Nowadays product placement is no longer a privilege of blockbusters starring famous actors. With the advent of access to broadband and development of the Internet advertising, namely product placement has transformed as well. Recently I have watched a TV episode of late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live called “Jimmy Kimmel the Uber Driver”. The product which was promoted is Uber – mobile application that allows customers to ride with crowd-sourced drivers at prices lower than offered by taxi-agencies.
In this episode the main showman Jimmy Kimmel “registered as Uber driver and gave rides”. The plot of the video is following: Jimmy rides Chevrolet Cruze, launches Uber application on Apple iPhone and picks up a guy taking him to a point of destination. On their way they make a friendship and go shopping. The main point of such product placements was too obvious. It was an endorsement as a popular celebrity drove a specific car, used a specific cellphone and finally used the mobile service matching the heading of the episode. Each product fitted in the episode perfectly. Firstly, a domestic brand Chevrolet according to video demonstrates that their cars are so reliable that they are used and approved by famous people. Secondly, a low-key appearance of iPhone combined with the usage of the mobile application itself shows that the TV-host chooses this telephone as the best variant to accompany widely-used service. There was more hidden product-placement of Sony headphones that wore a passenger in the episode. As he was a so-called “average Joe” such and advertisement cannot be considered as strong move in order to be publicized but after all it was a product promotion as well.
It can thus be concluded that product placement has become more and more inculcated in media and it is hard to argue whether it is positive or negative development for consumers and viewers. In any event, the YouTube video of this episode gained more than two millions of views, number of Chevrolet customers had raised, not mentioning the number of Uber users and sales of iPhone.
YouTube. “Jimmy Kimmel the Uber Driver”. Web. 17 Oct. 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCU8vpSeBtM