We've seen it in movies and on television. Jack Bauer drives a Ford SUV. Simon Cowell drinks Coca-Cola out of a super-sized red cup. And everyone uses Apple computers. (According to brandchannel.com Apple products have appeared in 11 number-1 movies this year.)
I've heard rumors that authors are getting in on the action, but there is little evidence that writers are being paid to promote Prada or Budweiser. Instead, characters just seem to have brand loyalties. (Think James Bond or Carrie Bradshaw.)
I see no issue with paid product placement in novels and would like to volunteer my books to the manufacturers of the world. I do have my standards and will only use products I love (or my characters need).
And until these marketers coming knocking, here's a list of products I'd gladly plug.
Secret Clinical Strength Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant - Great stuff. My heroine will apply this deodorant before going into a fist fight to save her daughter. Even in a tank top, she won't stink when she lifts her arms to throw a punch.
Dark Chocolate M&M's - I've mentioned them before in previous blogs. They are my favorite candy and I'm willing to have my protagonist addicted to them as well. Maybe she'll eat them for breakfast with her coffee because she's recently given up adding artificial sweeteners to her beverages.
Facebook - There's an obvious problem with using technology in novels. Thrown (my in-progress novel) will not likely be available until 2011. (This is me being optimistic.) By then, Facebook may be out, Twitter may be out, and something completely new will be capturing Ashton Kutcher's attention. Still...today...my teenage characters will be avid Facebook-ers.
Entertainment Weekly - The hilarious best-friend/sidekick character will have a subscription. She'll read the recommended books (even if the magazine seems to only like memoirs). She'll schedule her TV viewing using the "What to Watch" section. And she'll collect the covers featuring anyone from Twilight.
And, of course, all of my characters will have iPods, iPhones, and use Macs. If Apple is good enough for ...
Hannah Montana The Movie
He's Just Not That into You
Madea Goes to Jail
Marley & Me
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Race to Witch Mountain
...it's good enough for me.