Adages: Product placement as high art; or is it unsafe at any speed?

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Mighty auteur Quentin Tarantino is stooping to product placement. In his latest flick, Kill Bill, there are plugs for Apple Cigarettes, Tenku Beer, Go Juice and Air-O, a brand that is so cool and underground nobody seems to know what it is.

Now, before that old scold Ralph Nader and his self-appointed watchdog pound, Commercial Alert, sic their lawyers on Quentin, they should know this: these brands are figments of the director's imagination. In other words, they are tongue-in-cheek products making light of our consumerist preoccupations.

Quentin's creative subtleties may be lost on the heavies at Commercial Alert, who are trying to bully, through lawsuits, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission into making rules requiring the disclosure of product placements. Obviously, Nader and his cronies want to protect unsuspecting, dimwitted viewers who may be forced into guzzling a Coke, for example, after seeing a can of the carbonated sugar-water brand in an episode of "Friends." Although at the moment Commercial Alert is targeting programming on television, they may go after movies too.

"Wait and see," warned Commercial Alert's Gary Ruskin. "We don't talk about what we do before we do it."

Adages pointed out that he was applying a double standard, in essence, by demanding that networks talk about what they do before they do it-giving viewers an advance warning before a brand appears in a show.

Mr. Ruskin claims he has the moral high ground. "We do politics," he said, "and they do something trivial called advertising."

If Quentin were to make a film about Mr. Ruskin, or his partner, Mr. Nader, it would have to be called Kill Joy.

You read it here first: Ted Turner rocks harder than Led Zeppelin

"Ted Turner is the most rock `n' roll guy I know," said Bono. "He has thrown more TVs out the window than Led Zeppelin." The U2 bandleader uttered this colorful remark last week at an awards event in Manhattan thrown by the Business Council for the United Nations to honor Henry McKinnell, chairman-CEO of Pfizer, and Dr. Alex Godwin Coutinho, executive director the AIDS Support Organization, for their contributions in fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan presided. Tom Freston, chairman-CEO of MTV Networks, introduced and praised Bono. "You don't see Keith Richards doing much for charity," said Tom. And Ted was at the head table. At Adages' table: Nick Graham, creator of Joe Boxer underwear (his calling card reads: "the Lord of Balls."); Stephen Colvin, president, Dennis Publishing; Robin Kent, CEO of Universal McCann, and his wife Rache; Richard Lefkowitz, managing partner, Cossette Post Communications; Melissa Pordy, independent media consultant; Andrea Sande, one of David Letterman's "Tonight Show" girls; and Justin Smith, general manager of The Week.

Paulie Walnuts was a no-show but CNBC draws a crowd to Jersey

Adages was invited to the opening of CNBC's new studio and offices in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and wanted to know if Donny Deutsch, the flashy man about Madison Ave. would attend. After all, he will co-host CNBC's "Kudlow & Cramer" and "Squawk Box" and is shooting a pilot for his own CNBC program. Vonda LaPage, Deutsch's publicist, said, "Oh no, I don't think Donny will be going out there." The tone of her voice implied that Jersey just wasn't the kind of place a happening guy like Donny would go after hours. If CNBC was opening a new studio in TriBeCa, then certainly, he would be there.

It turned out, of course, that Donny did show. And so did a host of big time happening players such as Tina Brown; Jim Cramer; Gordon Bethune of Continental Airlines; Thomas Russo, vice chairman of Lehman Brothers; Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy; and some of General Electric & NBC's biggest guns, Jeff Immelt, Jeff Zucker, Keith Turner and Pamela Thomas-Graham. The biggest draw, however was the studio itself, a cavernous, gleaming, locked and loaded media palace, filled with Sony cameras and acres of screens. At the entrance was a sweeping metallic overhang that-after a few glasses of champagne-appeared to mimic Peacock plumage. The facilities telegraphed an obvious message: We are bullish about cable news.

CNBC's new Sylvan Road address is not the Jersey of the Bada Bing and the Satin Doll. Locals call it "trillionaire's row" because of all the blue-chip firms there, including Unilever. And right down the road from CNBC is a Maserati-Ferrari dealership. "Just in case the ad market gets better," quipped an CNBC sales staffer.

Keep sending those fancy invitations to

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