If you are FX, you take a very good movie and you paste "DIRT, SEASON FINALE, SUN 10P" in the corner of the screen.
And you keep it there for the duration of the movie.
The movie in question was Any Given Sunday, one of Oliver Stone’s finer moments as a filmmaker with miraculously good performances from Lawrence Taylor, Lauren Holly and Jamie Foxx, and the likes Cameron Diaz and Al Pacino playing well above par.
There are several places where a marketing message should never appear, and the corner of a TV screen is one of them. Let’s put it this way. It’s my TV. So that space in the corner, it belong to me. If you want to use it, you are going to have to rent it. You may work out a deal with my cable provider who will work out a deal with me. And even then, I will opt in. Or I won’t. Otherwise, it’s hand’s off.
What FX did on the weekend was larceny. Grand or petty, you decide. We should hope that the consumer punishes FX by boycotting them. I’m going to.
There is a larger "product placement" issue here. I am on record as saying product placement is a bad idea, especially when it interferes with the suspension of disbelief. There are exceptions and one of them happens to occur in Any Given Sunday. Coach (Al Pacino) and his new star (Willie "Steamin" Beamen, as played by Jamie Foxx), make an attempt at conversation on the plane home from a victory. It goes badly. Coach is patronizing. Beamen is quietly scornful.
They decide to try again, over dinner at Coach’s house on the water. Beamen is out of his depth and manifestly uncomfortable. But he knows one thing: that Coach is going to renew his efforts to play "father" to his "son," and he is going to use this leverage to push Beamen into sacrificing his interests for those of the team. In this alien circumstance, Beamen needs a way to show his distance, to send Coach a message. His choice of Budweiser does this perfectly. It separates him from this house, this world, this coach.
This Bud works so successfully on the screen that it is impossible to know whether it is product placement or another of Stone’s inspired directorial choices. And that is what it should always be. Anything more obvious is too obvious. This is the standard of subtlety that must apply when commerce meets culture in this context. And by this standard, any ad stuck in the corner of the screen is an abomination. And it has to be punished.
The Wikipedia entry on boycott here.