Why spend the time catching "24", "Ugly Betty", "The Game" or "Top Chef" when you can use your TiVo (Nasdaq:TIVO) or DVR recorder from, let's say, Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) to record the show and catch up on it over the weekend? The convenience for viewers is a business problem for television advertisers. One method growing in popularity is product placement in popular programming. Let's take a look at a few shows and companies exercising their subliminal marketing capabilities.

Short List
According to the Tuned In Journal produced by Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and data from the Nielson Co., following is a sample list of publicly traded companies that engaged in product placement in 2008 and elicited a positive opinion of the brand.

IN PICTURES: How To Make Your First $1 Million

CVS Pharmacy
"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" on ABC is a reality-TV show in which a deserving family is chosen to have its current home demolished and a new home constructed with extra design specifications to make life at home an absolute dream. CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) is contracted to provide supplies and pay bills for the selected families. CVS Caremark is down 31% over the past 12 months ending February 13, but given its low 0.75 price/earnings to growth ratio, its expected three- to five-year earnings potential provides a strong signal for growth. (To learn more about the price/earnings to growth ratio, be sure to read PEG Ratio Nails Down Value Stocks.)

TRESemme by Alberto-Culver
"Project Runway" on Bravo is another reality-TV show in which aspiring fashion designers sew and stitch their way toward becoming crowned the show's new top fashionista. Alberto-Culver's (NYSE:ACV) TRESemme product line supplies prizes to the winners. Alberto-Culver's stock offers a low correlation to a broad market index like the S&P 500 given its low beta of 0.4. Although it is smaller in terms of revenues and market capitalization than other personal care product providers like Avon Products (NYSE:AVP) and Estee Lauder (NYSE:EL), its stock has outperformed both over the past 12 months through February 13.

Whole Foods Market
"Top Chef" is another popular Bravo reality-TV show in which chefs and cooking aficionados compete in a series of challenges and quick fires to become the show's champion. Contestants on multiple occasions are given a set amount of money and 30 minutes to comb through the aisles of Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq:WFMI) for their next culinary creation. Whole Foods stock has fallen 70% over the past 12 months. Although the company has decided not to release comparable same-store sales estimates for fiscal year 2009, citing the rapidly changing economic environment, Whole Foods is hoping the combination of advertising, new store openings at the end of 2008 and a recovery in economic conditions will continue to grow its business.

Final Thoughts
The downturn in the economy in the short term will make it difficult to determine how product-placement ads will translate into stock market performance. As an investor, the takeaway is to notice when the next product or service slides into your favorite show as a sign of advertisers changing with the times in hopes of boosting future revenues.

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    Will J.C. Penney Come Back in 2016? (JCP)

    J.C. Penney is without a doubt turning itself around, but that doesn't guarantee the stock will respond immediately.
  2. Stock Analysis

    Allstate: How Being Boring Earns it Billions (ALL)

    A summary of what Allstate Insurance sells and whom it sells it to including recent mergers and acquisitions that have helped boost its bottom line.
  3. Options & Futures

    Cyclical Versus Non-Cyclical Stocks

    Investing during an economic downturn simply means changing your focus. Discover the benefits of defensive stocks.
  4. Investing Basics

    How to Deduct Your Stock Losses

    Held onto a stock for too long? Selling at a loss is never ideal, but it is possible to minimize the damage. Here's how.
  5. Economics

    Is Wall Street Living in Denial?

    Will remaining calm and staying long present significant risks to your investment health?
  6. Stock Analysis

    When Will Dick's Sporting Goods Bounce Back? (DKS)

    Is DKS a bargain here?
  7. Investing News

    How AT&T Evolved into a Mobile Phone Giant

    A third of Americans use an AT&T mobile phone. How did it evolve from a state-sponsored monopoly, though antitrust and a technological revolution?
  8. Stock Analysis

    Home Depot: Can its Shares Continue Climbing?

    Home Depot has outperformed the market by a wide margin in the last 12 months. Is this sustainable?
  9. Stock Analysis

    Yelp: Can it Regain its Losses in 2016? (YELP)

    Yelp investors have had reason to be happy recently. Will the good spirits last?
  10. Stock Analysis

    Is Walmart's Rally Sustainable? (WMT)

    Walmart is enjoying a short-term rally. Is it sustainable? Is Amazon still a better bet?
  1. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does additional paid in capital affect retained earnings?

    Both additional paid-in capital and retained earnings are entries under the shareholders' equity section of a company's balance ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What types of capital are not considered share capital?

    The money a business uses to fund operations or growth is called capital, and there are a number of capital sources available. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between issued share capital and subscribed share capital?

    The difference between subscribed share capital and issued share capital is the former relates to the amount of stock for ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center