In this week’s episode of Two and Half Men, Internet billionaire Walden Schmidt played by Ashton Kutcher has a laptop that was covered in stickers for the technology companies Foursquare , Flipboard , Hipmunk, and Chegg (a textbook rental service, just in case this one stumped you). Product placement like this is nothing new. We all knew what kind of computer Carrie Bradshaw used in Sex in the City to write her columns. In some cases, computer manufactures will increase the size of their logo on the laptop cover so that when it is open you can read the brand logo. What makes this product placement a little different is…
These company logos are all companies that Ashton Kutcher has investments in. Now if they paid product placement fees to CBS, this would not be an issue but the companies got the exposure for free. The episode that aired Monday night drew 20 million viewers or as they say in the product placement world, 40 million eyes.
I did not see any specific tracking numbers but I bet when the marketing team at each of these companies check their website analytics the next morning they were presently surprised.
Not a surprise to everyone though. Dennis Crowley, CEO of Four Square was very happy. During the episode, he tweeted a screenshot of the laptop saying, “Check out @aplusk showing some @foursquare & @GroupMe laptop-sticker love on Two & a Half Men.” CBS responded saying they would blur the laptop logos on any further episodes.
Now product placement is everywhere, even for industrial companies. I was in the crowd when Cherry Demolition a website client of mine, imploded a building in the Houston Medical Center. A very large banner with the Cherry Demolition logo was on the building and the banner rode down with the implosion of the building. So all those implosion videos people were taking were a great advertisement for those needing future demolition services.
I bet next week there will be more product placement on Two and a Half Men… this time it will be sold to the highest bidder.