Product Placement in Novels

It doesn’t happen much in the novels I read but I notice it and wonder when I run across it. Right now I’m reading Patricia Cornwell’s Port Mortuary. The story has drawn me in but I don’t remember the regular cast of characters as it’s been quite awhile since I’ve read her. Her earlier books were enjoyable and then some later books, not so much. This one has a lot of description about helicopters, military and government agencies, technology and mechanical things that I skim over. Anyway, she mentions fragrant Neutrogena oil, which the main character uses after a shower after doing an autopsy on a charred corpse.

The other book I’ve recently read is Robert B. Parker’s Split Image. His books are enjoyable when I have information overload and they are so spare and to the point that they’re refreshing. This is a Jesse Stone novel–my favorites are the Spenser ones. In addition to the detective part, I like the relationship Spenser has with his shrink girlfriend and the descriptions of the meals and sandwiches he fixes. In one book, I recall that P. F Chang’s was mentioned as a place they like to dine.

Earlier books Parker has written introduced me to my favorite beer, Rolling Rock. No one I knew drank it and I would have never tried it except for the way it was written about in the novels. It’s a pale ale and I like it better than the Miller Lite I used to go for. They serve it in some of the places around here but it’s more difficult to find in bottles in the more casual places.

This year I’ve given up dining out and also drinking alcohol. But not for life, I’m sure. There is a gluten free beer called Redbridge that I’ve tried but it’s a lager and has a stronger taste that I don’t care for. It also has yeast and other stuff that I need to avoid, so when I do choose a beer again, I’ll just go for the Rolling Rock. One will do it for me.

We like to think we’re too sophisticated to be influenced by product placement, I guess. But I’m thankful I didn’t miss out on Rolling Rock in this life. I used to squeeze a little lime in it.