f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: The Next Frontier In Selling-Out

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

The Next Frontier In Selling-Out

I don't have a lot to say today. Instead, I'll bring up a timely issue—product placement. What with Major League Baseball annoying half of America by threatening to put Spider Man logos on the bases, it seems as though there's not many spaces that ads won't reach.

(Actually, I just noticed that our INTRANET page, which usually has a list of noteworthy newstories, today has an ad. I think that may just be an error.)

Anyway, it's odd that ads haven't filled the pages of books yet. It has happened. (See here and here.) But in general, it's been either below the radar or behind the scenes. And frankly, I'm not quite sure why. If you're a pulp novelist with decent sales and no literary pretensions, why don't you have your agent go to companies with fair proposals? It's not like we're not innundated in TV and movies? I mean, Cast Away is basically one big FedEx commercial. Italian Job did nicely for Cooper Minis. And ET was supposed to eat M&M's before Reeses bought his little glowing heart with a pile of cold cash.

Publishers Weekly has actually made mention of product placement issues in Christian books, particularly those with notable non-fiction authors, hammering T.D. Jakes' Cover Girls and the Kingsbury/Smalley novel Redemption. But those are more of cross-promotion than ad selling.

Either way, it's not the most wonderful of issues. I think it'll come up more and more. Maybe my next hero will just happen to use the New Revised Standard Bible as he happens to turn to a life-altering passage just when he needs it. Or maybe a scene with a neighbor converted by Testamints is just the key. I've got two kids who eventually need to go to college. Someone's going to have to foot the bill.

I have a feeling this could get nutty in the comment section, and while I welcome all your jokes and nonsense, let's also try to spend a little time focusing in on the actual ramifications of this in the midst of your "Why look at all those empty Levi's. We must have been Left Behind. Thankfully we have great jeans while we're here"-jokes.