Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: product placement

Etienne Borgers (
Tue, 5 Jan 1999 21:18:51 -0800 (PST) I personally think that referring tot brands for
objects in a HB novel is not something abnormal,
especially if some relevant facts about them are
helping the plot. For most of the cases lack of
specificity could even be suspect, and create doubts
about the research made by the writer.
A Colt .45 pistol is surely more lethal than a .22
short of any make fired at 5 meters (15 feet). A
Porsche has probably a better chance to catch a
Beetle than the reverse... etc [to give some very
obvious examples]
Problem with this is the quick aging of the
reference, in most of the cases.

On the other hand, from the back of my memory I
remember that (during the seventies?)in Continental
Europe some *publishers* were adding "commercials" on
demand (paid by the advertisers) into the texts of
popular mystery novels. This was happening with, and
sometimes without, the consent of the writer. Mainly
for cigarettes, liquors and... cars!
I remember clearly some writers protesting openly
against this practice, claiming that some publishing
houses did not even let the choice to the writer.
Excuse given by the publisher: to cut some of the
book production costs... and this, following some
American examples.
Some very successful commercial writers were even
asking for a part of the benefits given by this
hidden publicity.
Maybe some of you remember this as well?

Hard-Boiled Mysteries wrote:
> Re Bill's question below:
> "I recall reading a review that pointed to Ian
Fleming as one of the first,
> if not the first, to consistently use product
names, where a typical
> realist might use generic nouns. Anyone locate
this practice before
> Fleming?"
> Hammett and others would specifically mention
cigarettes or tobaccos, ammo
> and weapon brands, specific types of cars,
occasionally beers. - Jim
> Doherty

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