My family are away in Spain without me at the moment, so I have been using my time wisely and watching all the back episodes of the remake of Hawaii Five-O.
A few things jump out for me.
1. It has the most unsubtle product placement I have ever seen, with the sponsors ‘Holiday Inn’ dragged into almost every story as some part of the plotline. So for example, when a witness needed to be moved, they sent her off to the Holiday Inn rather than an un-named hotel.
2. The cars throughout are Chevrolets. And I now want a Camaro. I guess it is a mid-life crisis, but I think it’s the sort of subtle car I need for cruising around Nottingham. It will sit well in our car park, next to Mich’s diesel Smart ForTwo. He would be sort of an offset for my huge fuel consumption if I drove this around town.
3. The series is so silly and glossy – almost like a a set designer has spent a few weeks watching Spooks over here and copied all their tech tricks.
4. There are some brilliant references to the old series though. My favourite so far was when McGarret was about to get Danno to do the line and he stopped him and said ‘Don’t even say it’ when he was about to say ‘book him Danno, Murder one’.
So does product placement work in this context?
For me, it has drilled the concept of going to Hawaii for my 50th into the front of my mind (in four years, before you ask), just so I can use the gag. And it’s made me want a Camaro, so yes, I guess it has.
Will I do either though?
I doubt it.
So Product placement works in a few ways. It changes perceptions for high value products and has a chance of conversion to a sale on low value, more immediate product.
If it’s done well and built into the story, it can work. Okay, more research.