Two And A Half Plugs: The Art Of Subtle Tech Branding

What do you do if you're a major celebrity with a bunch of tech endorsement contracts that don't quite line up with the advertising relationships implicit in the hit sitcom you've just signed up for? If you're Ashton Kutcher, you try to subtly plug them anyway. The Washington Post reports that the laptop used by Ashton Kutcher's character on Two And A Half Men was seen sporting a number of interesting logos on the back of it. Nothing terribly wrong with that per se; lots of folks like decorating their laptops after all. Where it gets interesting is when you examine the stickers more closely. Foursquare. Flipboard. Hipmunk. GroupMe. Chegg. What do all these companies have in common?

They're all companies in which Kutcher is said to have investments or financial relationships. Again, this kind of product placement might pass without notice, except that Kutcher allegedly affixed the stickers to the laptop (or, more likely, had one of his PAs do it) without approval from CBS. CBS did not approve of Kutcher giving out what amounts to free advertising; only the Foursquare endorsement was noted in the show's credits. It was initially suspected that any future airings would see the decals subtly blurred out, but it now seems like that won't be the case.

Or in other words, Ashton Kutcher can get away with plugging anything from his overly opulent trailer. I wonder if I should send him a Gizmodo Au sticker? [Washington Post via TV Tonight via PopSugar] Image: TVTonight

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