After the hero finishes his graceful revenge and decides to commit suicide, he takes out a green carton of orange juice which has its name “Tropicana” hugely printed in bold. Suddenly, the world of fantasy has been shattered into pieces. How can we, the viewers, stay calm watching the hero with orange juice in his last moment? It was actually a scene from The King of Dramas broadcasted by SBS, which included sarcasm for PPL. However, it was another kind of PPL since the brand name was broadcasted without any blurring. Now it’s time to know what PPL is and what it should be, before it infringes on our liberty to be a hero and heroine every night.
PPL is an abbreviation for “Product Placement.” Initially, it was the film makers that needed the products. They asked some corporations for the products they needed for their programs. But as time went by, it became more and more obvious that the sales of the products shown up in TV had soared hugely. After that, the boot was on the other foot. Corporations began to ask the directors to use the products during the programs. They did not only provide the products, but also supported part of the production costs. This kind of relationship between the film makers and corporations seemed to become more deeply involved, which eventually led to the current situation, the "hero with Tropicana."
PPL can be divided to two types depending on how much the product stands out. If the product is intended to be directed to take place in a certain part of the plot, it is called “on-set placement.” In this case, the hero or heroine actually uses the product, or even it comes as an important clue on the scene. For example, one month after the movie E.T. was released, Hershey’s chocolate, which was used to lure ET during the movie, sold 65% more than before. In contrast, if the product is exposed for a comparatively short time as a natural component of the screen, it is called “creative placement.” Obviously, corporations should provide more financial support in case of the on-set placement than the creative placement.
Like this, as on-set placement contains more straightforward characteristic than the creative placement does, it becomes mostly the one that irritates the viewers more. Some scenes make the viewers confused about whether it is a drama or an advertisement between the dramas. For example, any of the viewers who have seen the drama named Descendants of the Sun would be able to tell the name of Song Hye-kyo’s favorite sandwich: honey oatmeal sandwich which is full of vegetables. It’s like watching a documentary full of a heroine’s every minute. Cameras follow her from when she orders sandwiches, eats, and even until she brings some to the co-workers. It might be just as well that she has not ordered them in Uruk.
However, contrastively, there was almost no complaint about PPL when she came on the scene in the drama named That Winter, The Wind Blows as a blind woman. The lipstick for which she was employed as an advertisement model was sold out immediately after being exposed for several seconds during the drama. She used it as a useful tool to show how blind people apply makeup on themselves, by supporting her lower lip and feeling the curve of her lips to color them. Though it was an obvious on-set placement, no one could express displeasure here.
Knowing that making the hero drink a certain orange juice in a drama earns 300 million won, viewers can grasp the situation and understand it to a certain extent. But, at least, he shouldn’t have drunk it at his last moment. Excessive PPL, which does not fit its context makes, the viewers scowl at the innocent hero, or even turn the channel over getting irritated. If it is impossible to exclude PPL entirely, it’s time for witty producers to come forth. PPL should be the same as a chameleon which would be difficult to notice wherever he is. And, it is the producers and writers who can color PPL as a talented chameleon!
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