A compendium of original and borrowed content regarding Tablet PCs and fun Technologies

Friday, February 8, 2008

Product Placement and CSI NY

Last Wednesday night, the eo TufTab made its debut on CSI NY, playing a supporting role for the Sahara which has already been prominently featured on the popular show. That's the good news. The bad news is that the Sahara and eo TufTab were supposed to be used for the entire season, but due to the shutdown from the writer's strike, the show stopped filming four months ago.

For the CSI NY episodes where they were featured, these devices got a lot of exposure. The actors carried the Sahara all around the lab and used the touch screen to access different files. From a marketing standpoint, the TabletKiosk, Sahara and eo logos could be clearly seen on close-ups and the show and have gotten some online attention in blogs like this one.

So you know, this product placement opportunity was orchestrated by Microsoft. Last summer, our Microsoft Account Manager contacted me to see if we were interested in sending some units up to Redmond so that they could present them to the show senior producers. From what I heard, several Tablet PCs and UMPCs were shown at the meeting and the producers chose the Sahara, among others, to feature on the show.

I mention Microsoft’s involvement with this because if it weren’t for the Power Meeting in Redmond, this opportunity would not have happened. Microsoft wanted to show Vista running on a cool hardware solution, which is why TabletKiosk products wound up on CSI.

So what’s my take on product placement in general? I think that it can be a very expensive proposition if you don’t have connections. I get calls all the time from Product Placement agencies hoping to get me sign expensive contracts and give away tablets as demo units to build up the TabletKiosk brand. My standard answer is no, because with a limited budget, I prefer a traditional targeted campaign.

The CSI exposure has given us some great publicity, but I know that opportunities like this don’t happen every day. So for now I hope the writer’s strike gets settled soon, filming continues as planned and my Sahara Tablet and eo TufTab keep making special guest starring appearances on CSI.

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