The OC's College Product Placement

On the last episode of "The OC" the main characters were awaiting their acceptance letters from their dream colleges. The episode got us thinking about product placement in the world of higher education.

Higher education typically teaches marketing but doesn’t always practice the best marketing principles. What could be a better platform for marketing your college than a show about “cool and hip” high school students who are about to attend college? The episode even featured a “wear the college sweatshirt you are going to bonfire”. A dream placement that was probably facilitated by the best brand ambassadors a brand could have…Hollywood writers.

Everyone who watches “The OC” knows that Seth Cohen has dedicated his high school years to getting in and attending Brown University. So for the last two years we have followed Seth getting A’s in school, joining clubs to help his application and talking about his Brown dream incessantly. This makes this an incredible placement for Brown, even though Seth doesn’t get in while his girlfriend Summer makes the cut.

Does it matter? We don’t think so. Seth has only improved the “velvet rope” image of the Brown brand to his legion of Penguin shirt wearing, Death Cab listening fans. We will anxiously await to see if Brown experiences an increase in applications from the placement or if fans are ticked off about Seth’s rejection.


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