Prime-Time Peddling

The 30-second spot is under assault. But advertisers and TV producers have a solution: make the brand an inseparable part of the show

When the creators of a new sitcom called The Loop pitched their show to executives at the Fox television network, the broadcast moneymen liked the idea of a sitcom about young guys living in Chicago. But what they loved was the fact that products on the set wouldn't be an afterthought brought in by a prop master. Instead, viewers would see the same products every week, cleverly woven into the plot throughout the season, and characters would discuss the brands—a bit like a 13-week ad campaign. Sure enough, the network picked up the show. Co-creator Will Gluck says he wanted to...

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