Under the Dome goes over the top in promoting Microsoft Surface


Microsoft is the master of product placement. Watch almost any American-made TV show and at some point it’s likely one of the characters will whip out their Windows Phone, fire up their Surface, or use Windows 8.x. No one in those shows ever seems to own an iPad or an Android phone, which is odd considering that in the real world, most people do.

I caught up with the latest episode of CBS show Under the Dome last night, and for a brief moment thought I was watching an advert for Surface, so prevalent was Microsoft’s slate. The problem was… [spoilers ahead]

If you haven’t seen the episode in question, and plan to watch it at some point, I will warn you this post contains very mild spoilers. If such things bother you, look away now.

In the most recent episode it started raining blood inside the dome. Except it wasn’t really blood, just a red corrosive liquid. But that wasn’t the silliest thing.

There has been no internet in Chester’s Mill since the dome came down, however that all changed in the episode, when for some spurious reason teenager Joe McAlister decided to fire up his beloved Surface and watch stunned as email arrived!

There were several fun things about this scene. Firstly Joe told his companion Norrie there was an "extra tablet on the shelf", which turned out to be another Surface. Secondly, in order to use Surface, Joe had to click it into the keyboard, and then set up the kickstand. He couldn’t just use it as a tablet.

Quite why, knowing there was no internet, he went into his email program wasn’t explained either.

From then on, the Surface appeared regularly on screen, but only in the hands of the younger characters. At one point Junior used the tablet to check his email, and opened the one message that looked like spam -- "I can help you, James". (Interestingly, James/Junior had the exact same emails as Joe).

Now here’s the thing. Surface is a great tablet, especially Surface Pro 3, but is it something teenagers use? No. Joe’s Surface -- and it had his name and picture in the corner, and later a cool selfie -- had no trace of apps, other than the pre-installed Microsoft ones on it. And not a single game. What exactly does he need or use a Surface for? We don’t know who the spare one on the shelf belonged to, but it had a pink touch cover, so possibly his sister Angie.

Maybe they asked for iPads for Christmas and were given Surfaces instead by their clueless parents.

Obviously, Under the Dome is a silly piece of television not meant to be taken seriously, and (despite the above) I don’t take it seriously, but really I couldn't let this over the top product placement pass without comment. TV.com nailed it in their excellent review of the episode here, and in the following screen captures…







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