Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More Cisco product placement

Cisco has a regular product placement position on 24, which is my favorite TV show now that the Sci-Fi Channel is defunct.

Throughout the series, CTU had the distinctive ring of a Cisco VoIP phone. (Now that CTU is defunct and Chloe is a housewife, I haven’t heard many phones ring this year.)

Two years ago, Cisco made a big deal about promoting its high-end videoconferencing (dubbed TelePresence) during an international crisis during 24.

On Monday night’s episode (Season 7, Episode 16) the FBI made a big deal about getting the POTUS to electronically sign a document using a Cisco WebEx (the videoconferencing company that Cisco bought in 2007). As the Cisco press release touts:

Tune in to Fox's award winning series 24 Monday night, March 30, 9/8c in the U.S and Canada to see a powerful scene featuring Cisco WebEx virtual collaboration tools in action.…

Fans continue to be excited by this year's action-packed Fox TV series 24. And, the action continues with Cisco WebEx taking a starring role in Episode 16. The story line has President Taylor and the FBI working against the clock and using Cisco WebEx virtual collaboration tools to sign a secure digital pardon in order to save the day!
About the only place where I agree is that this season is better than most. The collaboration tools are not part of a “powerful scene,” just an obvious product plug.

It’s not like this is cutting-edge technology. Digital signatures were introduced in Acrobat 4.0, a decade ago this April. The issue has always been the law (and habit), not the technology.

Still, as with all product placement, I have to hand it to the Fox producers for getting revenues from its series that still gets paid even if commercials are skipped and episodes are posted to GooTube.

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