McDonald's Coffee On Local News Show: Viewers Don't Fuss, Anchors Don't Sip

Research says even the worst of product placement is greeted by viewers with a shrug. That is, until someone gets burned.

When it comes to entertainment shows, reality programs and the like, we all know what to expect: competitions over who does the best commercial shoots (say, Herbal Essence); marketing campaigns (say, Burger King): or phone calls by contestants and/or hosts (how about AT&T or Sprint?).

News shows?  Come on. There's no such thing as product placement there. How would that be journalism? But what about those bastardized news and entertainment shows?

That wrinkle of entertainment was enough to convince one news director, at Las Vegas' KVVU, to place a couple of McDonald's logo-ed iced coffee plastic cups on the set of the station's morning shows.  

"I stress the fact that it is being done on a program that is a combination of news entertainment and lifestyle programming," news director Adam Bradshaw told the Las Vegas Sun.

OK, we get it. But viewers will be scratching their heads over why the news anchors won't be drinking the beverages. At least Simon, Paula, and Randy know what to do with those plastic cups that say Coca-Cola.

At some point, viewers will be asking, "Hey, why don't they have a sip?' Could it be because those pseudo newspeople could be viewed as endorsing McDonald's?  News directors wouldn't want that. What's even weirder is that, in the McDonald's/KVVU deal, the liquid is fake -- not even coffee.

Some of this isn't new ground. Sports news anchors have done commercials for an assortment of products. "The NFL Today" had Subway restaurants pitchman Jared Fogle on the set. A number of sports shows have worked on similar stuff with logo-ed coffee mugs.

Sure, you can find blogs where people complain about product placement everywhere. But in terms of overall viewership, it's a pebble kicking up on a Hummer doing 70 mph.

So the Las Vegas move will be greeted with a big yawn among viewers. Until the news part of show has to report on a million-dollar lawsuit when perhaps a Las Vegas man burns himself on some McDonald's coffee.

Then watch the story. Competing stations will have a field day -- as they munch on KFC chicken strips.




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