Have you watched the first episode of The Big Bang Theory’s sixth season? Have you seen headphones on the International Space Station?

Howard, one of the main characters, has been a part of a space mission. While he chatted with his wife Bernadette, we clearly saw headphones on his laptop. They looked like Bose A20 aviation headphones.

Let’s check it out:

Bose headphones in The Big Bang Theory S06E01 (2012, CBS, screen capture)

Headphones look weird. Do you see a black square that covers the place where the letter E should be visible? Obviously someone put a piece of black tape on headphones :)

Bose headphones in The Big Bang Theory S06E01 (2012, CBS, screen capture)

The Big Bang Theory is not known as product-placement-heavy TV show. Basically it’s just the opposite. They rarely show real brands, but rather mention them in a pretty much natural context.

Regular viewers will certainly remember that they saw some generic products, such as water or juices on the table in the cafeteria. That’s called product displacement.

Wikipedia says that product displacement is the removing of trademarked products from visual media in order to avoid the payment of licensing fees (if the trademark owner objects), or if the broadcaster would prefer not to show a product for free, if the owners have not paid for it to be included in a programme.

Product displacement can also refer to brands/companies deliberately modifying their name or logo in an attempt to make people see the logo and realize that the logo/name is not correct. This extra thinking time forces people to register the real brand. This method can be more effective than product placement.

Is it really?

Bose headphones in The Big Bang Theory S06E01 (2012, CBS, screen capture)

Bose A20 aviation headphones

Bose has a distinctive logo, but for some reason the producers chose to alter it. When I watched that episode of The Big Bang Theory I believed I saw Bose headphones and I thought: well, finally there will be more product placement in the show. However, while preparing photos for this blog post, I realized that I was actually wrong.

I haven’t seen the actual logo, but I saw and then remembered the brand, that wasn’t even there. Isn’t that what it counts in the end?


The title of this blog post is heavily influenced by the song Ladies and Gentlemen We’re Floating in Space by Spiritualized, one of my Top Ten songs ever.

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