Silico is set in a world even more corporatized
than our own, and so I've mentioned a lot of brands.
I felt silly about giving companies free advertising,
so I invoiced ten of them them for product placement.
I got a few responses (though none with enclosed cheques)
so once the invoices were past due, I wrote follow-up
letters. You can read them, and see the original invoices,
lots of good reasons for corporate brands to appear
in art. Realism, for instance they're a part
of the world, like it or not, and no-name products can
be jarring. But product placement is like inviting someone
to a party just because they have a car on the
surface, everyone wins, since the driver gets to go
to a party, and no one has to pay for a taxi. But it
casts an insincere light over the whole affair.
no coincidence that television and magazines are less
respected than movies and books. Most people not even
in the industry know that controversial television shows
lose their advertisers, and that the ad sales department
at a magazine is more powerful than the editorial. People
dare to say things in books and movies that people in
magazines and television wouldn't even bother to try
getting past the sponsors, and our lives are the richer
and books still have the kind of cultural power that
allow us to speak to ourselves in a profound and honest
voice, without the single-minded marketer cracking jokes
in the back. Allowing the same kind of ad saturation
in movies and books that we allow in other mediums means
that we're willing to trade off this power for something
much less important.