Placement of products can be bad news

There are some things that TV news viewers (the few of them that are left) have gotten used to over the years: awkward banter between the anchors, overenthusiastic sports newscasters, in-depth meteorological explanations when a simple umbrella symbol would do.

There are some things that TV news viewers (the few of them that are left) have gotten used to over the years: awkward banter between the anchors, overenthusiastic sports newscasters, in-depth meteorological explanations when a simple umbrella symbol would do.

If you're watching a Meredith Corporation broadcast station, you might also be getting used to product placements during a broadcast.

The Las Vegas Sun reported last week that Meredith-owned KVVU, a Fox affiliate, placed cups of McDonald's iced coffee on the anchor desk during the morning show in recent weeks. The New York Times reported that other Meredith-owned stations across the country have also been accepting product placements during morning programming.

Brent Williams, an account supervisor with McDonald's' ad agency, Karsh/Hagan, told the Times: "If there were a story going up, let's say, God forbid, about a McDonald's food illness outbreak or something negative about McDonald's, I would expect the station would absolutely give us the opportunity to pull our product off set."

Church and state people! Times are tough for everyone, but there are lines news organizations simply shouldn't cross. This Faustian arrangement foreshadows an ethical breach. Let's keep the advertising where it belongs - in 30-second breaks that we can easily bypass with our DVRs.

PR play rating
1. Clueless
2. (Ill-advised)
3.On the right track
4. Savvy
5. Ingenious

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