March 1st, 2009
Product Placements, Deftly Woven Into the Story Line
By Brian Stelter
The New York Times
On “Harlem Heights,” a new reality show on BET, the young and hip stars swish Listerine, treat their allergies with Zyrtec, and sweeten their coffee with Splenda.
For those who do not take note of the corporate logos on mouthwash, allergy medicines or artificial sweeteners, all three products are manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, one of the country’s pre-eminent consumer goods companies.
The products were placed within the scenes of “Harlem Heights” as part of an extensive partnership between Johnson & Johnson and BET, the leading cable channel for black viewers. Through the arrangement, Listerine, Zyrtec and the skin care brand Ambi are woven into the stories of the eight young New York professionals who are profiled on “Harlem Heights.” Splenda and the hand sanitizer Purell are also present as the cast members conduct their daily lives.