The Boys' personalized ads joke in season 4 episode 5 was inspired by a real Amazon request, says creator

The Boys season 4 episode 5
(Image credit: Prime Video)

It's been patently clear since The Boys premiered in 2019 that no-one is safe from the hit Prime Video show's ridiculing. Not even the company behind its host streaming platform... 

After season 4's most recent episode, 'Beware the Jabberwork, My Son', aired, creator Eric Kripke took to Twitter to reveal that one of its most meta gags was actually inspired by a real-life request from Amazon. 

In the latest instalment, there's a scene where A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) and The Deep (Chace Crawford) are tasked with attending V52, an event similar to the likes of Comic-Con or Disney's D23 Expo. While the latter is teasing an upcoming project, he explains that every title will have digitally personalized ads. For instance, if a white person is watching a certain show, like The Deep's "three-time MTV Award winner" Rising Tide, they'll see a character holding a bottle of IPA beer, whereas if Black people tune in, they'll see that same character holding a bottle of peach cognac.

"Y'know, custom digital product placement is a real thing, you guys," Kripke wrote on Twitter, alongside a link to an article that explains how networks and advertisers are starting to rollout the method. "Amazon pitched it to us for [The Boys], we said no thanks, but we're definitely making a joke about it in season 4. Then we did."

“Where virtual product placement has a real opportunity is for certain types of brands that don't require hands-on interaction, that don't require verbal mentions, where you can still have [items] prominently placed within the frame or within the screen," Aaron Frank, SVP of marketing, insights, and strategy at BENLabs, told Marketing Brew back in 2023, around about the time Kripke and co would've been writing season 4.

The Boys season 4 is currently streaming on Prime Video, with new episodes dropping every Thursday. For more, check out our latest coverage on the show:

Amy West

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things TV and film across our Total Film and SFX sections. Elsewhere, my words have been published by the likes of Digital Spy, SciFiNow, PinkNews, FANDOM, Radio Times, and Total Film magazine.