As I sift through the interview transcripts for Soap! The Inside Story…, I’m realizing that, like books past, there are a lot of interesting tidbits of information that simply won’t be included in the book for space reasons. To that end, I thought I’d share some of those with you here.
In our discussion about his eventful career, Olympic gold medalist turned businessman Bob Seagren (who played Jodie’s football player lover Dennis Phillips in Season 1) explained what product placement was like in the 1970s:
As an athlete, I wore Puma athletic shoes. In [1978 or ’79], I was hired by Puma to help them with their celebrity, track & field and Hollywood product placement side because I was working on Soap. They hired me to do product placement and to get other celebrities to wear Puma shoes, so I was doing that the same time I was doing Soap….
“It was an industry that sort of developed. Nike started doing it in the early ’70s, I guess, and they started putting shoes on various stars, so Puma wanted to do the same thing. So I had Emmanuel Lewis on [Webster], he was wearing our product. Clint Eastwood was a real avid wearer of the shoes, too. You dealt directly with the star, you didn’t deal with the producer or the show entity itself. But that’s all changed. Now they realized the number of impressions you can get, so it’s worth going in and striking a deal with a production company. Yes, a lot of different ways to make money.”