funny. When TV was new, commercials were done live with the host. How different is that compared to what they try to pass on as health tips at Subway on The Biggest Loser? I guess that's just it. Back then it was obvious that they were doing a commercial. At least shows like 30 Rock still try to make a joke out of it. 


ArtforLife42 said...

Uf! Guess we're both up late.
Still keepin' it interesting on set?
-And, just wondering, do you wish there were more than 6 seasons or are you ready to move on to bigger and better things?

(not that I'm suggesting that there's anything better than LOST)

Michelle McCrary said...

I hope Lost doesn't sell out and start showing commercials for Dharma beer. Nah, that'll never happen. : )

Tara said...

or showing ajira airline commercials... uh, wait?

Beena said...

A few months ago that "Friday Night Lights" was the answer to a tv category puzzle on Wheel Of Fortune. My family and I were all scratching our heads because we'd never heard of the show.I have still not seen this show (Unlike LOST, which I have been known to watch even the same episodes again and again and again.)

My current favorite commercial is for Denny's. My son and I almost got arrested after leaving an IHOP for truly ridiculous reasons, then Denny's came out with their commercial a week later! Now there's some well timed justice!

jonna said...

Lost should do that backwards and develop an entire Dharma line, then open Oceanic and Ajira airlines. We'd all buy that. C'mon, we so would.

Ralph- said...

I was always a fan of the title Taco Bell's Dana Carvey show. Or when The Match Game would try to sell me ...never mind. PEACE!

Whit said...

SNL and Pepsi did this, too. I'm still not sure if I was watching ads featuring SNL skits, or SNL skits featuring Pepsi.

Rachel Snyder said...

I don't have a problem with product placement on a scripted show. I mean, we use the products we see advertised in real life, so it stands to reason that a fictional character would. Though from what you're saying, it sounds like this may have been a bit much. Can't say I've ever seen FNL, and I doubt I will--I'm still ticked at NBC for their treatment of Journeyman. *sigh*

Jonty said...

I don't mind most of the product placement on 30 Rock but that McFlurry scene last week was probably some of the clunkiest writing that's ever been on the show. However, when done right, it has been hilarious. Like when Cerie says "I only date guys who drink Snapple." Epic lulz

New Yorker wannabes said...

I guess the fact that we are living in a consumer society is becoming more and more obvious everyday :-(

take care
peace and love

Lulu LaBonne said...

I think it helps to not have a telly at all

Wicked Gardener said...

And they wonder why some of these shows struggle? No one wants to watch an hour long commercial. (Unless it's for a Snuggie . . . )

Wicked Gardener said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sage Gaspar said...

I actually find it a little refreshing when shows are blatant about their product placement. One of my favorite shows right now is Psych and they heavily, heavily place at least one product an episode it seems. But it seems like a bit of a wink and nod verging on comedy since it's so blatant and I know the deal is I get to watch the show for free and they get to advertise for the money, so I can't get too annoyed.

On a show like LOST, I don't think it would fit in thematically at all though. Although I would definitely be into Dharma beer :P

Tammy said...

That 30 Rock bit was hysterical.

I think that in the day of the DVR when we have the option of waiting to watch our fav show 20 minutes later-to skip the commercials, the industry has grown wise to this and is trying to get their products shown, creatively??
Cant wait to see you 2 more days...

Lazy Mom Leslie said...

Friday Night Lights is the (second) best show on TV. I really hope it can stick around. I agree, the Applebees promotion is annoying.

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

I guess it's because more people are using things like TiVo to avoid the commercials, so more companies are trying to get their products in the actual show so everyone still sees them.

I'm really not fond of product placement, and said as much to my fiance last night as we enjoyed a refreshing glass of Coca Cola and a fine pizza from the good people at Dominoes.

Mmm, Coca Cola and Dominoes Pizza: It's a winning combination!

Suzyhomemaker said...

I saw the cake the guys from Charm City made you all for the 100th on www.cakewrecks.com (she posts the actual good cakes on Sundays) and thought I'd come over here and say hello :) Not going to try and say that I've seen you in anything other than Lost cause I'm pretty sure I haven't. But you are my favorite character :) Hope you have a good one :)

Mamma Spice said...

I keep hearing that DVRs are going to get new software to either prevent users from skipping the commercials (which will PISS ME OFF TO NO END) OR that when you skip, there will be a still-screen ad, which I can live with. I like the time saving factor. Also the ability to watch LOST after my kids are out of my hair.

(I also watch with captions on to catch extra details. ABC uses great captioners. Some shows have semi-literate, half deaf captioners.)

True Story-- in season 1, my older son flooded the toilet during the last 20 minutes of 3 different episodes.

You think VW wants to get in on some sponsorship with the DharmaVan?

Or maybe Ben could be a big fan of Franklin Covey, since he's such and Organized Evil Genius.

Jin could currently flog Chapstick.

ME said...

