Product Placement

Channel Changer

Craft beer would benefit from better product placement on TV.

I remember in one of the many Jurassic Park movies a T-Rex stampeding down what was ostensibly a street in San Diego but was clearly (at least to me) Burbank. Being in the midst of the entertainment industry, many of us have been jolted out of the movie or TV show we were watching by something as mundane as the street or restaurant while totally believing the dinosaur. But what in the name of malted barley does this have to do with beer?

Recently on two of the shows that I regularly watch a beer was in front of the main character and both made me lose track of the plot while I tried to place the type of beer. After that, I wondered why more craft beer wasn’t getting its 15 minutes of fame. First some set-up.

On Fringe, Joshua Jackson’s character Peter was in a classy looking restaurant with his partner, Olivia, played by Anna Torv. In front of him was a distinctly amber/orange brew. This was not the typical neon yellow that is normally seen. I wondered if they happened to be on location and that was what was around or if the actor specifically asked for that particular color. It was certainly not the typical TV beer.

On Terriers, the two main characters live in a fictional town in San Diego County. Being ne’er do wells, they have been in bars in a few episodes. And for weeks, I’ve hoped for them to pick up a Stone or Port Brewing beer. I haven’t seen that yet. But I did get a sighting of the typical pilsner. Which is probably what this character would drink. Though he could be considered by some an arrogant bastard.

The first thought I had after both programs was to scheme how to get some actual craft beer product placement. Then it hit me. Craft beer lovers work at the studios and production offices. How hard would it be to sneak a logo’d cup at the patron at the bar next to the star. Can we get a location shoot at one of the awesome craft beer bars?

Primarily why I think this would be good is that the industrial water lager makers own the airwaves and the craft industry needs to sneak into eyesight in whatever way possible. Barring that, I would love just a moratorium on neon yellow beer on screen. ‘Cause in HD that will hurt my eyes.

Our Beer of the Week is Uncle Arnie’s Irish Red from Brian Lethcoe and the Nibble Bit Tabby Brewery. I had a chance to taste it again before the Union Station Festival and it was really good. More British in attitude than the normal West Coast beers with a really strong and pleasant malt taste in the foreground. Arnie can be found on tap around town. Not as frequently or for long, so if you see it on tap, grab one.

This week’s Homework involves a little e-mail savvy. Set-up a beer e-mail box. Then sign-up for newsletters from stores or bars so that you can stay updated with coming events. Two that I would recommend adding would be Cabo Taco Baja Grill in La Mirada which does some cool craft beer and taco dinners and Vendome Toluca Lake so you can find out about the latest Saturday tasting. (Oh and The Bruery too).

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.


Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

Blog Comments

Stone has made quite a few appearances on Weeds. In fact, I think every time beer has made an appearance on the show it has been Stone. They even had an assortment of Stone’s sauces on the table at a diner the characters were eating at.

You may run into a problem. One… ad sales will specifically reject it because they want people to pay to advertise, not just get it for free by the production buying and using a six-pack. Two… on broadcast TV (meaning not cable), you can’t actually have a company donate something to the show for product placement without specifically crediting it at the end. It’s an FCC thing and comes with hefty hefty fines and even jail time. This is why more often than not if you look closely at the beers they are designed to look like the industrial water lager products, but it will actually be slightly different. You’ll see a Budweiser-like can that says Budweysen on it. It’s why the smoking man in X-files smoked Morley’s that looked shockingly like Marlboros. Or you see John Daniels instead of Jack Daniels with a logo that is quite similar to the recognizable black and white logo.

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