doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Product Placement

First off …


Today marks a day of rotating strike action by ETFO members in the following districts:

  • Avon Maitland
  • Campbell Children’s School
  • Durham
  • Durham Catholic
  • Hastings and Prince Edward
  • Lambton Kent
  • Peel
  • Rainbow
  • Thames Valley
  • Upper Grand

Details here.


Today marks a day of striking by some OSSTF members

  • Lakehead District School Board
  • Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board
  • Lambton Kent District School Board
  • Thames Valley District School Board
  • Waterloo Region District School Board
  • Waterloo Catholic District School Board
  • York Region District School Board
  • York Catholic District School Board
  • Halton District School Board
  • Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board

Some members from:

  • Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir
  • Conseil scolaire Viamonde

Details here.


Today marks a day of striking by some OECTA members

  • Algonquin-Lakeshore
  • Brant Haldimand Norfolk
  • Bruce-Grey Elementary/Secondary
  • Dufferin-Peel Elementary
  • Dufferin-Peel Secondary
  • Durham Elementary/Secondary
  • Eastern Ontario
  • Halton Elementary
  • Halton Secondary
  • Hamilton Secondary
  • Hamilton-Wentworth
  • Huron-Perth
  • Huron-Superior
  • Kenora
  • London District
  • Niagara Elementary/Secondary
  • Nipissing Elementary/Secondary
  • Northeastern
  • Northwest
  • Ottawa
  • Peterborough VNC
  • Renfrew
  • Simcoe Muskoka Elementary/Secondary
  • St. Clair Elementary/Secondary
  • Sudbury Elementary/Secondary
  • Superior North
  • Thunder Bay Elementary
  • Thunder Bay Secondary
  • Toronto Elementary
  • Toronto Secondary
  • Waterloo
  • Wellington
  • Windsor-Essex Elementary/Secondary
  • York

Details here.

On the heels of the post yesterday about Super Bowl advertisements, this seems like a logical further discussion.  It’s the concept of Product Placement – this time virtually.

It often doesn’t apply to the advertisements that I talked about yesterday – those are very explicit about the product and focus just on that.  With a 30 or 60 second commercial, you don’t have too much wiggle room.

This morning, I was watching some American news and those who were hosting the show were live from a coffee shop in Iowa talking about the caucuses.  The host normally drives from a Starbuck’s cup but this morning, she was drinking from a mug branded by the coffee shop.  In the background on the wall, I also noticed that the network broadcasting the show had a license plate with its initials on it and the chalkboard that’s so often used in these places to sell product had the network logo as well.  The content wasn’t explicitly pointed out but if you looked, you could see it. And once I saw it, I couldn’t un-see it.

I think we’ve all seen product places in movies and shows.

Who can forget this?

Recently, Peter McAsh shared this story to the ACSE discussion group.  It’s a fascinating read, as is the video references in the story.

As I started to think about this, I realized that it’s not nearly as far-fetched as we might originally think.

After all, how many of you have done “green screen” with students?  I know that I’ve led many workshops on the concept.  I always start by talking about something that everyone has experienced – the weather on the news where the meteorologist stands in front of a green screen with all kinds of details and maps behind him/her. One of the key messages is that you can’t wear green.

We see the concept in other places.  Most notably in sports.  How often do you see advertisements on the boards of a hockey game or on the field of a football game and they are constantly changing?  Or you see it in an area of the fence of a baseball game and yet there’s no message there when they run a replay?

So, in the article that Peter shared, is this not the logical next step?  Charge a fee and place that product right in the show!  A couple of ideas come to mind…

  • You record an advertisement once but work with the product differently depending upon your audience.  I’m thinking in particular of having an English product placement for one part of the country and a French product placement for others.  Double the value for the same money.
  • Or maybe the product just isn’t available in the market.  I’m thinking of how I used to bring ketchup Pringles, Aero and Coffee Crisp chocolate bars to CSTA events in the US.  Those products are not available south of the border but could easily be replaced by something that is.
  • And probably the biggest one as discussed in the article.  More and more people are dropping traditional television for something streaming where you don’t have commercial breaks.  Simple solution – just embed it into the movie or the show.

The concept is in place in many places and students are experiencing it.  I have a fond memory of visiting Sir Arthur Currie Public School and having Sue Bruyns giving me the tour which included this green creative space.

Product placement happens every day in the classroom, even if by accident. Take a look around your room and look at the product names that are embedded in student eyesight all the time. Maybe you do it yourself. Your school has locked down computers for student use but you do your presentations on a shiny Macbook with its bright white logo glaring in the eyes of your students. It’s not just that brand; but they’re the only ones I know that are so strikingly visible.

Thanks, Peter, for the article.  It really got me thinking and certainly should speak to everyone about how things in schools need to be constantly on the cutting edge.  We live in a different world with different times and need to be aware of what’s coming and how to prepare for it.

And, throw in a piece of media literacy as well so that students can truly understand what they’re seeing when they’re seeing it!


3 responses to “Product Placement”

  1. Such an interesting read! While not necessarily product placement, when you spoke about the school piece, I couldn’t help but think about placement of items on the wall or on the table. We try to put things at student height on the wall, and purposely lay items out as we do on the table. The thought is that they’ll read and access things if they can see them. Environmental print is big in kindergarten, and having certain signs (as we do at LEGO) or even recyclable items from home at eye level, happens all the time. Kids will often read the words in addition to using the materials. Could this be a modified form of product placement? Hmmm …



  2. […] Product Placement – doug — off the record […]


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