Nigel Lythgoe talks about product placement

Nigel Lythgoe, an executive producer of American Idol, says he’s getting sick of how some people understand product placement.

In a related statement, Lythgoe said he’s “sick to some degree of the (product) integration because (other) people have a different idea of what integration means. For me, it’s a smooth, organic process, whereas for other people, it’s, ‘Hi! This is a Coca-Cola!’”

During the Digital Hollywood conference, Lythgoe described the tension between sponsors and producers. He said that there’s a possibility for innovation in product placement but it requires a balance that can’t be easily achieved.

“Everyone’s trying to use this as a platform,” said Lythgoe. “They’re trying to stretch things all the time. I want to move those damned Coke cups. Especially when (rookie Idol judge) Nicki Minaj is sponsored by Pepsi. It gets on your nerves sometimes when it’s too obvious. You don’t want product forced on you. So we just have to be careful.”

In a related conversation, Lythgoe mentioned that he is exploring new distribution opportunities—the most recent of which was an unsuccessful pitch to Microsoft’s Xbox division. Despite that, Lythgoe says that he’s thrilled for the platform’s prospects.

Lythgoe also described Shine America as “a very, very exciting company.” The company recently purchased 50% of Lythgoe’s operation. He continued: “I look forward to spending more time with them.”