Media Watch host Paul Bary has slammed Neighbours for a cringeworthy integration with Ancestry.com in a recent episode of the Australian drama.
The episode, titled Ramsay St for sale, saw Dr.Karl and Susan discuss Karl’s newly found curiosity regarding the origin of his family, which leads to Susan suggesting he use Anscestry.com to find answers.
Karl comes to the revelation that using Ancestory.com is "all-too easy", as he gives viewers a step-by-step guide to using the site.
If the product placement embedded within the conversational exchange between Karl and Susan wasn’t already too awkward to handle, the episode was promptly reinforced with an Ancestry ad played immediately following the broadcast.
"This sort of integrated advertising – with characters engaging with brands – is becoming increasingly blatant in the ancient soap which now washes out on Channel Eleven," host Paul Barry said.
Barry labelled Ancestry's marketing tactics as "aggressive", citing a partnership with SBS program Who Do You Think You Are?, as well as a landmark deal with Channel Eleven's Neighbours that sees Ancestry plugged as part of the storyline in multiple scenes.
Neighbours producer Fremantle Media defended the integration, saying Ancestry was a "perfect fit" for the story.
“Brand integration is only considered for Neighbours when there is an organic, editorially relevant fit for a brand within a storyline,” says the Fremantle Media spokesperson.
“The creative integrity of the program and the authenticity of the storyline are always our top priority.”
Furstenberg Flats Pink von Kyra Diane This is not the only product placement poorly executed on Neighbours’ recent episodes. Fans and critics alike have noticed Karl searching his family tree on an apple laptop and Toady’s fondness of his Google-home device, which also gets incorporated into the plot.
The advertisement follows a series of criticised product placements within televised integrated advertising, including the Ford ad embedded within an episode of Netflix drama Designated Survivor and the infamous Lindt bath on The Bachelor.
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