Sopranos: Blow Up Your Product Placement (Warning: Contains Spoilers For Final Episode)

Posted by: Jon Fine on June 11, 2007

It’s kind of funny Sopranos’ capo di tutti capi David Chase blew up AJ’s bright-yellow Nissan Xterra in the final episode.

It was responsible for some of the show’s most egregious product-placement dialogue (for a series that doesn’t actually do paid product placement deals, that is), back when Tony presented it to him in Season 5. In that scene, as AJ dashed towards the Nissan while (atypically) evidencing aneurysm-level excitement, Tony cockily reassured Carmella that the SUV comes with “sensors in the seat belts. Part of Nissan’s triple-safety philosophy.”

Said dialogue prompted Laura Caraccioli-Davis, a smart exec who works on product placement deals for ad giant Starcom, to tut-tut the product shout-out as being “really obvious … It disengaged me from the story. It was very overt.”

I wrote a long story about the Sopranos’ dances with product a few years back when I worked at Ad Age. (Not sure if it’s firewalled but try this link.) In the course of reporting about why and how certain cars got very loving onscreen depictions and descriptions (like Johnny Sack’s Maserati), a HBO spokesman informed me that the show followed “industry standards that dictate a product be used in the way in which it is intended.”

And then Chase goes and sets an SUV on fire—and later has AJ tell his shrink about how great it was to watch it burn.

I guess it’s true that the show didn’t need the truck anymore, but still. All we can say is: Kids, please don’t try this at home.

(Obnoxious Editorial Comment: Am I the only one who thinks Tony got whacked at the very end?)

Reader Comments

Smiley

June 12, 2007 12:03 PM

No doubt, Tony took one to the back of the head and never saw it coming. Everything just went black for him.

paul

June 12, 2007 5:21 PM

For egregious product placement, how about them mentioning the name of the diner in the last scene three or four times? Holsten's, Holsten's, Holsten's. I'll never be able to get in the place now.

JimSantaFe

June 12, 2007 7:28 PM

Mr Fine: I think it quite possible that Tony got whacked at the end and that is what the sudden black screen meant; but we'll never know. What we do know is that twice during the Last Hour we heard that Carlos's 'flip' will "90% sure" result
in an indictment of Tony -- his lawyer told him that, and he told Carmela in the cafe. I think we kneed to hear that too; quite a likely outcome.
I thought the Hitchcock ending quite wonderful; the controlled tension of the final cafe scene was remarkable. I was jumping out of my skin,
weren't you?
A great series, a masterful and unusual ending.
JIM
santa fe
nm
mrmyster@comcast.net

danny

October 9, 2008 2:02 AM

im watching the dvd, and as soon as i heard the Nissan plug, i had to google it to see what a horrendous product placement decision this was.

Post a comment

 

About

The media world continues to shapeshift as new forms arise and old assumptions erode. On this blog, Bloomberg Businessweek will provide sharp analysis and timely reports on the transformation of this constantly changing terrain.

Categories

 

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!