Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Seamless integration of advertising and prime time sitcom

Have you heard the news? The GEICO Cavemen are going prime-time. ABC announced that the commercial characters will become the basis for a sitcom. This represents, I think, a great example of “seamless integration,” which refers to the ways in which advertisers work their products into movies, music and television. Think BMW Minis and The Italian Job. From a theoretical viewpoint the intertextual nature of this shift between advertising and prime time television represents the ways in which texts and images bleed as media cross contaminate. I think this would also qualify as an example of convergence culture where the text (advertisement) from one form converges with that of another form (the prime time sitcom). I have written elsewhere about what I think is the importance of the depiction in advertising of men as cavemen (along with the depiction of men as wolves and men caught in public with their pants down) and the implications of this depiction for American culture and society. From a critical perspective, I’m not too thrilled with this latest move. But the lighthearted side of me can’t wait to see those crazy cavemen make their way through all the social awkwardness that prime-time television can muster. This isn’t the first time commercial characters have made the leap into prime time as "Baby Bob" and The California Raisons both of commercial fame, for a brief time, entered the hallowed halls of network television.


Adriana Marino said...

I think it is quite commical that these cavemen are going to be characters on a primetime sitcom. It raises the question about gender identity. We talked about in class, the male gender identity "crisis" due to advertising that depicts men as unintelligent cavemen--will having a sitcom based on these same characters heighten this identity crisis further?

aebergmann said...

I think this recent decision further supports the fact that advertising is experiencing an increase in power within our culture. Advertising can have such a great affect on consumers, so much so, apparently, that now people are excited to see the basis for an advertisement turn into a sitcom. I never could have imagined something like this happening since most of the time I can not even stand watching commercials on TV and have to switch to another show while commercials are playing.

Anonymous said...

Since the start of class I have noticed seamless integration in several different television shows and movies. I feel like a product appears somewhere in everything I watch! These are a a couple examples of seamless integration that I have recently taken notice of.

The proposal at Tiffany's from "Sweet Home Alabama."
In "The Transporter 2" , nearly every car was an Audi.
Adam Sandler gets his "universal" remote from Bed Bath & Beyond in "Click"
In "American Idol" Coca-Cola cups are always sitting in front of the judges on the judges table.

-Julia DePaul