Promotional products are everywhere. Since joining the InkHead team a few short weeks ago, I have started noticing them all over the place: restaurants, football games, parks—even on some of my favorite television shows, such as Showtime’s Dexter and the Office on NBC.
For the uninitiated, Dexter is an American television drama series that centers on Dexter Morgan (played by Michael C. Hall), a bloodstain pattern analyst (a strain of forensic science) for the Miami Metro Police Department, who contends with what he calls his “dark passenger.” As a result of Dexter’s line of work and his after-hours “hobby,” the show has its share of gruesome images, so if thinking about tuning in to Dexter, remember that the show is intended for mature audiences only.
That said, the current season of the show features a character named Jordan Chase, a motivational speaker in whom Dexter finds a kindred spirit of sorts. In last week’s episode, Dexter attends one of Mr. Chase’s self-help conferences and receives a bag full of giveaway items from Jordan himself, including a Custom Promotional Onesie for his infant son Harrison.
CBS Corporation, looking to capitalize on the show’s popularity, has added the shirts to the Showtime store, so die-hard Dex-Heads (as I am officially dubbing fans of the show ardent enough to purchase the shirt) can “TAKE IT NOW” and buy their very own Jordan Chase promotional t-shirt.
I’d say almost all of us have seen or at least heard about the American version of the Office, starring Steve Carrell and a hilarious ensemble cast. After all, the show is in its seventh season and heavily syndicated on several networks. As the show has matured, what were formerly minor characters have been explored and fleshed out into personalities as robust and idiosyncratic as the show’s principal characters. One character whose prominence on the show has ebbed and flowed with his personal success is that of the longtime temp employee, Ryan “The Fire Guy” Howard.
Most recently, Ryan has been busy in several episodes on a project he calls WUPHF.com, what he describes on the website as a “crazy revolutionary program that ties all your communication portals together…link[ing] up your emails, faxes, text messages, voicemails, tweets, chat programs, and pages with a single ‘WUPHF!'” Sounds a bit like the new Facebook messaging system, if you ask me.
Ryan’s latest brainchild came into full focus on this past week’s episode when it was revealed that despite heavy investment from several of his coworkers at Sabre/Dunder-Mifflin, Ryan only has 9 days’ worth of cash left before he will have to file for bankruptcy—unless he sells the company to the Washington University Public Health Fund, who have demonstrated an interest in the company for its domain name. In a last-ditch effort to convince his incredulous board of investors, Ryan presents them with Company Logo T-Shirts. The board, understandably concerned about their investments, rejects the shirts and instead insist on their money back.
Following the episode, NBC-Universal is now offering WUPHF.com t-shirts in their online store, so you can help spread the word about WUPHF!
Believe it or not, promotional products are even used to increase brand awareness for fictional companies and personalities, such as WUPHF.com from the Office and motivational speaker/psychopath Jordan Chase on Showtime’s Dexter. Not only do these promotional products increase awareness of the fictional brand, but they also advocate the parent television show, as well as make the wearer feel like someone “in-the-know” about one of his or her favorite television programs.