Books Go Better With…

( I published this on a blog I had a while back…)

A recent book review in the Philadelphia Inquirer pointed out the rather insidious use of product placement in the young adult novel Cathy’s Book. In this case Cover Girl cosmetics (owned by Procter & Gamble) get mentioned as part of the story, causing the nonprofit group Commercial Alert to point out the use of shady product placement. A stroll through the children’s department of your local bookstore might also have you wondering. Here you might see The Cheerios Play Book, The M & M’s Brand Counting Book and The Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Fun Book. 

The latest entry into this slightly disturbing trend of product crossover is another children’s book Cashmere If You Can, a children’s picture book about some cute little goats who just happen to live on the roof of the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store. This concept of product branding crossed with literature is not limited to children’s books – in 2001 Fay Weldon’s novel The Bulgari Connection caused the literary world to collectively pucker its lips in disapproval.

This trend of tying commercial products with literary works seems likely to continue, so to that end I am happy to suggest here a possible list of book/product tie-ins that might work well. (Note: if any companies wish to use these, please notify my desired corporate sponsor, Godiva Chocolate.)
Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith – Ferragamo
Full Scoop by Janet Evanovich & Charlotte Hughes – Baskin-Robbins
Bag of Bones by Stephen King – Calcium supplements/osteoporosis products
Message In A Bottle by Nicholas Sparks – Home pregnancy tests
A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe – Condoms or other masculine sexual aids
When the Wind Blows by James Patterson – Gas relief products
I Ain’t Got Time to Bleed by Jesse Ventura – Band Aid bandages
Cuba Libre by Elmore Leonard – Bacardi Rum
The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger – Carnival Cruises
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf – Clairol hair products
Eggs For Young America by Katherine L. Hester – Dairy products and Easter promotions
Chocolat by Joanne Harris – Well, duuhh…
And obviously, the entire Chicken Soup genre belongs on Campbell’s soup cans.

The same strategy could even be used to revive sales of classics, as follows:
The Post Man Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain – U. S. Postal Service products
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler – Sominex
You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe – Samsonite luggage
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway – Verizon
From Here to Eternity by James Jones – Timex
Across the River and Into the Trees by Ernest Hemingway – Jeep Cherokee
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera – Weight Watchers products
1984 by George Orwell – All giant screen televisions
The Plague by Albert Camus – One-a-Day multi-vitamins
The Ugly American by Eugene Burdick – All recordings of the Disney song “It’s a Small World”

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