Name-brand products make regular appearances on television shows, where they are typically written into a drama, comedy or reality program. "American Idol" viewers, for example, have come to expect to see a Coke cup in front of Simon Cowell as he dresses down contestants.
But TV news?
In recent weeks, anchors on the Fox affiliate in Las Vegas, KVVU, sit with cups of McDonald's iced coffee on their desks during the news-and-lifestyle portion of their morning show. The anchors rarely touch the cups.
Executives at the station, one of 12 owned by Meredith Corporation, say the six-month promotion is meant to shore up advertising revenue and, as they told the news staff, will not influence content.
"There was a healthy dose of skepticism, and I'm pleased there was -- it means they're being journalists," said Adam P. Bradshaw, news director of KVVU. The product placement was first reported Monday in The Las Vegas Sun.
The arrangement does raise questions about potential conflicts between the intended message and news content. The ad agency that arranged the promotion said the coffee cups would most likely be whisked away if KVVU chooses to report a negative story about McDonald's.