Attack of the Pos-Mens!

Tonight’s "supersized" episode of 30 Rock centered around NBC suit Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) asking the show’s writers to come up with a sketch centered around a product placement of their GE parent company. His marketing lingo for this was "pos-mens" (positive mentions). Tina Fey’s character, Liz Lemon, and the other writers balk at this, while extolling the many pleasures of Snapple — a very funny bit of meta-humor, of which there was much in this episode.

Mocked as they were, actual "pos-mens" could be seen on NBC just a half hour earlier on The Office. On tonight’s mostly-good episode, we learn that Kevin (the chubby white dude) has very few responsibilities, but one of them is shredding corporate documents. And he loves his shredder. His Staples shredder. He demonstrates it for the camera, shredding paper, a CD, and then accidentally (predictably) shredding his own credit card.

And then we go to commercial… a Staples commercial offering a special deal on a shredder. The exact shredder being used in the episode! Nice and subtle. The commercial actually aired twice, both times right after a scene involving the shredder.

Do you think NBC Marketing or Staples came up with bit of synergy? Why is a company the size of Dunder Miflin using a home office shredder whose feed area isn’t even wide enough for a regular size piece of paper? I realize the age we live in, and am not easily offended…but this kind of offended me.

I do need a shredder, though. But I’m going to Office Depot.


  1. wait! don't go to office depot! i already got you a shredder for xmas

  2. I actually jotted "POS-MENS!" down on a notepad during that episode. We will make this real jargon.
    30 Rock has actually been pretty darned good, in a modest sort of way. They started planting pos-mens in the very first episode, though, with Baldwin's character rolling out a spiel about a new oven he'd helped spearhead; during the break there was a whole commercial for, of course, a brand new GE oven. This time the joke was more elaborate, but whether it'll be an effective running gag or a tiresome too-oft-told joke… well, I imagine we'll see.
    Gotta go. Suddenly feel like finding out the effects of the revolutionary trivection(tm) process on this case of Snapple I just bought.

  3. also, the shredder made a fine salad. that wasn't in the staples commercial.

  4. Did you see Studio 60 last night? Not nearly as clever as pos-mens but similarly meta ("I hate product placement and would never use it in my show" "You would never use it in your show, Donald?" "My name is Danny, and no, I would never mention Nokia cell phones or Diet Coke on my show". End Sorkin scene.)

  5. The funny thing about the "pos-mens" for the Office is that usually Staples serve as the invisible antagonists for Dunder-Mifflin. They are often named as to why the company isn't doing as well as they used to, plus the Stamford boss screwed up all their plans for re-organization by taking a similar position at….Staples.

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