A new Nielsen report shows that CBS reality series "Undercover Boss" is a notable success with product placement. Part of the reason, of course, may be that the one-hour show highlights a brand. The format has a company top executive taking on another identity and exploring the business on the front lines.
Nielsen says episodes of the series accounted for seven of the top 10 "most effective" placements in 2010, using brand opinion index as the metric. That takes into account viewer recall and "improved" opinions of a brand after a show among people ages 13 and up. Nielsen evaluated shows on the Big Four networks and CW.
The most effective product placement was for 1-800-FLOWERS in an episode of "Boss," which drew a brand opinion index of 353. In second place, with a 344, was a November episode that had Subway's chief development officer sport a different identity.
In fourth place was the premiere episode of "Boss" that came after the Super Bowl with Waste Management's COO. It posted a 302 index. Then, an episode featuring the CEO of family-attraction operator Herschend Family Entertainment placed fifth at 293.
However, an episode of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" broke a possible clean sweep for "Boss" in the top five. In the show, Sears pays off a family's debt, and it posted a brand opinion index of 323.
Excluding "Boss," the other two leading product placements in the top 10 were Ancestry.com on NBC's "Who Do You Think You Are?" (6th place) and Subway on NBC's "Chuck" (9th).
"Undercover Boss" has a feel-good formula, where the executives masquerade as someone else and learn to appreciate lower-level employees, who garner rewards at the end.