“Modern Family” uses iPad as key plot point

Wed, Mar 31, 2010


Apple pulled off a product placement coup on tonight’s episode of Modern Family. If you’ve seen the show and not the episode, the plot revolved on Claire’s husband Phil wanting the iPad for his birthday, and his family’s ensuing trouble in actually acquiring Apple’s latest new toy. At the end of the episode, Luke told all of Phil’s “geeky friends” that Phil was dying and that his last wish was to get an iPad. Problem solved.

Overall, it was a hilarious episode (per usual) and a solid piece of strategic product placement from Apple. Modern Family is a smartly written and popular show, and the use of the iPad not only fit into the plot of the show, but made sense within the context of Phil’s character – and that’s how its supposed to work. Microsoft’s disastrous effort to advertise Windows 7 on Family Guy is an example of how not to run a product placement campaign.

And could it be that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is a fan of the show? Here’s a still of Jobs looking at a “Modern Family” page when showing off the iPad from this past January.

We’ll post some more stills and perhaps some video of the episode when they become available.


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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Sarah Gohring Says:

    I found the featured birthday app! you can already download it and also works on the iPhone!!! OMG!!! http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/birthday-a-la-carte/id352272339?mt=8

  2. Russell Says:

    Modern Family is in my opinion the funniest show on TV.

    This iPad episode was well done and even though i wasn’t planning to purchase one i think i want one now. I’m just not going to let my wife stand in line for me.

  3. Craig B Says:

    Looks like a cross promotion deal – we [Apple] promote the show and you [ABC] put the iPad in an episode. Perhaps a stronger argument is that there will be lots of attention on the iPad so the placement will bring you new viewers. You’ll see the spike on Hulu.

    Steve also didn’t take any chances that the placement would have any negative aspects: Modern Family is on ABC which is owned by Disney. Steve Jobs is the single largest shareholder in Disney. He most likely had script approval.

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