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Pimping the Geisha

You are a studio. We’ll call you Sony Pictures for now. Unlike 20th Century Fox or Warner Bros, you don’t have an American TV network on which to sell your new movie. Pop quiz, hotshot: what do you do? No, you don’t just buy an advert break. You buy a show.

In what seems like the next generation of product placement, Sony’s advertising bods hatched a deal with Universal to insert mentions of Rob Marshall’s upcoming Memoirs Of A Geisha into a broadcast of the Patricia Arquette psychic-drama Medium.

In an episode of the show, Arquette’s character and her husband go to see an advanced screening of the film, with the Geisha title up on the marquee and a convenient couple of friends who have just seen the film and rave about it. And if that wasn’t enough, one of Arquette’s onscreen daughters keeps asking for a definition of geisha. Just in case someone in Whupcreek Nebraska didn’t quite get it.

“We are watching the erosion of commercial watching due to DVRs and TiVos, so we're trying our best to get out there,” Sony President of Worldwide Marketing Geoff Ammer told The Hollywood Reporter. “We don't own a network, so there are promotional ways that we do it.”

Can’t wait for the episode of EastEnders where the characters talk about nothing but Doom. Oh, wait… how will anyone know they’re advertising?