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Product Placement

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.

•  Q-tips
•  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?

24 Responses to Product Placement

  • Hershey’s syrup. Tried an off brand once and will never again!

  • Coffee Mate Coconut Cream Coffee Creamer (or really any coffee creamer, but that one is my favorite!). Can’t do the generic stuff. My husband only drinks Pepsi. Hates generic soda.

    Although, oddly, we only buy Great Value Maple Syrup. Once, I got the large container of Mrs. Butterworth at Costco. My kids hated it. I had raised them on the cheap stuff by golly and that is what they wanted! It took me months to finish off that Mrs. Butterworth by myself, but now, we just buy the generic syrup!

  • Finally! I am so glad to find someone who agrees with me that the homemade detergent doesn’t clean as well as Tide. Our clothes actually began to look dingy.
    I will buy Cheer for my red and black clothes but I just don’t buy anything but Tide for the rest of it. I also only like name brand soda. I will try almost anything generic and if I like it I will stick with it unless I see a really good sale on the name brand.
    Interestingly enough my husband brought me Godiva chocolate from New York one time. I know you will probably spit your diet root beer at the screen but I just prefer good old Hershey’s chocolate. Whitman’s Sampler will do just fine for the boxed stuff. The Godiva was a nice thought and I appreciated it but it just seemed like a waste of money!

  • We can’t buy Charmin anymore, they changed something a year or two ago and now it clogs just about every time if I buy it. We go with Cottonelle, or Angel Soft when I really need to save some money. I’m a Publix snob, if they make it, I buy their brand, except for Ritz type crackers. For some reason, their crackers are almost always crumbled in the sleeves. Let’s see… Tombstone frozen pizza, Pantene shampoo & conditioner, Heinz ketchup, mac & cheese has to be Kraft regular and stuffing has to be Stove-Top. Oscar Meyer precooked bacon, it’s the only kind that the cooking/warming smell isn’t nauseous. And Gain original scent liquid detergent, everything else causes rashes in my house. I think I’m pretty flexible on everything else, but it has to come from Publix, some of the people shopping for groceries at Wal-Mart are really skeevy.

  • Peanut Butter! Generic peanut butter is gross. It is Peter Pan or Jif for us.

    Most food stuff I buy is generic. We get a discount at HEB, since Hubby has a part time job there ,on all their HEB brands (there’s about 8) including the organics.

  • Hey Dee, why do you only buy Charmin? 🙂

    I will not buy the Aldi brand of coffee creamer, anything else is okay.

    I prefer Kotex to Always.

    DH has to have Multi Bran Chex. Doesn’t even exist in generic.

    Really, we’re not really a brand loyal family!

  • Um….that smiley face should be the number 8 . Don’t know what happened there….

  • Diet Coke. Cascade Complete. Heinz ketchup (for the grandkids). Baked Lays Sour Cream & Onion (again for the grandkids – regular Lays just isn’t the same). Downy.

  • Jif Peanut Butter, Hidden valley Ranch dressing, and Heinz Ketchup!

    Everything else…the cheaper the better!

  • There are 3 products in our house which we MUST have brand names or my dad goes balistic. 😉

    French’s Mustard. Heinz Ketchup. Kikoman Soy Sauce.

    In fact, my dad established this as a part of our family rules. When my baby brother was getting baptized, my dad’s speech, along with the other rules, included the 3, much to the surprise of the Church, he he.

  • I’ll buy generic for some things and most for the kids! But I prefer Cottonelle TP or Northern (or like others, Angel Soft if I’m really trying to save $). But only Bounty paper towels will do! I buy Peter Pan PB for myself but GV for the kids. I prefer CF Diet Pepsi but will drink something else if on sale. 🙂

  • Always liners, Crest toothpaste, Five Gum, Dove shampoo and conditioner, and my Bare Escentuals make-up. I’m not too picky on my food choices, especially now that I’m counting stinking calories. Who cares if it ALL the low-cal snacks taste like cardboard (name brand or generic), right? I do a lot of “Fit & Active” food products from Aldi. Because, like you I’m cheap…er, I mean frugal 😉

  • Phillidelphia Cream cheese — my husband refuses to eat anything else. Diet Coke — the real stuff and don’t add lemon or lime please. I’m a traditionalist. Also agree with everyone on the femine products — don’t go cheap there.

  • I can’t wait to ask you why you only by Charmin! I’ll just have to make sure the kids are out of earshot.

  • Love your blog!

