CBS pushes product placement envelope with "Hawaii Five-0"


A product placement in the 1/16 episode (“Pu’olo”) of “Hawaii Five-0” has attracted comments on blogs and Twitter, calling the action “jarring and insulting.” For some :50 seconds, the actors stepped completely out of the story to plug Subway sandwiches.

For nearly a minute, actors (Alex O’Loughlin, Grace Park and the former sumo wrestler Taylor Wily) stepped completely out of the story in order to plug Subway sandwiches, as the food-truck vendor Kamekona (Mr. Wily) is found eating five subs as part of his new diet.

“Trying to eat smarter, brother,” he says. “These Subways sandwiches? So ono” (Hawaiian slang for “delicious,” though it’s also the name of a fish popular in island restaurants and presumably more healthy than a Subway sandwich). The spot— also works in references to the Subway pitchman Jared and several specific menu items.

The spot drew more notice than usual on blogs and Twitter, noted a NY Times story. Several blogs posed the question of whether this is the worst product placement so far.

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s kind of hard to say whether this was its own spot or product placement—as it appears to be not related to the story line and was part of a commercial pod. You have to give the show and Subway credit though—pushing the envelope a bit is the only way marketers will know if a new creative idea or placement will work or not. Bottom line—it may have driven sales for the chain, and that is the goal, isn’t it?