Is it good publicity or bad publicity  when your product crushes somebody’s skull? That’s the question Ford executives must be mulling in the aftermath of the final Sopranos episode. As brand-conscious viewers surely noticed, the camera lingered over Ford’s “Blue Oval” badge on the grille of the Expedition SUV in which Tony Soprano nemesis Phil Leotardo was sitting right before he got shot (and before the SUV administered a coup de grace by rolling over his head). It looked for all the world like a paid product placement. The article linked above, from The Detroit News, quotes a Ford spokesman as saying it wasn’t. Nonetheless, it also says the chief of Ford’s Hollywood product-placement office was “pleasantly surprised” when he saw the scene. Ford workers in Dearborn were said to be engaged in much water-cooler debate about the matter. The article further notes that Ford fared better than Nissan, at least, whose Xterra SUV incinerated itself after parking atop a pile of dry leaves. Good point.
—Posted by Mark Dolliver