Sorry Jorge....placement is here to stay. Tivo (and the DVR) are just one reason, the other is money, money, money. As long as some actors are demanding millions of dollars per episode, the networks have to make that money somehow and you can't keep cutting back the minutes of programming to add more commercials.

I like your point about TV from the "olden days". I was watching a baseball game from the 50's (Whitey Ford's perfect WS game) the other day and there's Mel Allen and Red Barber hawking Gillette Razors in between innings.

If you're not careful, wardrobe is going to fit you for a jacket with Pepsi, Valvoline, and FedEx patches on it for the final episode ;-)

Keep up the great work (we love the blog!) and I just added you to my "followed" blog list over at Nobody Likes a Jerk!

Tia said...

Just found your blog. You are really funny! Huge fan here. Will definitely be checking in!

Justin said...

I know exactly what you mean, man. There's a lot of that cross-promotion stuff out there, but I have to agree it does look like the future of Television. But, on the bright side, it's nice to know there are still shows out there like LOST that are keeping it real...no Dharma Beer commercials, and only enough Oceanic Airline ads to keep it interesting :-p. If I start seeing ads for timeshares at New Otherton, or for alarm clocks that only count down from 108, I'll let you know.

Also, I know this is something you probably get asked a lot but I'd like to ask you a question actor-to-actor. If I wanted to audition for LOST, even if it were for an extra or walk-on role, how would I go about doing that? I do a lot of theater acting, and have done one local television thing, but have always wanted to do more TV-acting, and I love LOST, so if there were a way to make that happen I would be so excited. If you're not too busy and you get a chance to answer, my e-mail is JustinBrenis@gmail.com.

Either way, I know this a bit belated, but congrats 100 episodes, you guys are all great, and thank you/Hurley for always making me laugh!

redelf said...

Maybe we actually live within a perpetual advertisment. I have boxes of cheerios and Shredded Wheat sitting around as well as carefully placed crest tubes of toothpaste and Charmin toliet paper.

Please Type Legibly said...

I guess when you put it that way, it isn't really any different, but it feels like we're one step away from "My next breath! Brought to you by...." The truth is, I like the companies who finance a commercial-free episode of a show. Those guys give me a warm fuzzy. LOL

And I like FNL a lot, too.

tiffibug said...

Dude! I'm so excited that you blog! Hurley is my favorite Lost character. I love Nunu.

Audrey Brown said...

I stopped watching, "Smallville" when they developed a plot entirely based on some brand-name gum. Every two seconds it was like, "Oh wait, you forgot your gum!" Or, "Quick, throw me that piece of gum!" My eyes hurt from rolling so much by the end of the show. I don't mind product placement at all, but when an entire show is centered around a single product...blech.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap someone showed me this blog and I was laughing out loud. This is awesome. PS. I haggle over the "leave a penny, take a penny" container. Cashiers always assume if you get one friggin cent back, you don't want it. Hello? That's MY penny. Don't take it and dump it in the container for some other cheapass to take!! LOL!

Anonymous said...

I was just thinking of the product placements on Biggest Loser when you mentioned it lol It's kinda sad how obvious they are - like last week, with the new BL protein powder right near the bubbler when the blue team fills up their Brita water bottles lol

electrictree said...

I remember when I was a little kid CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) Had almost no commercials. It had ads for different shows on the station, and car commercials. That was about 25 years ago. I don't watch TV because I can't stand the commercials...they assume that everyone is stupid and gullible. I wait for shows to come out on DVD, and watch them in a horrible gluttony of mindless wonder...

theotherbigdudeintheroom said...

Jorge, please advise, I have to sit and listen to this little 155 lb dude talk about marathons. Needless to say, this is not my area of expertise as I am your size. Do you ever get stuck in situations like these? just wondering if famous big dude still have the same issues.)

SaraghA said...

Help us, irony. You're our only hope.

Angel said...

I don't know, maybe they should just use product placement during daytime TV. Can you imagine the soaps? I don't watch em now but I might if they're trying to work in the words Durex, Prozac and $500 Divorce.

MsAmanda said...

It is so the future of all TV, and I think 30 Rock handles it very well, Heroes on the other hand does not.

I've seen the whole FNL season already on DirectTV (its soooo good, best so far I think) and Applebees is like another character. My husband and I could always peg when they were just going to happen to end up there.

Side note, I found your blog through Cake Wrecks and I couldn't be happier. Good times!

Sara said...

Well, you are a pretty funny guy. I've never seen your tv show but somehow I stumbled onto your blog and I like it. So I'm gonna add you on my blog roll. Be back soon.


mdm said...

We can't forget Office Dundie Awards at Chili's! Great blog, Jorge. I LOVE it!

Ray Frenden said...

The amount of product placements seem to be ramping up in direct correspondence to how crappy the economy is doing. I can almost hear the meetings now. "Dr. Pepper is doing horribly! What should we do?" "Buy adspace in 90210; Dr. Pepper Trapper Keepers for all!"

Heather (a.k.a. Bella) said...

