By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
GE Consumer & Industrial's Profile ovens with Trivection technology made it to the small screen recently in the pilot episode of 30 Rock, one of several new shows-about-a-show airing on NBC (a subsidiary of General Electric) this season.
The oven served as an entry point for Alec Baldwin's character, Jack Donaghy, a fictional TV network executive (VP of East Coast television and microwave-oven programming, to be exact) who has recently moved over from the appliance division of the parent company (a fictionalized conglomerate, NBC/GE/Universal/Kmart) where he successfully developed marketing for the Trivection oven. Baldwin's character's comic description of Trivection technology may have led some viewers to think it was a comedy writer's invention, as opposed to the real world innovation it is.
It turns out that the Trivection's cameo on 30 Rock was not a product placement effort on the part of GE. "We at GE Consumer & Industrial had nothing to do with the inclusion of the product on the show," said Allison Eckelkamp, a spokesperson for the division. "We did however choose to run Trivection ads during the show to let viewers know the product is, in fact, real."
As for how the oven ended up in the show: Tina Fey, the show's creator and star, said in an interview with MSNBC.com that she simply found the oven on the GE Web site, liked it, and decided to work it into her script.
Eckelkamp reports that "the response has been tremendous in terms of consumer recall" since the oven was mentioned on the show, pointing out that the Trivection was named one of the most memorable product placements of the week in the Nov. 1 issue of The Wall Street Journal.
However, "In terms of sales, mentions like this don't typically drive people to go out and buy a durable product with a long purchase cycle like an oven," Eckelkamp said. "In fact, it can take as much as six months from the time a person is introduced to a product like an oven to the time the person may decide to purchase one. Therefore, it's too early to tell whether this had any impact on sales.
"That said, we have seen steady growth in Trivection year-over-year, and we expect the buzz from 30 Rock will help drive continued growth."
Despite buzz expectations, Eckelkamp said that while GE actively places products in many shows both on NBC and off, there are no plans for additional product placements on 30 Rock at this time.
GE Profile Ovens with Trivection technology use three types of heat (thermal, convection and microwave) to speed-cook food up to five times faster than a traditional oven, according to the company. They are available now in a variety of sizes and formats for suggested retail prices ranging from $2,449 to $4,299.
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