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Product Placement That Stands Out: Travelocity's Absurd Stunt on 'Amazing Race'

Chocolate Travelocity Mascot Makes More of an Impression Than Autos, Coca-Cola

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If you want to outshine product-placement mainstays like the automakers and Coca-Cola, it might help to go a little overboard in the execution. How else are we to interpret the success achieved by Travelocity last month with its fairly ridiculous and overt integration into "The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business"?

The May 1 episode of "Amazing Race" on CBS required contestants to make a Travelocity Gnome out of chocolate. It became the most-recalled brand integration in unscripted network prime-time last month, according to Nielsen, followed by Rolex, Timi & Leslie, and only then by the more usual coterie of carmarkers, Coke and Subway.

Nielsen Top Ten Most-Recalled In-Program Placements: Realities
May 1 - 31, 2011
Nielsen logo
Brand In-Program Placement Description Program Airing Info Recall Index
1 Travelocity Phil Keoghan says contestants must make a gnome out of chocolate. The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business (CBS, May 1) 164
2 Sprint Ashley opens a box during "Tree Mail" and finds a phone with videos on it. Survivor: Redemption Island (CBS, May 4) 148
3 Ford Sponsor of the segment in which contestants return to their high schools. American Idol (FOX, May 25) 146
4 Coca-Cola Cups are seen on judges' table throughout episode. American Idol (FOX, May 5) 145
5 Ford Sponsor of the Music Video segment. American Idol (FOX, May 19) 143
6 Microsoft Live Messenger -- Contestants communicate with their families. American Idol (FOX, May 12) 137
7 Travelocity Contestants win trips for finishing in first place. The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business (CBS, May 8) 136
8 Coca-Cola Company logo appears on the set monitors while Ryan Seacrest interviews contestants. American Idol (FOX, May 4) 135
9 Ford Sponsor of the VIP trip contest to the set of the Music Video. American Idol (FOX, May 5) 132
10 7 Up Contestants design cans and ad campaigns as a competition. The Celebrity Apprentice (NBC, May 15) 130

Nielsen Top Ten Most-Recalled In-Program Placements: Dramas/Sitcoms
May 1 - 31, 2011
Nielsen logo
Brand In-Program Placement Description Program Airing Info Recall Index
1 I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Spray -- Sue hands Will butter product and tells him to use it in his hair. Glee (FOX, May 10) 188
2 Rolex Bernadette gives Wolowitz a watch as a gift while in bed. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, May 19) 182
3 Timi & Leslie Mackenzie -- Mia and Casey want a special stroller but it is too expensive. Better With You (ABC, May 4) 178
4 Chevrolet Vehicles appear throughout the episode, including when Steve drives up to a school. Hawaii Five-0 (CBS, May 9) 175
5 Cadillac Two SUVs exit the Governor's building before Steve breaks in. Hawaii Five-0 (CBS, May 16) 170
6 Mercedes-Benz The mercenaries get out of a truck and approach Hartley's mother's house. Chuck (NBC, May 2) 168
7 Subway Laurie and Travis eat outside a restaurant and talk. Cougar Town (ABC, May 25) 166
8 Toyota Big Mike, Lester, and Jeff are driving to Reno, NV. Chuck (NBC, May 2) 160
9 People Frankie sits down on the couch to read a stack of magazines. The Middle (ABC, May 4) 155
10 Hawaiian Airlines Rachel waits for Danny at the airport by an airline's podium. Hawaii Five-0 (CBS, May 16) 150

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