    I must have Dove soap, Nabisco Wheat thins, All detergent, and Diet Sierra Mist are a must in this household. My hubby would say David sunflower seeds in jalepeno hot and Mac3 razors are a must. Funny how we all have our “must haves”.

  • hahahaha
    My affinity for Charmin is legion in the family. I would buy in bulk at Sam’s Club and always had TWO of the giant packages on hand — because a southern girl doesn’t even want to THINK about running out of the toilet tissue, now do we? Of course not!
    On my first trip to Argentina, after stories by my hubby of t.p.less public restrooms, I packed an ENTIRE LARGE SUITCASE with Charmin. Yes, yes I did! And was so glad I did. It lasted almost the entire month. Whew! Who knows what disasters I averted due to my foresightedness (is that a word? because it totally should be if it’s not).
    Anyway, a few years later we ended up spending a year in the African bush and, sadly, I could not take enough Charmin for that long, so I had to make do with what was available locally. Shall we just say that it was sorta like John Wayne toilet tissue? And that I was never so glad to see a roll of Charmin in my life as I was when we returned to the U.S. after that year!
    When we moved to Argentina two years ago, one of my greatest concerns was finding an adequate Charmin replacement.
    It took a while, but I found that Scott doble hoja — while not up to Charmin’s standards — is an acceptable substitute. In other words, this is as good as it gets and I just have to deal with it.
    But I do miss my Charmin!

  • Seriously, with all of the acolades that Charmin is getting, I think that a Costco sized purchase of Charmin could be your next giveaway and you’d get SO many entries for it that Mr. Random Integer man would be in heaven! 🙂

    But yes, I have to agree… life is too short for anything but Charmin toilet paper, Playtex tampons, and Kleenex tissues. Because of all areas of the body you don’t want to chafe, those are them! 🙂

  • Tollhouse morsels….the only chocolate chips

  • Kleenex tissues, Heinz ketchup, Kraft Mac n Cheese, & Hidden Valley Ranch. Most generic stuff is perfectly okay with me. However, White Cloud toilet paper is our choice for that particular item.

  • When my daughter got married a year and a half ago, I started buying more name brand items, because we were empty nesters (“Woo-Hoo! We can do whatever we want whenever we want!”), and I felt, for a brief moment, that I didn’t have to do all that silly stuff I used to do when she was growing up, like trying to save money by buying off brands and such. (You know, to set a good example of a prudent and wise homemaker?) One of the first things I bought name brand was Tropicana NOT From Concentrate-Lots Of Pulp- Orange Juice, because, hello, we had earned it.

    I’m back to reality again, trying to saving money, but I don’t think I can give up that orange juice. I’m not sure I can give up Kashi cereal either. My almost forty year old body cries out for it.

    I am a die hard Scott toilet paper user, because #1-our hineys are okay with it, and#2-without a doubt, it is cheaper than any other brand in the long run, because it lasts longer. I’ve done my own personal studies on this. I know.

    Great post! You always make me laugh. And think.

  • I was reading your list and saying, “yep, yep, yep.” I use all the same stuff and will not substitute them for any other brand. (well, we differ in the…feminine hygiene department) My mother-in-law likes to help out and will occasionally show up with toilet paper. It is always Charmin, but not Charmin Ultra Mega size. The softness is ok but the teeny tiny roll bugs me to death. I have to change the roll almost every single day! Drives me crazy.

    Puffs Plus with Lotion – only tissues for me. My husband never uses mayonnaise (says he hates it) unless he is making a tomato sandwich. The mayo brand has to be Dukes or he won’t eat it.

  • I’m with you on most of your choices. Feminine product of choice is Kotex tampons and pantiliners.
    Only Hunts ketchup, only name brand soda, Oscar Mayer bacon, Miracle Whip, Campbell’s soups.
    Dang. I’m a brand snob.
    not that it’s news to me…

  • I used to be a pretty big brand snob with Charmin, Bounty, and Tide. Now I’m in love with the Sam’s Members Mark brand of each of those products. Seriously, I like their TP so much better than Charmin and their paper towels now come in select a size (which my husband is going to be THRILLED about when he gets home!!) and I think they are just as nice as bounty if not better. Laundry detergent I don’t really care what I use, I switch between different stuff all the time but I did get the Members Mark brand recently and will probably stick to that for a while.

  • I’m counting stinking calories. Who cares if it ALL the low-cal snacks taste like cardboard (name brand or generic), right? I do a lot of “Fit & Active” food products from Aldi. Because, like you I’m cheap…er, I mean frugal, but thanx for all this.