Sunday 21st January 2018,

“30 Rock:” Canny Product Placement/ Cross-Promotion!

UPDATE: 30 Rock continued the “Dealbreaker” storyline in this week’s episode, “Kidney Live!,” and carried it to its hilarious extremes!

ORIGINAL: 30 Rock has to be the most innovative and complex comedy on network TV these days. And not only for Tina Fey’s quirky, hilarious dialogue.

30 Rock - dealbreaker

Tonight the show unveiled a storyline involving a catchphrase — “That’s a Dealbreaker, Ladies!” — on the show’s fictional show “TGS with Tracey Jordan.” 30 Rock was parodying a real show, Millionaire Matchmaker and its host/star Patti Stanger (Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney on 30 Rock) on Bravo, which is of course owned by NBC. Along with that storyline NBC started an interactive website based on “That’s a Dealbreaker” with quizzes and trivia. While the whole thing’s a little too obvious to actually become a meme or go viral, it’s a good little promo for Millionaire, whose season finale is tonight — just a little after 30 Rock! — and where Stanger takes on her first gay client! (The show’s ratings are fine.)

This recalls other 30 Rock product moments the including disputable non-product-placement for McDonalds — McFlurrygateplacements for the iPhone, and a very canny non-product-placement-product-placement with Verizon. Of course the show has also worked NBC properties like the Today Show.

What makes all this so effective is 30 Rock‘s ironic distance, which masks the obvious selling and, moreover, makes any obvious pitches all in good fun. 30 Rock understands that brands are part of pop culture, so a show about culture-making (TV production) should mine that cave for as much diamond-crap as possible.

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About The Author

Aymar Jean Christian is assistant professor of communication at Northwestern University. He writes about media and society for a number of publications. For more information, click the "About" tab at the top of the page.