Another much ado about nothing …

I’m surprised by the outcry over the recent revelation that McDonald’s is paying for product placement on morning news programs. In all of the uproar over this, have we forgotten that TV has a rich history of tie-in to advertising?

Growing up in Chicago, I fondly remember the great anchorman Fahey Flynn reading the evening news with a Santa Fe Railroad logo placed on his desk. Of course, back then they were a “sponsor” and, frankly, I still think highly of Flynn’s journalistic legacy.

So why does an iced coffee placed on a morning news desk cheapen the quality of the newscast? Now, some may argue that a Fox newscast can’t be any more cheaper. But as long as we don’t get comments like “Boy, Mark, the economic news today is awful, but this iced coffee from McDonald’s is already making me feel better” viewers should be able to discern legitimate news from the barrage of ads.

Again, I think we don’t give our audience enough credit for being smart enough to separate news from ads. Maybe that’s why we’re losing them in droves.

Actally, I question if McDonald’s expects a return on their investment. How many people are going to run to McD’s and say “I want the same iced coffee I saw on ‘Fox News in the Morning!'”

Do they really expect that?


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