To 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