If there’s one thing One Tree Hill knows, it’s how to stay alive. A pure entertainment show with few claims to artistic legitimacy, One Tree Hill is the perfect place for that horrible product placement brand of advertising that television audiences loathe so much.
So, while many shows of lesser ridiculousness have been killed off because the networks couldn’t afford them, One Tree Hill has been boosting its budget with an abundance of well-placed product placement. A couple years ago the brand Sunkist was all over Tree Hill as the sponsor of the concert that Peyton was putting on. The producers may have collected serious ad money for this stunt, but they also managed to make their concert feel more real by placing their sponsor where there would naturally be a sponsor in the real world.
What One Tree Hill did last week was similar but not quite as sly. Again boosting their budget with shameless advertising, the show somehow had to work the video game Sims 3 into their plot. So, with nothing to lose and no criticism to gain, the writers gave the product to adorable 6 year old Jamie, who used it to create a nostalgic fantasy Tree Hill in which his family and friends could live happily without any of the drama of the real (TV) place.
Now this extent of blatant advertising would really bother me were it to be a part of any show other than One Tree Hill. But the Tree Hill gang jumped the shark so long ago and are so obvious about their budgetary choices that to argue that the product placement hinders their story-telling would be pointless… and wrong to some extent. The Sunkist concert, in my opinion, benefited from the sponsorship, and last week’s Sims 3 story was really quite bittersweet and lovely. And you just know the producers are already cooking up something great for whatever stupid product they have to peddle next.
If ever there was a place for product placement, it’s definitely Tree Hill.