Cisco, 30 Rock
30 Rock’s approach to product placement is usually very funny. Pete’s, “Wow. This is diet Snapple?” interrupting Liz’s, “No, come on, Jack. We’re not doing that. We’re not compromising the integrity of the show to sell–” was quick, cute, and original. After discussing Verizon Wireless, Fey once looked straight into the camera and deadpanned, “Can we have our money now?” That moment felt so meta that I had to refer to Liz as Fey.
Cisco’s placement was done in jest. And yes, I know I said last week that I prefer the “if we’re going to do product placement, it might as well be a joke” style, but the Cisco gag felt wrong. I get that joke’s over-the-top delivery was a meta critique of other shows’ failed attempts to incorporate product placement seamlessly into their scripts. But why bother making fun of other shows if it slows down the pace of your own? Maybe 30 Rock’s placement style is no longer funny because we’ve come to expect it. Maybe it’s only funny when it’s sleek and snappy. Either way, Jack’s Cisco freak-out was undoubtedly this week’s Worst Product Placement.