I realize I may be a little late in posting about 30 Rock since the actual show aired back in 2006 and ended in 2013, but lets be real the only shows I was watching back in 2006 were Mexican telenovelas (still true in 2015) and online streaming Netflix wasn’t available.
Honestly, I had heard many good things about the show, but it did not catch my attention until being devastated by the Parks and Recreation finale and in desperate need of a new comedy show to watch.
If you haven’t seen 30 Rock, it is the story of how Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), the head writer of an NBC TV show deals with her boss Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), the show’s crazy stars, and her co-workers. The name 30 Rock, is a reference to 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City where the NBC studios are actually located.
One of my favorite things about 30 Rock was how they managed to include product placement in the show, by essentially making fun of the networks inserting product placements in shows.
The way these products are inserted is apologetic and ironic, but seem to fit the style of the show. In the “Jack-Tor” episode in season 1, Jack Donaghy, the Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming (yes, that is his title) decides to use “product integration” to monazite broadcast television by incorporating “pos-mens” or positive mentions of products into a program. The writers immediately complain saying they refuse to compromise the integrity of the show to sell a product. However immediately after they begin talking about how great Diet Snapple is.
30 Rock "Jack-Tor" Season 1 Diet Snapple product placement
Product placement offers many advantages to marketers including an environment free of clutter and competition. If positioned correctly the brand (in this case Snapple) can be seen by the specific target market matching the show. The brand is also associated with the characters and actors of the show, and can be associated with their lifestyle. A clear example of this is shown in the Diet Snapple product placement when Cerie says she “only dates guys who drink Snapple.” Product placement essentially provides a way for viewers to avoid viewing an ad by skipping or muting it.
However, product placement is often criticized since product placement could undermine the artistic integrity of the show or film it is in, which is why I love the format 30 Rock introduced it it. In another episode Verizon Wireless is the product being showcased hilariously with Liz Lemon bluntly asking for their money in the end.
30 Rock "SeinfeldVision" Season 2 Verizon wireless product placement
3o Rock is certainly not the only show to integrate products into their show, but it definitely used a comedic way of showing it. Personally, the breaking of the fourth wall (if there ever was one) and the willingness of the show to point out its flaws was one of my favorite aspects of the show. The product placement was never subtle, in fact it was more in-your-face and possibly over the top, but other than the two live episodes, it was probably what got the most laughs out of me. Then again, I may be biased.