Did Heroes Go Too Far?

How do you know if a product placement is successful? Well, we leave that to your own internal metrics, goals and analysis. Sorry, there are no simple answers, but of course, feel free to peruse the Magnetic Alliance blog for the best and worst of product placement and promotions.

Today, we turn our attention to a funny and interesting legal story developing on NBC's surpise hit, "Heroes".

NBC has been sued by a garbage disposal maker that claims the network’s new hit show, “Heroes,” casts its product in a negative light.

The first episode of “Heroes” shows one of the characters, a cheerleader who has the power of indestructibility, sticking her hand into a garbage disposal, getting it mangled. A few seconds later her hand heals. The brand name of the machine, InSinkErator, is visible in the scene.

Emerson Electric was not happy with the inadvertent product placement, and sued NBC Universal in federal court in St. Louis on October 2, 2006.

Emerson claims that NBC used Emerson’s trademark without the company’s consent and that the show “implies an incorrect and dangerous design for a food waste disposer.” The company added in its complaint that NBC’s depiction of the InSinkErator “casts the disposer in an unsavory light, irreparably tarnishing the product.” It is asking the court to order NBC to remove Emerson trademarks from future broadcasts of the show and also reward Emerson damages as a result of NBC’s acts of “unfair competition, trademark infringement, and trademark dilution.”

NBC says it will edit the episode. “While we do not believe there is any legal issue with the episode as originally broadcast, we nonetheless have decided to edit the episode for future uses,” said an NBC spokesperson in a statement. Presumably, that means rebroadcasts on NBC’s sister cable networks like USA and Sci Fi, broadband viewings (the show is available on iTunes), and any DVD release of the first season and possible syndication.

The story and information is compliments of Manatt


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