Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dubai as Product Placement

One of the many nice things about the Internet is that I can watch television shows from across the world, which really means the US (and in one case Canada), with the occasional Taiwanese drama thrown in. This includes Little Mosque on the Prairie (the Canadian exception). One of the characters just went to Dubai (temporarily) to work on the "World's Tallest Tower." Secret Dubai reports that Dubai was also in the US show Gossip Girl, that time referencing the Palm. Now, if this were a brand, or a specific resort, I would be confident that it is product placement. As it is, I am pretty sure that it is as well. Dubai does have a lot of hype surrounding it, but characters very rarely leave the scene of their shows, and the city is nothing if not good at self promotion.

This looks like a paid advertisement as well, although given 60 Minutes reputation as a major show I would like to think they haven't sold out that much, and are merely buying into it all (Dubai is pretty cool, after all, much as we like to complain about the negative aspects).

Update: I just saw the next Little Mosque on the Prairie and yes, it is product placement. The main plot line was about a character getting engaged, but within the first few minutes another main character (the one that came to Dubai in the last episode), was back, had an amazing time, mentioned that the restaurants are "indeed fabulous" and then got into an argument with his wife because, despite all of the wonderful shopping opportunities, he forgot to bring her a gift, which itself carried out into the first half of the show. The same wife character read her husband's Dubai guide while he was gone and mentioned that she learned about Sheikh Mohammaed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum. I love Dubai, and I agree, there are some good restaurants and shops, but it really makes no sense for the city to be featured in a show about a small town on the Canadian plains.