`EDtv' makes zip on brands


Holy product placement!

Moviegoers who caught "EDtv" during its opening weekend couldn't help but notice the number of name-brand products featured in the film.

For those not familiar with the concept of "EDtv," it's the tale of Ed, a regular guy who agrees to let a cable TV channel broadcast his life, 24 hours a day.

Ed eats Pop Tarts for breakfast and drinks lots of Pepsi. His girlfriend, Shari, delivers packages for UPS, wearing the company's trademark brown uniform.

Factor in the dozens of companies -- including Calgon, Saturn, Maytag and Trojan -- who buy commercial time on Ed's TV show, and who could blame moviegoers for assuming serious cash was made from product placement?

Director Ron Howard wishes.

"I thought we were going to get a lot of money out of this product placement. I really did," he said.

But that wasn't the case. Advertisers granted permission to use their logos but wouldn't pay any placement fees.

"They wouldn't because of the satirical nature of the movie," Howard explained. "Its irreverent edginess made them fear somehow that their product would be in a movie that was a little too controversial, that it may be used in a situation that might not do the product credit. Or they thought we might make fun of it."

Pub Date: 4/03/99

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