I accidentally tuned into a made-for-TV movie yesterday, on my way to HGTV’s House Hunters. Either domestic or international, it makes no difference. I love them both equally.
So I spend about 5 minutes hovering over a TV movie that I had no interest in because I noticed the heavy use of product placement. Product placement is film & TV lingo for sponsored products to be highly visible while shooting a scene.
Kind of like how Coke is most definitely a sponsor for American Idol, and we all know this because of the well placed cupware strategically positioned in front of the judges. The cups that scream COKE at you. And are always placed with the logo facing outward. But, you know. I often wondered what was actually in said cupware. Especially during the Paula years.
During my short tenure as an actress, I learned about this business of product placement first hand. Often, companies would donate obscene amounts of food products to be consumed by the film crew, in exchange for getting their product logo front and center during, say, a kitchen scene.
I remember well being directed on some project to pick up my can of name-brand carbonated beverage, and then to carefully set it down so that the product name was facing the camera. All while trying to remember lines, my mark, and DOES THE CAMERA REALLY ADD 10 POUNDS BECAUSE IF SO I’M TOTALLY GOING TO BECOME A WRITER!
On another shoot, which had a rather bountiful craft services table (thanks to product placement), I remember the assistant director was looking for me one day. He was talking to a crew member over the walkie-talkie inquiring as to my whereabouts. The crew member answered, “She’s grazing at craft services.”
Because of donut consumption, and a shortage of stretchy jeans, I seem to remember the wardrobe department had to issue a moratorium on my time at the craft services table.
Anyhoo. Back to the TV movie and the product placement therein.
They evidently had a sweet deal with Wal-Mart, because during every kitchen scene, the table was flanked with all manner of Great Value dairy products and such. To the point that it was distracting.
Less is more, people, less is more.
But this got me to thinking about those products that I would be most apt to have laying about my own house. Should a film crew come to film me for an evening news segment.
It could happen. You know, local housewife goes berserk, type of news story.
Now, y’all know how cheap thrifty I am. I will go generic most every time to save a few pennies. But there are certain household products and items that I will absolutely not scrimp on. And I wanted to share a few with you.
In the interest of full disclosure, none of these product brands have ever contacted me, and I have never reviewed any of them.
• Tide with color safe bleach
• Cascade Complete for the dishwasher
(For a time, I did make my own wash and dishwasher soap. In the long run, my homemade recipes did not work nearly as well. And frankly, I am not Ma Ingalls. And I’m comfortable with that.)
• Charmin Ultra Toilet Tissue – Mega Rolls
(I absolutely will not scrimp on this. I have even been known to bring my own T.P. to a hotel. Every time I purchase toilet paper, I am reminded of a story my mother told when I was small. She was a feisty southern woman who spoke her mind. One day she was in the grocery store, and a store survey taker asked her why she was buying whatever brand of T.P. that she put in her cart. She answered, “Because it’s the only kind that doesn’t scratch my ***.)
True story. I’ve gone through my entire life just hoping someone would ask me why I will only purchase Charmin. I have my answer ready for them.
• Dow Scrubbing Bubbles
• Lysol Cling Toilet Cleaner
I’m a bathroom cleaning snob. I want to spend as little time doing this particular chore, so I rely on two products that get the job done. Muy pronto.
• Playtex Ultra Tampons (I will go into no explanation. You’re welcome.)
• Nabisco Oreos (Goes hand in hand with the aforementioned Playtex item.)
• Barq’s Diet Root Beer
If I ever make the news, keep your eyeballs peeled for these items.
Now, what name brands can you absolutely NOT substitute for a generic product?