In one of my recent posts (The Apple genius) I commented on the P.F. Chang’s product placement in the TV series The Big Bang Theory.

For all those readers who are not familiar with series here’s short plot summary: the show is set in Pasadena, California and is about two prodigies in their 20s, one an experimental physicist (Leonard Hofstadter) and the other a theoretical physicist (Sheldon Cooper), who live across the hall from an attractive blonde waitress with show-biz aspirations (Penny). Leonard and Sheldon’s ‘geekiness’ and sheer intellect are contrasted for comic effect with Penny’s social skills and common sense. Two equally geeky friends of theirs, Howard and Rajesh, are also main characters (source: Wikipedia).

I’ve noticed the P.F. Chang’s placement in the 14th episode of the 3rd season, but there has been another one in the 15th episode.

It happened in the caffeteria where 4 friends were discussing plans for Valentine’s day.

Leonard (to Howard): »Hey, what are you and Bernadette doing for your first Valentine’s Day?«

Howard: »Yeah, I am pulling out all the stops. There’s a $39.95 lover’s special at P.F. Chang’s. Egg rolls, dumplings, bottomless wok, and you get your picture taken on the big marble horse out front.«

Howard explaining his Valentine's Day plans in The Big Bang Theory S03E15 (2010, CBS, screen capture)

Here we have another case of »brand dropping«. It has been smoothly integrated in the script and it’s quite believable and unobtrusive. A fellow blogger Leye’s musings commented that P.F. Chang’s product placement in The Big Bang Theory was unpaid. He said that he even asked the manager at the restaurant about the placement. Apparently P.F. Chang’s caters for the Big Bang Theory crew and the crew offered to “name drop” P.F. Chang’s and the specials in the program.

I’ve tried to get a comment on that claim from the PR agency Dig Communications who takes care of P.F. Chang’s public relations, but they’ve declined to comment. Anyway, the P.F. Chang’s product placement was nicely done and I hope that they’ve measured the effects. Nevertheless, more than 16 million viewers watched the 15th episode of The Big Bang Theory that week.