remember reading old paperbacks in the 70s, and how some of them would have a colored insert (on cardstock paper), ads for cigarettes or books or whatever. It was a little bit of advertising that only lasted as long as it took to toss it aside and get back to the story.
Of course, those were those funny pre-market days. This latest bit I came across while reading What Money Can’t Buy (which will be reviewed in a couple of weeks). This is a book that looks at all the places the market has nosed into over the last thirty years. However, they mentioned this nugget – a book named The Bulgari Connection. The buzz is that the Bulgari Jewelry Company commissioned writer Fay Weldon to put their product in her story – that they would pay her an undisclosed amount of money is she mentioned Bulgari stones at least twelve times. Eager to suck that teat, she actually plopped it into her story thirty-four times (way to go, Fay!). I wonder if they counted the title – she was at it by the the second word of her draft!
I’m already not keen on the idea of using straw men in stories, of making political good guys and bad guys. But this goes even different – this breaks a bond between writers and their readers. Yes, we expect you to be paid, but the idea of altering the story to fit a company’s desires really stinkifies your cred. So, should I ever read a Weldon book, how can I be sure she’s not on the take again?
More coffee, Ted? It’s Folgers!
Still, my personal bleating sounds like all the outrage when the first law company spammed across email. Yes, you could get mad. Yes, you could fax them a blank paper one hundred times. But markets invade everything. They are on our stadiums, our private parks, and in our movies. The fact that this has been done (abet crudely) doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. I’m sure it will. Already advertising is gauging how this worked, and how they can tune it even better.
And now, having said that, my own crude advertising follows…