Yeah, it's rough times. The daytimes soaps are really being hit. I watch General Hospital, and last year they did this thing with Campbell's soup, wherein certain characters would make a big show of holding up a container or can and say something like, "Come on -- I'll make us a nice can of Campbell's Heart Healthy soup, and we'll sit by the fireplace," or something to that effect. It was horrible to witness, but I understood why they did it. Sad.

Beena said...

I think the key to successfully plugging a product during a show, is probably subtlety. Holding up a can of soup in the middle of the show, and announcing that it's heart healthy, is way too contrived.

But picture this: In a flashback on LOST, Jack and Kate are meeting outside a Starbucks in L.A. drinking lattes and Kate says, I would've killed for one of these when we were back on the island..." And then they go on talking about the more pivotal dialogue that advances the plot.

It's subtle, believable, and doesn't detract from the story line.

domi2.5 said...

The McFlurry scene was actually pretty funny. It was like advertisement heaven, even if it only lasted a few minutes.

MFonvielle said...

I've got a professor who does mock product placement in his lectures and exams ( "This powerpoint was brought to you by...!") He figures it will be the next horizon for advertisers :P

Shohom67 said...

What they should do is run a full hour/ half hour of show with 'water mark' ads in the 3 corners of the screen that the network water mark isn't in. They could do a 5 second: This show sponsored by _____ and have companies pay for the next 10, 15 30 minutes, etc. More people would watch I bet with fewer commercials, so they could charge lots and TIVO won't matter.

okayfrog said...

This reminds me of an episode of Aqua Teen Hungerforce. If memory serves me right, Boost Mobile paid Adult Swim a bunch of money to advertise them. They didn't really specify how, so they just made an entire episode based around Boost Mobile, with anthropomorphic cellphones and stuff. Was a pretty bad episode...

James Hernandez said...


The wisest man in the history of the world was Marshall McLuhan. He said "the medium is the message." Think about it!

www.AForestFrolic.typepad.com said...

I just discovered your blog through 'Sussing out Lost,' one of my fav blogs ever...trying to figure it out and all, hehe. I'll have to try out the deo...looks interesting!

Melissa said...

I know you are probably a little busy, but if you would like to visit our blog where we discussing Lost, come see us at:

no said...

Here's an interesting article about the same thing:


Ali said...

i usually hate the product placements on shows, especially the biggest loser...but the mcdonald's blatant ads on 30rock were PERFECTION!

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Yeah, the "health tips" on The Biggest Loser are so sad. The contestants are really trying to act, but they aren't fooling me. The possibilities for product placement on LOST are endless--suntan lotion, smoke monster repellant, you name it. Was so excited to find your blog! I didn't think famous people did stuff like that. ;)

Cindy Swanson said...

Biggest Loser is one of my favorite shows--not up there with "Lost," but still a fave--but it does annoy me when they try to make those Subway and sugar-free gum commercials look natural. However, I DVR the show, so the minute Bob comes waltzing into the kitchen with a Jennie-O turkey product in hand saying, "What are you having for supper, guys?" I'm fast-forwarding!

Jen L. said...

First-time commenting--hi! You rock.
I love Friday Night Lights. I watched it while I was in labor! The Applebee's connection is a bit weird, you're right. I hadn't even thought about the fact that shows may start doing more of that now that most of us zip through the commercials.

Tania said...

Friday Night Lights is the best show nobody is watching! I love it.

But yes, the product placement and stuff is intrusive. I began to wonder if anybody in Dillon, Texas, eats anywhere but Applebees!

Lula! said...

Were you inviting us to join you at Applebee's on Friday night?

I'll reread.

I jest.

Unknown said...

I loved Friday Night Lights and could catch it on Direct TV without commercials. It's a great show but hate that they SOLD out to Applebees. I just cant buy an Applebees in a podunk town like the one they live in........

I have wondered though if the show pushes teen drinking a little too much.

Lauren said...

I love Friday Night Lights! While normally blatant product placement bugs me, I'm happy for it on FNL because it means the show is on the air. I'd rather have FNL with Applebees everywhere than no FNL at all. And I think it's worked in pretty nicely, I can see Applebees being the kind of place that everyone in Dillon would go to all the time, mostly because of there not really being anywhere else to go. I'm so excited that you like FNL! It makes you even more awesome!

:)Ibti said...

Yeah, I think my favorite deliberate product placement scene was in Wayne's World (though I can't recall now which film it was -- 1 or 2 -- since I watched them back to back). Good stuff.

But ads are getting out of control. I'm surprised nobody has ranted about the proliferation of ads at movie theatres. We're there for the movie. Trailers, okay. But car ads? Perfume?? I mean, heck, I don't watch TV (except Lost, of course, and the occasional Daily Show) for a reason....

Erin said...

It's a shame that Friday Night Lights is in such a precarious position that it needs the barrage of Applebees' advertising to afford to stay on the air, but I'll take incessant product placement if it means I still get to watch such a great show.

On a semi-related note, when am I going to be able to buy an Apollo bar at the grocery store??

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