Snap, Crackle, and Popular Taste by Jeffrey Schrank

An excerpt from the book Snap, Crackle, and Popular Taste by Jeffrey Schrank a look at brands and companies such as automakers.

SNAP, CRACKLE, AND POPULAR TASTE by Jeffrey Schrank. New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1977.

About the Book: Have you ever stood in front of the shelves of coffee in a supermarket and found it mind-boggling to select a brand? Well, according to Jeffrey Schrank, you don't really have a choice at all, but only a "pseudo-choice." All those brands of coffee are probably made by just three or four companies. Furthermore, your decision has already been shaped by a barrage of advertisements, some of which you may not even realize are plugging a product. Snap, Crackle, and Popular Taste takes a look at many different aspects of American life, from the food we eat to the cars we drive and the television programs we watch. The book is wittily written and very convincing. After reading it, you may wonder if the modern way is, indeed, the better way.

From the Book:

Automakers provide free cars to TV (and movie) series in return for favorable exposure. If possible, the "bad guys" will be cast in a car of a competing brand rather than the one driven by the good guys. Auto dealers provide free cars so that a particular series will use only one make of car. Mannix used to drive a Chevrolet Camaro while the Mod Squad drove Chryslers. Watch action program credits and car chases to determine if the program has a contract with an auto manufacturer. Attractive shots of a particular make of car driven by the hero are a giveaway, especially if the bad guys giving chase drive a nondescript clunker. Watch for shots not needed in the plot development (the hero pulling up in front of a motel) that give the auto "good identification of the product," as a Chrysler public relations official explains. He goes on to note that "Door handles and windshields don't mean anything. We want exposure that's meaningful, such as the side or the entire car, or the car driving into the camera with the nameplate on the screen." Auto executives monitor early screening of the shows to which they have "donated" cars to make sure the exposure is right. As the same Chrysler executive points out, "If it isn't right, they'll point it out to the director or producer. At the next screening, if it isn't better, you may have to reduce the number of vehicles they have."

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