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Headshot of me wearing red lipstick Kara Babcock

Product Placement: Fun for the Whole Family!

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Next time you and your family sit down in front of the television to watch your favourite new episode of whatever show you like to watch, try the following game. It's really cool and could liven up what might otherwise be a dull evening, especially if no one spontaneously combusts.

We all know that product placement is becoming increasingly common. As personal video recorders allow people to skip commercials, companies have to find other ways to market their products through television. Suddenly a chance placement of a Coca-Cola can or a Dell computer may not be so "chance".

The objective of this game is quite simple: compete with each other to see who can identify the most instances of product placement in an episode of the show. Keep score on a notepad. Alternatively, use a giant, decorated chart, and gloat to your family members when you're ahead by throwing food at them (note: this may be considered bad sportsmanship in some places in North America and Europe).

You can also win in the category of "Gratuitous Product Placement". Sometimes writers will place a product in a situation which is really unnecessary; they just need somewhere to put the product into the show. Identify the most unusual placement of products--like a makeup product, such as Covergirl, in a restaurant; or a cleaning product, like CLR, in an office--for an extra point.

For a bonus round, go online and see if you can research whether or not your instances were actually product placement. Each confirmed placement is worth a bonus point in addition to spotting it in the first place.

Cheating is allowed. This includes distracting your family with ploys such as, "Mom and dad are getting a divorce", "No, dear, I really do like your hair", and of course, the famous, "Look! A distraction!" The only type of cheating not allowed is actually buying product placement time for products of your choice; you can't stack the deck.

Note: Coca-Cola, Dell, Covergirl, and CLR did not in any way pay to be mentioned in this blog post. Well, probably not. It's not like you can hack into my bank account to prove it either way. Don't judge me.