Originally, the Apollo Bars appear in episode two, season two of "Lost," where Kate is tied up inside a room in the hatch that turns out to be a pantry. She unties herself, notices a box of chocolate bars, rips open the box and eats one. It's an Apollo.
Never heard of Apollo? According to a press release, the Apollo bar was created by "M. David Benson" in the 1960s, and is now manufactured by the Apollo Candy Co., a subsidiary of The Hanso Group. The same company that conducted psychological experiments in the 1960s where people were put on deserted islands to--among other things--push a computer button every 108 minutes.
In reality, ABC--under the direction of Mike Benson, senior vice president of marketing--created the Apollo bar. (Benson--as in M. David Benson.) A picture of Mike Benson as a youth is on the ApolloCandy.com site.
Unlike most network TV shows, "Lost" doesn't have any product placement. To give the show a real-world feel, ABC created the fictitious Apollo bar.
In another episode last season, Hurley lets all the survivors eat the food in the pantry. But Rose saves an Apollo bar for Bernard, who she hasn't been reunited with yet. At one point, Hurley asks Rose if she's ever heard of an Apollo bar. She hasn't.
There are four other episodes where the Apollo bar made an appearance. As a result, the candy bar got some buzz last year among "Lost" fan sites.
Last week, ABC began distributing free candy bars in select locations, in the U.S.--New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Chicago--and in other countries, the U.K., Australia and Asia. The effort is part of a marketing stunt to help launch the new season of "Lost."
Real-world product placement is on the rise on TV screens. As for faux product placement? ABC didn't have an answer as yet.