Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Must See Product Placement

NBC's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is a bizarre, yet compelling example of product placement taken to the nth degree. The show itself is a huge product placement for NBC -- it's about a thinly veiled Saturday Night Live late night show. Within this show within a show, there's even more product placement for, you guessed it, NBC. Last week, Howie Mandel was the "guest host" plugging real life Deal or No Deal. Last night, Studio 60 did a take off on Dateline. Then there are the musical guests. A couple of weeks back, Sting played himself offering samples of tunes from his new album. It must have worked at some level. I went out and bought it. This week's musical guest represented a great cause, featuring musicians benefitting from the Tipitina's Foundation. The Foundation aids New Orleans musicians. You can actually catch the entire episode, product placement included on the Studio 60 site. In a nice example of multi-platforming, the tunes from the show are available free of charge on itunes.

A Great Cause
The extremely talented Forbes Magazine editor and author Paul Klebnikov was gunned down in a Moscow street in 2004. It was yet another stirring reminder that no journalist is safe in Russia. Project Klebnikov, a group of investigative journalists and media organizations, was formed about a year ago to shed light on the murder, to continue the kind of top-notch and probing investigative work that Paul was doing and also to work on improving the environment for journalists in Moscow and elsewhere. Investigative reporter, the indomitable Richard Behar, is at the helm of the group and I am doing what I can to help. I went to graduate school at the London School of Economics with Paul back in the day. We are now planning to hold a conference in Moscow next year. We are actively seeking conference sponsors and anyone with an interest in the group.