The Las Vegas Sun has an interesting little scoop on the product placement in KVVU Las Vegas’ morning newscasts. The Meredith station has featured cups of McDonald’s iced coffee on the anchor desk for a few weeks (sort of the morning news equivalent of the Coke cups on American Idol), but the Sun says the cups are merely props.
Reports Abigal Goldman:
But wait, here’s the best part: They’re not real. Fake coffee on the real news, two plastic cups permanently filled with some kind of bogus drink. The anchors aren’t even supposed to acknowledge them, McDonald’s reps explain. …So they just sit there, two logo-emblazoned plastic cups, percolating into the psyche. Made-to-scale models that weigh something like seven pounds each — refreshing, and bottom-line boosting!
KVVU News Director Adam Bradshaw–who refers to the cups as a "nontraditional revenue source"–tells the paper the cups are put there after 7 a.m., when the station’s morning news shifts from hard news to lighter fare. He says:
“I stress the fact that it is being done on a program that is a combination of news entertainment and lifestyle programming."
KVVU general manager Holly Steuart, a former news director, says she hasn’t heard a negative word from viewers. "I believe news and sales can co-exist on television with clear boundaries," she says.
ADDED:The NY Times weighs in on KVVU’s product integration on page 1 of its Business section today. KVVU is not the only Meredith station placing products in its newscasts.
The Times reports:
With the economy in rough shape and advertisers funneling more dollars to the Internet, the television industry is trying to increase its revenues. Neither the agency nor KVVU would reveal the price of the six-month deal.
Other stations owned by Meredith — including WFSB, the CBS affiliate in Hartford, Conn., and WGCL, the CBS affiliate in Atlanta — are also accepting product placements on their morning shows.