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Caroline Purtell

It’s not unusual to see a few brand names pop up in the middle of a TV show or movie—ET eating Reese’s Pieces, a Delorian in “Back to the Future,” Junior Mints on “Seinfeld.” Now, instead of occasional guest appearances, products are taking starring roles in TV shows that are being scripted around them.

It’s a growing trend in the product placement industry—something Andrew Chismar knows a lot about. A 1996 graduate with a B.A. in advertising, Chismar is a television producer with experience in producing shows that focus on advertising products.

“It’s up to people like me to visualize how these products could intermingle with each other on TV,” Chismar says. “Even though we do have products on our show, we try our best to tell a themed story.”

For example, he created a back-to-school show that included education software, Internet sites and athletic companies. He brought aboard more than 20 companies for product placement for that one episode, such as Wrangler, Swatch, Georgia Pacific and Loews Theatres.

(Article updated October 2013)

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