I am responding to the marketing column "Automakers on slippery slope toward infomercials" in some editions of your June 10 issue.
When Procter & Gamble ruled the daytime radio airwaves with its soap operas back in the 1930s and 1940s, products were worked into the story lines in a way that today would seem laughable. Like:
"Oh, Monica, it's so good to see you, and where did you get that stunning brooch? It's resplendent in its loveliness!"
"Why, thank you, Martin. It took only 12 boxtops from Duz detergent, the powerful cleaner that's gentle enough for crystal!"
Today's product placements in dramatic series are subtle in comparison.
Until "No Boundaries," I haven't heard of a one-sponsor weekly series in years. The days of "Texaco Star Theater," "Voice of Firestone," "U.S. Steel Hour," and - automotively speaking - "The Dinah Shore Chevy Show" are long gone.
It is amazing to me that people can get upset about product placement in "Survivor" and other "reality" series. "Survivor," like "The Price is Right," is a game show. Sixteen contestants are vying for $1 million.
Game show contestants win prizes. The prizes are provided by manufacturers who, in return, get their products described during the show. This is nothing new, and I don't think the American public should feel, or does feel, bamboozled.
Perhaps it's a testament to Mark Burnett and his team that "Survivor" comes across more as a drama than as the game show it really is.