Update: video of the advertisement
If you watched part 1 of the season finale of Fox’s hit TV Show Fringe tonight, then you probably noticed the shameless, reoccurring Google Wallet product placement by Sprint during the first five minutes of the show. The episode began in typical Fringe fashion, a dramatic scene in which an unexplained supernatural event occurs and multiple people die as a result of it. However, this time the main focus of the opening seemed to be more on Sprint and Google Wallet than anything else.
A man is shown handling a Samsung Galaxy Nexus Android smartphone, blatantly branded with Sprint’s logo, as he goes through the motions of making a mobile payment for his morning brew using NFC technology and the Google Wallet service. He pays for his coffee, heads out of the building, then suddenly drops dead after fumes exit through his mouth, nose and ears. A dozen or so more people spontaneously combust and expire in the same way. After the intro, John Noble, the man who plays Dr. Walter Bishop, is on the scene to investigate and picks up the aforementioned man’s phone. “Maybe the deaths are associated with this mobile transaction,” says the often confused, old scientist while looking at the payment confirmation screen. Jasika Nicole, who plays FBI agent Astrid Farnsworth, quickly corrects him by saying, “no Walter, this is just how people pay for things now. He probably just bought that coffee.” Walter responds in amazement – “hmm, what will they think of next?”
The placement was excessive, distracting and completely unnecessary, but brilliant on Sprint’s part. It was clearly an effort by Sprint to inform consumers that the ability to make wireless payments using a smartphone is now a reality. The truth is, average consumers in the US probably don’t realize this form of payment is available now, or at least that it’s available outside of Japan. What Sprint did with this spot is demo the service and inform consumers it’s ready for primetime. Now it’s up to inquisitive viewers to log onto Sprint’s website to find out more. We’d say that’s advertising money well spent.