If you were watching CNN’s coverage of the midterm elections last night, you may have notied that all of the anchors were using Microsoft Surfaces. Microsoft actually paid to have them there, bringing product placement into the news. However, the CNN anchors clearly weren’t able to do everything they wanted with their new tablets. Some viewers paying attention very closesly to the broadcast noticed that the anchors were ignoring their Surfaces, instead opting to use their iPads. The anchors tried to hide their iPad usage, but a few camera angles revealed that the Microsoft Surfaces provided to them weren’t being used.
Well, I guess you can say they were being used… as props for their iPads.
Microsoft has been a fan of product placement for their Surface tablets. I’ve seen it clearly on a number of TV shows, including (but certainly not limited to) CBS and CW shows here in the US. It’s always a bit obnoxious when the writers have to write in the, “Let me just use my Surface”, lines and actions. These moments are always out of place in the show, and as a “tech person”, I often cringe when seeing things done on the tablet that just shoudn’t be, especially when far more powerful or usesful computers are within reach.
Samsung has had similar issues with product placement, when sponsors were caught using their product of choice, despite being paid by Samsung to use a Samsung device. Frequently, the sponsored celebrity will be caught using an iPhone, Samsung’s key competitor. It’s questionable whether or not anyone is actually swayed by product placement and celebriity endorsements, but companies like Microsoft and Samsung aren’t stopping anytime soon, even if they do ocasionally backfire.