Product placement that’s to die for

SteelersTo honor “one of the biggest Steelers fans in the universe,” the friends and family of James Henry Smith, 55, who died last week of prostate cancer, did a strange thing: For the viewing at the funeral home, they re-created his typical Sunday living-room scene, complete with Smith laid out on his recliner. “In silk black-and-gold pajamas, velvety black robe and slippers, James Henry Smith is at rest,” goes the story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “His feet are crossed, his pack of cigarettes and a beer by his side. Steelers highlights are playing on a high-definition TV screen nearby. With the TV remote in his hand, leaning back in his recliner, a Steelers blanket across his legs, it’s like a game-day Sunday. Except that it’s not.” Now, not to be crass about this, but talk about product placement! What kind of smokes were they? What brand of beer? Was that a Sony high-def TV or a Samsung? Have we been completely ignoring another great venue for branding? Well, maybe not completely. The funeral director in the Post-Gazette story does say that some families of young men have asked that their loved ones be laid out in popular hip-hop clothing brands like Fubu and Pelle-Pelle.

—Posted by Tim Nudd