In August, Dell Computers hit the cover of Businessweek with the title "Dark Days at Dell," and judging by the comments below the article, most of them expressed Dell's incompetence.
This past Wednesday, President George W. Bush made a reference to Dell Computers in his press conference (click here to see this video). I don't know if you see a pattern or formula here, Dell + Bush = Incompetence.
I felt bad for my co-worker when he was on the phone for a very long time with Dell's Customer Support after just recently purchasing a Dell monitor, and judging by his conversation, this was not his first time calling Dell regarding this same matter.
This is what really bothered me about X-Men: The Last Stand. The movie had a great story, but I was extremely disappointed that the producers and directors of this movie chose Dell computers to represent "high-tech progression" and "competence." The idea of Professor Charles Xavier using Dell computers to revive Jean Grey/Phoenix, is not credible. I don't think I was actively looking a product placement, but it stuck out like a sore thumb. In this scene, Jean-Grey was in a sterile white room, and had tiny electrodes stuck to her forehead that measured her neural behavior, which was displayed on a Dell monitor.
Anyway, this is a pattern that I keep seeing in both movies and television. Although, in movies, I believe it's more effective in brainwashing, since the product placement is more subversive. Recently, I was watching Google's interactive cable channel, which is suppose to be "VCC" (Viewer Created Content), and I was really disappointed in their direction of using product placement in their banner ad (or is it called "anchor?"). Last May, I was able to watch an engaging story about poetry. Last month, I saw a "Pop Secret popcorn ad" endorsing The Grudge 2 movie. It was really obvious and cheesy (animated popcorn coming out of movie bucket). I guess that's what really bothers me about Google's purchase of YouTube (sorry, the pres. video above was the only one I could find).
Anyway, if you're really tired of product placement, get up, and walk to your local park, meditate, try a new restaurant (not a chain one), or read a book. Free your mind.