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Next generation gadget marketing: buy stuff on TV with your remote

Syntax Olevia 37-inch HDTV LCD

So marketing agents (not to be confused with capital A Agents, of course…) have finally figured out that nobody watches commercials anymore, and they're starting on a new tack: "branded entertainment," which appears to be the new buzzword for "product placement." This means gadgets and gizmos are becoming more prominent in the plot lines of prime-time shows, with an eye toward the next phase of e-commerce in which "object-tracking" technology will allow viewers to actually buy featured products with a simple click of the remote. Most of the technology is already there now, so it's only a matter of shaking out the details with cable operators, who are already interested in making their set-top boxes more interactive; the prediction is that object-tracking and one-click buying will be available to TV viewers by the end of 2006. Marketers are already wielding enough power to change plot lines to more favorably highlight their brands — and what are the ethical implications of this sort of "fictional advertising"? Sure, a TV show might serve as a decent product demo if the characters actually use the devices legitimately, but what happens when people are persuaded to pick up a gadget based on an entirely fictional function created to prop up a plot line?

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