Media: Things we like

ITV's product-placement deal

Hats off to ITV for successfully pulling off the first paid product-placement deal, with Nescafe's Dolce Gusto coffee machine appearing in This Morning. It was also good to see that it was done discretely - it just appeared in the background as part of the kitchen set and had no clumsy overt branding. This meant that those ad-haters (if the furore over PHD's execrable promo video is anything to go by, there are plenty of those) could not jump on the anti-product placement bandwagons. Let's hope that this interesting new ad vehicle continues to develop in such a thoughtful, rather than brash, way.

V Festival

While the Orange-sponsored Glastonbury has opted for the insufferable U2, Beyonce and Coldplay, the line-up at the Virgin Media-backed V Festival looks infinitely better. Among those playing at the August event are Eminem, Arctic Monkeys, Fun Lovin' Criminals and The Courteeners. While the Glasto experience is better, the acts look worse.

Nigel Jones' music website

For the Publicis UK chairman, Nigel Jones, what started as a good way of channelling his passion for music has turned into a hugely popular website. Since it launched last year, A Barrel of Nails (www.abarrelofnails.com) has quickly built up a strong cult following, and has enjoyed so much success that Jones has had to revamp the site to accommodate the increasing traffic. The new site features a more accessible interface, a standalone music player and an ever-increasing archive of songs dating all the way back to 1912.

Hollyoaks' public jury

We'll admit that we haven't watched Hollyoaks since our university days, but credit must go to Channel 4 for trying something a little different in an upcoming storyline, in which 12 members of the public will decide whether or not a character on trial for rape is guilty. The incident will not feature on screen and while neither the accused nor the accusor will lie about what took place, both will read the same situation very differently, leaving viewers unsure of what really happened. It's an innovative move that should help the audience engage more closely with the show and the complex issues it addresses.

AND ONE THING WE DON'T ...

Assange trademark application

Julian Assange, the dubious darling of The Guardian (somehow it manages to condone computer-hacking but condemn phone-hacking simultaneously), has followed the lead of Sarah Palin and applied to have his name trademarked. He wants to protect his name for use in "public speaking services" and "entertainment services". And we were rather hoping we had seen the last of him given that he's just lost his case to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces charges of rape and sexual assault.

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