At the end of July Amazon announced their new e-reader – Kindle 3 and expectedly generated quite a buzz. The release of the highly anticipated gadget is scheduled for the end of August. A few months ago Apple created the similar buzz with the release of iPad. On March 31, just three days before the stores sterted selling the highly anticipated product, iPad was a star of the 19th episode of the ABC’s TV show Modern Family.

I wrote about that episode in blog posts Will iPad’s product placement go into marketing handbooks? and iPad’s product placement – a conspiracy? Product placement in that episode was spectacular. Not only they‘ve shown the product, they talked about it, Phil craved for it and when he got it, he used it and even caressed it. That example was more than by-the-book execution; it was on the edge of good/bad taste.

So, could Amazon follow the example and create the similar case for Kindle. Personally I don’t think so, but we could check previous examples of promoting Kindle in movies and TV shows.

Kindle has been included in all typical types/uses of product placement:

  • visual
  • spoken
  • usage.

Kindle’s visual product placement can be seen in the several episodes of The Big Bang Theory as Kindle got its place on the cabinet in Sheldon’s and Leonard’s kitchen.

Amazon's Kindle in The Big Bang Theory S03E18 (2010, CBS, screen capture)

Kindle’s spoken product placement had also occurred in The Big Bang Theory – in the opening episode of the third season. Sheldon was acting like a dictator during their Arctic expedition and his friends discussed different ways of killing him. They mentioned that one possibility was to throw his Kindle out of the door – when Sheldon would went out to get it, the others would lock the doors and let him freeze to death. More about Kindle in The Big Bang Theory in the blog post As seen on Evil Wil Wheaton.

Recently there were also two examples of Kindle’s usage. They occurred in the TV show Chuck and in the movie Date Night.

In the sixteenth episode of the third season Chuck’s brother in law Devon was using Kindle while lying on a sofa (and recovering from malaria).

Devon using Kindle in Chuck S03E16 (2010, NBC, screen capture)

The most bizarre product placement in recent months happened in the movie Date Night. While running from the cops Steve Carell tried to check the content of an USB drive (called ‘computer stickie thing’ by Tina Fey). He managed to do it with a Kindle!? Where’s the weird part? Kindle only has a micro USB port and it’s slightly complicated to insert an USB drive into it.

Steve Carell using Kindle in Date Night (2010, 20th Century Fox, screen capture)

Here are some interesting facts:

  • The movie has hit the cinemaplexes in April and since grossed more than 150 million USD.
  • Amazon recently announced that they’re selling more Kindle titles than hardcover books.

However, the Date Night’s product placement has left me with a bitter taste and I feel that it was a missed opportunity. I’m not saying that all placements should be like the iPad’s from Modern Family, but capabilities of the device should not be expanded for the purpose of the movie. Remember, there’s only one man with the license for that … Bond. James Bond.