Now, it's happened.
A recent episode of first-year CW drama "Life is Wild" included what is hard to consider anything but a plain-old spot for a Jeep Wrangler. And as if on cue, it lasted a full 30 seconds (one of the top product placements of the week, according to measurement firm iTVX).
It didn't smack of organic product placement or innovative branded content or some other non-traditional tactic. Those 30 seconds could easily have been lifted from the show and run between Tide and Verizon Wireless spots, and a viewer probably couldn't tell the difference.
Perhaps all that's needed is a "'Have Fun Out There' ... Jeep" voiceover at the end with a logo overlaid on the screen.
"Life is Wild"--a struggling series that may very well have been off the schedule in a non-strike season--is about a family that moves from New York to South Africa for a year. It's full of attractive, Abercrombie-model-looking teens.
In the Nov. 4 episode, two of the males play starring roles in the "spot" for the Jeep Wrangler. The driver climbs in (credit producers for placing the steering wheel on the left in a nod to South Africans' driving on that side of the road) and tells his passenger, "Hold on."
And off they go, making like Bo and Luke Duke evading Rosco P. Coltrane. They hoot and holler as the Wrangler zigs and zags across the sand with well-scored rock music playing. Dust flies in their wake. There's a closeup of the pair looking as if they're on the most enjoyable of roller coasters.
As they pull to a stop, the passenger gets out, closes the door and offers: "That was awesome."
Then, the show returns after this message.