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Ford product placement runs over episode of Fox's 'New Girl'

October 29, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • Ford's product placement in an episode of "New Girl" was hardly subtle.
Ford's product placement in an episode of "New Girl" was… (Fox )

Integrating products into plots of television shows is nothing new, but some series are taking it to levels that aren't always pretty and could alienate viewers.

That was the case with last week's "New Girl" on Fox. In the episode, Jess (Zooey Deschanel) agrees to fill in for her model friend Cece (Hannah Simone), who is too hung over to properly ogle a new Ford. Jess, who is more of an earthy girl, gets made up and puts on some sky-high heels to prance around in. 

She struggles with that, of course, and hilarity is supposed to ensue. The only problem is Jess' klutziness is completely overshadowed by the Ford she is clinging to in an effort to stay upright. If the visual wasn't enough to distract viewers from the star, while Jess was losing her balance, a Ford executive was issuing talking points about the new car (we won't say what type of Ford since they're not paying us for placement). The dialogue on the show during that scene was literally written by the Ford Motor Co.

These deals help pay the bills for scripted television and have become a necessary evil in an era when many viewers record shows on digital video recorders and then skip the commercials. But the good ones are subtle and don't hit the audience over the head with a hammer the way "New Girl" did.

Some might argue that the product placement seems obvious only to industry insiders. But even if that is the case, viewers who are not industry savvy no doubt figured out what was going on from the Ford spots that ran in the episode touting the appearance of the car.

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Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.

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