Does the car I drive denote the TV I watch?

Has anyone else noticed that car companies have been MAJORLY integrated into prime time TV?  It is like there is an auction or something because it is one car per show but what started out subtle with a glamour shot or two of the car a few years ago, now they pimp features of the car during the show.


For example –

Glades, something we watched on Netflix and now on real time tv have an intense affair with the Kia.  They attempted to be subtle but now it is in your face and every episode.


Top Chef Masters – who I credit with Lars’s interest in cooking – has been sponsored by Lexus for a few years and we joke that each chef gets $5 every time they mention the car because every episode has at least one instance of “so we jump into our Lexus bla-bla and go to Whole Foods”.  Every prize is also sponsored by Lexus and that does give me a positive image of the company since the prizes are all donations to the Chef’s charity.


Top Chef (not masters) – these guys don’t rate a Lexus but in the early seasons of the show they were in non-brand name 15 passenger vans, more recent seasons have them in a Toyoda  something (I don’t remember)


Burn Notice – it is over now but they actually did the most subtle of all integration because they really did use the car naturally and when they talked about a feature it was very contextual.  Hyundai gets credit for that but I think the writers get more credit.  We actually almost checked them out in our car shopping trip but they were closed already.


I can understand the ‘sponsored by’  for the reality TV shows, that seems like a natural fit.  I also give a good nod to the announced “this show with limited commercial interruptions sponsored by XYZ”.  The product integration on the other shows is on the sly side and I think could backfire because the “Bad Guy” has to drive something too so what if a car makes the producers mad and they stick the evil person in it and the public is so primed to couple TV and Car that all of a sudden stock of Jaguar plummets (Mad Men – guy kills himself over the car, Covert Affairs – the bad guy drives one) uh oh – unintended consequence…


This season I just noticed a new hybrid – Avalon pimping in the show Royal Pains was blatant AND they had commercials for the car using the actors/characters from the show that messed with my fast forwarding attempts because I would catch a look at the people I was looking for.  Clever and I can’t decided if that is more or less annoying.  Burn Notice did it too in the final season but again, theirs was better done.


I suppose the bottom line is that I like TV and someone needs to pay for it.  Since I only pay a minute amount for access compared to the cost of production, money needs to come from adds.  I respect they are thinking outside the traditional methods but other then giving them free airspace with this post I am not all that swayed.  On the other hand, I actually do know some features and perks of the cars from watching the shows and that is worth something.

Sorry Lexus, I’m glad you are charitable but I think we are going elsewhere for our car purchase this week.

Ps.  I also noticed on Burn Notice the first NOTbranding of a car – the logo etc were removed.  What did they do to the writers!


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