Posts Tagged ‘Gossip Girl’


April 28, 2010

Well, well Gossip Girl you are just a feast of product placement and tech surprises! Last season there was the plot line featuring a lame technology for development scam and your blatant subtle placement of Vitamin Waters where ever possible (sometimes even obscuring characters in the shot!). I thought I was done being surprised but in an unlikely alliance I’ve discovered that you’re now pimping Microsoft of all things!

I thought I was seeing things in an episode a while back where Dan needs some polaroid film for some or other contrived reason relating to a party (you can *never* have an episode of Gossip Girl without some kind of party or event, in fact the show seems to be an exercise in concocting events since these seem to be the only places where dramatic things can happen in this story universe). Anyway, good ol’ dad (the obvious pick for a character introducing new tech right) was all like “Don’t worry” tinkered on he keyboard for 2 seconds while this shot flashed:

Hello! That’s Bing! How’d that get there? Is Bing more Upper East Side than Google? And literally 2 seconds later Daddy Rufus declares that Polaroid film has been sorted – no scrolling through lists or getting out a credit card, seemingly Bing just makes it happen like that folks! I thought this was of once-off thing, but I should have known better. Gossip Girl must make some kind of contract with companies that stipulates multiple product placements in a season because in another recent episode the made a play for instilling “Bing It!” as a new catchphrase. While other shows, like House, have accepted “Google It” as a well-established term, last night I was amused to hear Eleanor Waldorf barking at the help to “Bing It!” when looking for a wedding venue (a quickie wedding being this week’s contrived party). Now I am kind of wondering – the only characters to pimp Bing so far have been parents. So will we be seeing the “youngsters” surreptitiously picking up the Bing torch, or are the stealth marketers aiming to pitch it at an older market here? Mmm, perhaps the narrator could pick up the phrasing: You know you Bing me. XOXO.

Gossip Girl taps ICD4D

June 4, 2009

Gossip Girl is a total guilty pleasure of mine. Initially intrigued by its being set in two posh, private Manhattan schools, I knew after watching the pilot that this would be my mindless TV joy. But recently I was unable to suspend my disbelief when GG’s world of shiny things attempted to fuse with ITC4D. Preppy cad Gabriel and his faux socialite sidekick Poppy (a name that’s even more fun in Afrikaans, doll) have been running all over New York pitching a business idea so obviously profitable that they have heaps of rich folks falling over themselves to invest after only vague elevator pitches at swanky cocktail parties. Problem is it’s all a con and they plan to skip town with the money. But that’s besides the point – what is their super convincing idea? Its very vaguely described as “backing a company that wants to provide wireless access to the developing world”. The really fun this about this idea is that the investors don’t seem to be in it for the warm charitable glow, but because it is set to triple their money “by the end of summer”. As fang-toothed Gabrielle tells a googly-eyed Serena van der Woodsen this startling prediction at a party, she responds with the following blithely unaware gem:

yes that's chuck in the background looking rightfully suspicious

"Come on, without you how else will all those African teenagers send in posts to Gossip Girl?"

Yes because that’s what African teenagers really want Serena – to gossip about whose shack has the shiniest tin roof. Later, as Gabriel schmoozes with more potential investors, he explains:

"The governments, the ISP's and the big companies need to use these satellites. We can be the only game in town" and implies that the free wireless is a happy consequence of the big business "Doing well by doing good"

"The governments, the ISP's and the big companies need to use these satellites. We can be the only game in town"

Satellites? I am so intrigued but, oh no! Before he can explain more about those pesky techno details, he puts on the money squeeze:

“There’s a ticking clock, some of the major Internet corporations are looking to do a similar thing. If we act now we block them completely and we make at least triple on our investment”

Are you convinced? Lily Bass was:

"You can tell your backers I'm in!"

"You can tell your backers I'm in!"

After 5 seconds of thought? Perhaps that last husband of Lily’s should have thought twice about leaving his Trump-esque fortune and company in this lady’s hands when he croaked.

In the next episode this delicious con continues with Poppy stepping up during a swish lunch with Georgina at the Russian Tea Room spinning more wireless yarn while drinking martinis and eating caviar:

business lunch

business lunch

G: Who knew you could bring wireless to third world countries? What a great job!

P: Yeah it’s really more of a passion that a job. I mean it gives so much to the children.

G: Of course! I mean they can look at faraway places and read Bible stories. Oh! They can download Kirk Cameron movies!

Ah, it’s all about the children, Kirk Cameron movies for development, yay! Having been recently immersed in ICT4D during my internship at the Technology for Emerging Markets Group and attending ICTD 2009, this was a total laugh. The idea that wireless internet for people who probably don’t even have computers could be a free side effect of a profitable business in Africa where governments needed some other awesome ass satellites. That browsing the internet to look at faraway places and Bible stories would be its main mode of improvement for poverty stricken children. The preposterous idea that people would have the speeds needed to download whole movies (using which computers and what storage if I may ask).

But I am too harsh, truly I expect GG writers to be experts in Manhattan and debutant balls, not technologists so all is forgiven. (Though I do wish they hadn’t rushed it in the end, I would have liked to see the take down of Gabriel and Poppy rather than have it tacked onto the final episode as a btw)