Writers Act Up

Ad Age: Demonstrating against the practice of product placement in TV programs, a group of protestors armed with Writers Guild of America West literature disrupted the Madison & Vine session of Advertising Week at New York University’s Skirball Center in Greenwich Village this morning.
Owned by Advertising Age, Madison & Vine is a program of annual conferences as well as a weekly publication focused on the emerging business of mixing advertisements into various kinds of entertainment and journalistic content including TV programs, movies, radio shows, Web sites, video games magazines and other media.
One protestor disrupted the discussion inside, a Socratic debate led by Harvard Law professor Arthur Miller, accusing the panelists of not conferring with the creative community when brands are integrated into TV shows.
Panelist Michael Davies, chairman of TV production house Embassy Row, shot back at the heckler by saying hes a Writers Guild member and that producers and their staffs are intimately involved in brand-integration discussions.
Mr. Davies said after the panel that the protestor was misguided about brand integration, especially in reality series. If it werent for marketers stepping up for these shows, they wouldnt be on the air, he said. Theyve picked the wrong argument.
The protestors outside the conference, dressed as Donald Trump and covered in corporate logos, handed out fliers that detailed some of their complaints. The literature said the WGA West had polled more than 400 members, with 73% saying they found product integration not too acceptable or not at all acceptable. About the same percentage of members said that the line between content and advertising needs to be more firmly drawn.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.