GM, a major advertiser in the past 12 seasons of Survivor, announced it won't be advertising in the upcoming 13th season of the show. The CBS reality contest returns to TV September 14.
A GM spokeswoman said the carmaker's decision had nothing to do with the fact that Survivor is under fire for a plan to separate ethnicities into teams this season. Instead, it is because the show offers little opportunity for product placement.
"Our goal now is to have our products be part of TV programs or films that enable us to fully integrate the product into the storyline, so they almost become a character in the property," GM told Reuters. "It's difficult to do that with Survivor, given the format of that is a group of people who spend their whole time on an island."
The move underscores how DVR usage has affected the way advertisers want to spend their money. Users of TiVo and other DVRs routinely fast forward through ads, and now advertisers are increasingly attempting to work their products into the storylines of shows.
In NBC's Las Vegas, the fictional Montecito casino set features a mall with stores from Aston Martin--a Ford Motors company--and other companies. Reality show The Apprentice often involves creating marketing campaigns for major companies like Pepsi or Sony. Fox's American Idol includes vignettes wherein contestants drink Coke and drive Ford cars, and 24's Jack Bauer combats terrorists with the aid of Dell computers and Nokia cell phones.
Last week, Survivor creators announced they would separate teams based on ethnicity in the upcoming Survivor: Cook Islands. The decision has been roundly panned by politicians and social activists.