Selling (Out) Broadway

Today's (4/23) New York Times carried an editorial describing the latest venue in which advertising product placements have shown up—the Broadway musical. The musical Sweet Charity carries plugs for a brand of tequila, Grand Centanario.

There is a sign showing the product in one scene, and the product name has been inserted into dialogue. The original script from the 1966 musical has a waiter ask a customer, "a double Scotch again, sir?" The line has been changed to "Grand Centario, the tequila?" The Times bemoans this development, acknowledging the commercial nature of Broadway theater, but wishing the stage itself could remain ad free.

What do you all think? Is this bad?

One thing that's on my mind—Most discussions of product placement focus on the advertiser's strategy and on the transaction between the advertiser and the provider of media placement. What about the viewer/customer? Is it just assumed that if they see it they will buy? Will they? These discussions are just variations on old-time advertising discussions, which assume that customers will but your product if you interrupt them enough times. Relating back to the Times story, will any more Grand Centario be sold due to selling-out of Sweet Charity?