Tenth episode of Homeland’s third season brought an interesting product placement: it involved chewing gum. At first I thought I’ll do a blog post on Cisco’s landline phone, but there was another placement that was quite unexpected. I’ll try to review it without spoilers.
During one very important CIA operation, its director Saul Berenson became quite nervous and started searching for something in his drawer. He then asked his secretary:
Saul: “I’m out of Black Jack. Any more out there?”
Secretary: “Everything okay, sir?”
Saul: “This the last pack?”
Secretary: “I got you plenty more. Don’t worry.”
Soon after that scene Saul came to the command room where he met Carrie. She asked him how is he. Saul responded: “Feel like I’m in Vegas betting the mortgage.”
My initial feeling was: that was a smart extension of the Black Jack placement – connecting Black Jack with gambling in Vegas.
After a few minutes the conversation continued and Saul offered Carrie a stick:
Carrie: “Back to chewing your lucky gum again?”
Saul: “Yeah. You want a stick?”
Black Jack is a brand of American chewing gum with a rich history. It’s an aniseed-flavored chewing gum made by Cadbury Adams.
Black Jack was made by Thomas Adams back in 19th century when Adams experimented with rubber and created chewing gum. In 1884 he began adding licorice flavoring and called his invention Adams’ Black Jack, the first flavored gum in the U.S. According to Wikipedia it was also the first gum to be offered in sticks.
Black Jack gum was sold well into the 1970s, when production came to an end due to slow sales. In 2002, Adams was purchased by the Cadbury Company and today Cadbury Adams continues to manufacture Black Jack.
Product placement in Homeland was spoken and the lead character also used the brand. However we haven’t seen Black Jack’s logo or a close-up of the package – in my opinion that would be over the top. Homeland is a TV series that is not known for having product placement and even if Black Jack’s placement was done nicely, an in-your-face exposure might bother some viewers.
I wasn’t aware of Black Jack chewing gum prior to this episode of Homeland and after reading that it’s actually a really old brand, I thought: an old school CIA operative that became director (Saul) is a fan of an old school chewing gum (Black Jack). It seems natural, don’t you think?