I can think of one probable instance, NBC's "The Restaurant" featuring Rocco DiSpirito, which ran a few years back and got some bad returns from viewers/bloggers. But not enough to say that product placement was why the show failed.
Additionally, for all the talk about the "organic" nature of product placement activities, rarely if ever do TV advertisers, media agencies, product placement agencies, ever talk about underperforming -- or bad -- product placements.
Even rarer, you don't see TV producers blaming the death of their TV shows on product placement.
How organic is the Ford Motor-sponsored little music video each week on "American Idol"? Does that turn anyone off -- so much that that they refuse to watch "Idol"?
"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" has Sears Kenmore appliances and Craftsmen-branded tools on display. Who reaches for the remote when an LG washer doesn't appear -- or a Ryobi power drill? Yeah, I know. Let those brands get their own home show.
This is all to say that TV viewers will put up with a lot. You'll really have to piss them off big time. Viewers will adjust to all kinds of product placement on good shows, but won't blame placement when shows are bad.
"Celebrity Apprentice"? In every episode there is major product placement which pulls in multi-million branded integration fees. You can't tell me at least one of these things doesn't work. Who bats 1.000 in television anyway?
Now the U.K. finally wants to allow product placement on commercial television because it'll bring big cash dollars to the TV system. Up until this time they were worried about secret messaging that would penetrate the brains of U.K. viewers.
They aren't worried now. That's because an ex-Endemol executive, (Endemol is the TV producer of "Big Brother" and other reality fodder) Peter Bazalgette, said in a recent editorial, "If it's overdone or tasteless, viewers will switch off."
Oh yeah. When and where has that happen in countries that do allow product placement? Tell me one time.
All this is the same reason you'll never hear from TV marketers when their media plans go wrong. You'll only see some after-the-fact collateral damage: media agencies losing accounts or brand entertainment executives losing their jobs.
Come on; I want to hear from you. Tell me your bad brand entertainment experience where all hell broke loose. We at TV Watch are really good listeners. But first let me sip from my Coke-embossed, inorganic plastic cup.