Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An Open Letter To Sci Fi Channel

Really, Sci Fi Channel? Really?
I understand that advertising dollars are vital to the continued production of network television. Honestly, I do. I also understand that a lot of revenue can be generated from product placement.
I get that.
Your original series Eureka gets a lot of money from Degree antiperspirant. This is made abundantly clear by the number of times it’s mentioned in program identification spots that air during commercial breaks, the sheer number of commercials for Degree that also air during commercial breaks, and in particular by the commercials that feature characters from the show.
Given the sheer number of times that Degree is mentioned during commercial breaks, the rampant product placement in the show itself seems excessive. I mean, honestly, in the episode titled “Do Over,” which featured a Groundhog’s Day style plot in which the same day was repeated over and over, we all noticed – we couldn’t help but notice – when Sheriff Carter took his Degree antiperspirant out of his medicine cabinet and prominently displayed it on his bathroom sink. Trust me; we saw it.
And then, as the day repeated itself, we got to see it again. And again.
That was irritating enough, but with last night’s episode, “Here Come the Suns,” you really went too far.
Bad enough that you had one of the characters on the show actually speak the Degree advertising slogan as a line of dialogue, but you brought things to a new level of inanity when it became clear that the entire premise of the episode was built around using a product that was obviously intended to be a fictionalized stand-in for Degree antiperspirant to resolve a life-threatening situation.
When you had already taken it that far, you might as well have gone all out and have Sheriff Carter look into the camera while holding Degree antiperspirant and say, “Once again, Degree antiperspirant saved the day, providing me with absolute protection when I needed it most!”
Hell, why stop there? As a resolution to the Mayoral election subplot you could have had Degree antiperspirant elected Mayor of Eureka.
Your are not engaging in product placement, you are, in fact, engaging in product bludgeoning.
I’m actually beginning to fear that if this continues on its current course someone from Sci Fi Channel will show up at my house, drive me to the store, and force me to buy Degree antiperspirant at gunpoint.
Like I said, I understand that you need advertising dollars to continue production of shows like Eureka, but a line has to be drawn somewhere. Commercials? Sure. Occasional, unobtrusive product placement? I can live with that. But entire episodes that revolve around antiperspirant? Turn around and get out your binoculars and you might be able to see where you crossed the line.
Just something to keep in mind, and to feel utterly ashamed about.



P.S. Given how often I mentioned Degree antiperspirant in this letter, could you send some of that product placement money my way? It might go a long way towards addressing my feelings of disappointment over your poor judgment and hacky attempts at shilling for your corporate sponsor.

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