According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, advertising is "the techniques and practices used to bring products, services, opinions, or causes to public notice for the purpose of persuading the public to respond in a certain way to what is advertised." Advertising developed from word of mouth, signs on the streets, commercials on the radio and television, endorsements by celebrities, pop-ups on the internet, and now to the latest trend, product placement. Product placement is the deliberate yet natural use of particular products in movies, video games, books, pictures, songs, or on the radio by actors, models, characters, singers, or celebrities in order to increases awareness of the product. The birth of product placement came about with digital technology. Digital recording allows viewers to watch television while skipping commercials effortlessly. Thus, advertisers began product placement. The use of product placement and the funds generated from it have increased significantly. The growing trend of product placement is problematic because it is unethical.
Generally, product placement occurs in exchange for either free sample products or payment. When monetary compensation is given, product placement becomes an unfair journalism practice that does not clearly divide editorial content from advertising. Edward Wasserman, a professor of journalism ethics at Washington and Lee University, believes product placement already "is routine in some of the fashion magazines, because they are the quintessential corrupt publications," that fog the differences between advertising and editorial content. A recent and widely known example of product placement is the New Yorker and their Target advertisements. Target bought the rights to become the New Yorker 's sole advertiser for the August 22nd issue. Additionally, the ads did not look like ads; they were artistic illustrations with variations of the Target bulls-eye logo and did not even mention
References: Lamb, G. M. (2005, September 29). Product Placement Pushes Into Print. The Christian Science Monitor, 12, 8. Pfanner, E. (2005, October 2). Product Placement Causes a Stir in Europe. International Herald Tribune. Retrieved October 5, 2005, from http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/10/02/business/products03.php. Sutherland, M. (2005, February 22). Why Product Placement Works. Sutherland Survey. Retrieved October 2, 2005, from http://www.sutherlandsurvey.com/fyi/files/why_product_placement_works_feb05.pdf. Weaver, D. T. (2000, June). Television Programming and Advertising. University Park, PA.