Modern Family Product Placement Mystery Solved?


Last night's episode of Modern Family followed Claire Dunphy (Julie Bowen) as she contrived a way to purchase an iPad for her husband, gadget-loving Phil (Ty Burrell). Product placement emerges as a lame supporting player in many primetime offerings, but the front-and-center shilling felt particularly acute last night. While Apple and ABC seem to deny a deal taking place, a new press release from Apple ensures that the two companies had at least been in iPad-related discussions recently (in addition to an ABC player for the iPad that's advertised on using...a picture of Phil cradling the product):


New ABC Player App Enables Users to Watch Full Episodes of ABC Programming, Disney to Launch New Interactive Books Exclusively for the iPad and a Custom Version of Featuring Exclusive Video Content, ESPN ScoreCenter XL to Provide New Premium Features Exclusively for the iPad

BURBANK, Calif., April 1, 2010 - As part of its ongoing strategy to provide original creative content where and how consumers want it, Disney will offer applications from all of its businesses on the new Apple iPad.

The ABC Player app extends the reach of's full episode player onto the iPad. iPad users will have the ability to watch free, ad-supported episodes from approximately 20 popular ABC series through a wi-fi connection. The application will also allow iPad users to purchase downloads of episodes via the iTunes store. The ABC iPad app brings the full experience of's Emmy Award-winning full episode player to a touch-screen, handheld device for the first time. Additionally, the site is now optimized for the iPad, complete with full-functionality for all its features, including short-form video.

How exciting. But couldn't ABC have pandered in a more tolerable way? Like, if maybe The Middle did an episode where Patricia Heaton shrinks her kid's iPad in the dryer? And it still functions and fits snugly inside a Lisa Frank folder? I'd have been OK with that.

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  • Keith says:

    We're not talking about Carl Weathers loving Burger King in Arrested Development here. That iPad placement was way over the top.

  • quadshot says:

    The explanation of the product placement seemed like a no-brainer to me as I was watching last night.
    Here is my logic:
    Steve Jobs: CEO of Apple Inc., majority shareholder of Walt Disney Company, member of Walt Disney Company's board of directors.
    Walt Disney Company: Parent company of ABC television network
    ABC: broadcasters of Modern Family television program
    Modern Family: television program and Apple iPad shill 😀

  • HwoodHills says:

    But did Ty Burrell (Phil) get payment for that or is it a "scene" he has to deliver as an actor?
    That seems to be one of the biggest issues on the table for Product Placement nowadays.
    Intrepid Movieline eds, get on that.

  • Bruce Sinclair says:

    Just downloaded that birthday app that was featured on the iPad! COOLl! It also works on the iPhone!!! It's called Birthday A La Carte!

  • HwoodHills says:

    Really, Movieline?
    You're now letting Apple spammers post here? And not deleting them?
    That's a shame.

  • stolidog says:

    What was really shocking was the product placement for the minivan. seriously.

  • Dale O'Gorman says:

    This comment Clearly Solves your so called "mystery". Product placement is, has been and will always be a way to finance the production of Multimedia programs.

  • Connor says:

    This is a good show but the product placement on both the ipad and Toyota Sequoia were embarrassingly bad.

  • Jump Higher says:

    I just jailbroke my easy!