Gallery: Microsoft's shameless TV plug marketing

Microsoft has managed to shamelessly plug some of its products as part of in-programme television broadcasts. Oh, and Jack Bauer uses an iMac. Screenshot gallery
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Over the last week, through my usual television programme viewing, I have noticed two episodes from two television series' which include subtle advertisements for Windows 7, Internet Explorer 8 and Bing as a part of the storyline.

What interested me was the shift from ordinary scheduled commercials to in-programme plugs - shameless plugs, that is - because Microsoft has now hit two of my favourite television series' in the same week. Frankly, I quite like watching these shows as pure, proper, non-academic downtime but the illusion is just shattered now. Shattered.

GalleryTo see a full set of screenshots from "Bones" and "Damages" with these shameless, gratuitous plugs of Microsoft software and services, head over to the naming and shaming gallery.

Personally I quite like the lack of "real world" marketing in fictional television shows. While there are two perspectives to take - that real world marketing makes the fictional world more, well, real, but also that nowadays viewers are clued up to more obvious subliminal advertising.

This isn't necessarily new, but it does show a shift in traditional advertising techniques. Instead of waiting for a commercial break in programming, TV producers are accepting in-show marketing through introducing branding as part of dialogue or the drama. The series producers of hit action thriller "24" used in 2006 the then-popular iMac as part of a scene where Jack Bauer searches through President Palmer's memoirs after his assassination.

Though no specific connection can be sought between the series producers and Apple, granted it is more subtle than Microsoft's attempts in recent times. Still at least on the bright side, in the Mac vs. PC ongoing argument, it must be a blow to PC users that Jack Bauer - the only man on the planet who could survive a beating from Chuck Norris - uses a Mac.

What do you think of Microsoft's shameless plugging? Is this a trend likely to increase, or will commercial breaks still rule the television advertising industry? Or, if you fancy just having a rant of your own, feel free. The comment monster wants feeding.

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