Leave it to Hollywood’s pre-eminent aging action hero to bring Madison Avenue to the statehouse in new and exciting ways.
After taking over $279,000.00 in campaign contributions from consumer grocery giants Pepsi and Nestle, their products have started to pop up in his television advertising.
“The TV ad, released in May, features Schwarzenegger talking to people in a lunchroom, and places Pepsi and Arrowhead Water in prominent spots next to the governor for 1/3 of the ad…The practice, known as “product placement,” is unheard of in political advertising. In fact, political ads typically avoid using logos because companies may not want to be associated with a particular candidate or issue. However, studios receive significant payments for featuring a product in a film or television show.”
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) called on Schwarzenegger to return the quarter-million dollars he received from the companies, and for them to pay the market value of the advertising to the state because it is improper for the governor to use public office to sell corporate products. I’m holding my breath.
Ad agencies, however, must be hyperventilating at the thought of this new marketing opportunity. Campaign contributions used to to be considered just a way to buy favorable legislative and regulatory treatment. Now, it can actually promote their products, pay for their candidate’s media presence, and still retain all the benefits of a traditional bribe.