It's a harsh evening the the desert town, when the cowboy turns to face his partner and say, "Man, I'm parched." When the partner turns around to reply, we pan out enough to see a giant Pepsi sign glowing over the face of a vending machine. We've all encountered product placement and integration before - some of it more appropriately executed than others - and we all know the reason for the Pepsi machine in the background exists because Pepsi supported the financial end of the film in some way. Could the same concept be applied to literature? Maybe it's a long time coming. Maybe it was never used in books for reason. Or maybe it's all ready happened and we just haven't realized it.
Wish I Had One of Those.
When I was about a sophomore in high school, I burned halfway through a Dean Koontz novel before I stopped on a line about this dog that cold tell the difference between a Coors and a Diet Pepsi. The character had both in his fridge, and he would tell his golden retriever whether he wanted a beer or a cola. The dog would then hop to his feet and grab whichever.
As I read through the rest of the book, their were several occurrences of dog-gets-beverage, and every product was specifically named. I always wondered if Koontz was paid every time the dog brought back a Coors or Pepsi.
In all likelihood, he didn't.
But in an effort to find ways to finance publications, Esquire came up with an idea. Esquire still suffers from major losses in 2009, and the people there know the antiquated way of running off of ad revenue would soon be inefficient. Now they've release an app for your smartphone, PC, or tablet that let's you cut, copy, paste, clip, and so on from a print publication so you do not necessarily need a digital format. Instead of searching online for the article so you can share it with others, you simply take a formatted image and send it instantly.
The heart of this app is to generate a new source of ad revenue. Links within the publication can be used a hypertext. You could clip a section and essentially click on the link with your device.
Although many say we're completely digital now, it's simply not true. We're in a transitional period. One day all things might be digital, but while print styles still exist it's important they find ways to adapt. This is definitely a cool idea for keeping newspapers and magazines alive.
But I wouldn't doubt a book or two to act just the same. You could drink buy anything the characters by just by snapping a picture through the book's app. I think this would be a fun too play around with, but do we really want advertisements built into our literature? I mean, do we really even like it on our Facebook streams?
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.