What counts as the proper way to promote a sponsored product on your show can be highly subjective. Some will say if it is so subtle that most people don't notice it then the purpose of it was defeated.
Others are of the opinion that it shouldn't be so jarring that it takes you out of the moment completely. After all, you're here for the show and not the sponsored content.
Either way, there are cases of product placement that the vast majority will agree are totally lacking in both subtlety and grace.
Related: Get CBS All Access via Prime Video Channels for Hit Shows, Exclusive Originals & Live TV!
Somehow, the producers decided that since they can't directly ask you to buy a certain product, it was best to just flood their audience's mind constant name-dropping and gratuitous, lingering shots of said products.
We have decided to comb through a lot of these and pick out the worst of the bunch. It may be for the jarring effect or because they make absolutely no sense in context, but these 13 cases stood out as terrible examples of shows not being bothered enough to put much thought into product placements.
Hyundai (The Walking Dead)
Apparently, even the apocalypse isn't enough to stop the Hyundai factory from churning out new cars. Never mind that it was the only new car in a sea of muddy, defaced cars, it was also a model made in 2014, four years ahead of the show's timeline when it appeared. So, maybe there is an element of time-travel that has been hiding in plain sight all this time which could be the cause of the virus. Only time will tell.
Bing It (Hawaii Five-0)
Seeing as Smallville is no longer on air, there aren't many shows left that can knock Hawaii Five-0 off its perch as the king of product placement. After making their way into an art showcase way back in the first season, Kelly shows Kalakaua how much he knows about art by rattling off facts he probably learned at trivia night, when she appears a little hesitant to take his word for it, he tells her to "Bing it" with a straight face. She, without missing a beat, whips out a Lumia phone and we get a closeup of her using -- you guessed it -- Bing to search the web.
Pop Tarts (House Of Cards)
For reasons that should probably remain unexplained, a few characters on this show are shown to have a box of pop tarts stored away in their fridges, with the box placed horizontally because that is totally how people keep things to maximize space. That aside, who on earth keeps pop tarts in a fridge? evil people, that's who.
Stride Gum (Smallville)
No single person in the history of TV is more notorious for shoehorning product placements into everyday conversations than Pete Ross, Clark's erstwhile best friend, also known as product placement Pete. After disappearing for over three years, a time during which Chloe filled in for him, Pete returns to Smallville in full force to reclaim his mantle by having the whole episode written around Stride gum. But not just any type of Stride gum, Kryptonite-infected Stride gum. When everything was wrapped up, he offered a pack to Chloe followed by "It's Kryptonite-free", a line which if we didn't know any better, we'd think was their slogan.
Totally ignoring the fact that the main characters have vehicles of their own, the characters are made to call an uber what feels like a million times in the span of a few episodes. We get that they live in a big city, but that doesn't make the repetitiveness any less annoying.
Range Rover (Santa Clarita Diet)
The Hammonds had so much going on in the first episode, what with Sheila turning into a zombie and all. One good thing her transformation brought was empowerment and a feeling of total liberation from her shyness. The writers then thought there was no better way to showcase Sheila's newfound rebel spirit than splurging out on a new Range Rover. After which comes the gratuitous shots of one of the characters standing at an angle where close-ups of the shiny exterior were inevitable.
This show was notorious for slowing everything down mid-episode so the characters can have a few minutes to talk at length about the new functionalities in every brand of Toyota they happen to be driving.
Cheerios (Days Of Our Lives)
First, Cheerios is what you want when you want some of that healthy cereal in your diet because it only has one gram of sugar. Plus, it helps you study better especially if you're a nursing student. Or at least that's what I got from watching this totally casual scene on Days of Our Lives.
Acai Berry Juice (General Hospital)
Not only did a character who was hospitalized instantly start to feel better the moment he consumed the juice, but it was also later found out that the promotion was put in without the express permission of those in charge of these kinds of things. It was so bad they made a different company that was an actual sponsor to pull out of their deal.
Sour Patch Kids (Kyle XY)
The best product placement is one you barely notice, a memo they clearly didn't get on Kyle XY. The main character was infused with a constant craving for these treats only for them to do an about-face and totally drop it a couple of seasons in. At least try to be consistent, people.
Subway Sandwich (Hawaii Five-0)
Apart from being awarded the honor of being the only show in history to use the phrase "Bing it", there is this scene which is basically a commercial break. Pretty much everything was put on hold for a solid 30 seconds for the two detectives to stand, listen and ask pointless questions that led to Kamekona running through a list of Subway sandwiches and ingredients, and talk about how healthy they are. The only part that was missing was him looking directly into the camera and saying "buy Subway".
Motorola RAZR (Lost)
With all the weird stuff that went down on this show, not least of which was the confusing flashforwards, flashbacks, and flash sideways. Contained in some of those flashbacks is Jack's always prominently placed Motorola RAZR. The problem is, with the flashbacks taking us way back to the year 2000, it was odd to see Jack still using a phone that was manufactured several years later. Maybe buried in all that weirdness is an answer that we missed, but we're not holding our breath.
The fridge is house to a lot of things, from fruits to leftovers, even vegetables usually have a spot. But not in the Kent house (a farmhouse no less) where the majority of items contained are Pepsi products.