Confession time: I have a thing for Jughead.
Not comic book Jughead, but the angry loner character in Riverdale, one of the latest TV series I’ve inhaled. Generally, if someone says, “Archie comics reboot,” my interest would not be piqued. However, I also heard, “It’s really dark,” and I had to check it out. I ended up totally glomming it on Netflix.
One odd thing I noticed in the show was obvious product placement. Whenever anyone puts on makeup, the camera lingers on the Cover Girl products super obviously. But when I found out Riverdale was a CW show, I recalled how they did the sponsorship thing heavy-handedly with Smallville too, back in the day. (“Come drive in my YARIS, Clark! Oh, I love my Toyota YARIS, it gets such great mileage and it’s surprisingly roomy.”)
It got me to thinking about real-life brands in written fiction. Details like brand specificity can help anchor a story in reality, which I think is particularly important in speculative fiction, to give it the sense of realism it needs to contrast with the speculative parts. But on the other hand, readerships have become truly global, and the brands that evoke a sense of familiarity and tradition in the States wouldn’t necessarily mean anything elsewhere on the globe.
When I first started writing PsyCop over 10 years ago, I decided to create my own department store, SaverPlus, mainly because I was always portraying it in a bad light for comic effect. I’m sure people imagine SaverPlus as many different things, from K-Marts to Targets to that weird locally-owned department store that’s been there ever since you can remember. And this is perfect.
I moved to Wisconsin in 1999, so it’s been a few years since I lived in Chicago. Recently, a couple of Wisconsinite friends and I drove down to poke around Vic and Jacob’s haunts. I was really excited to show them SaverPlus…which exists in this physical reality as the Ravenswood Sears. Or, at least, it did.
It’s closed. They’re turning it into condos or something.
Man, that was hard. I managed not to cry, but it was rough. I took this pic through a broken window.
On a lighter note, my dad sent me this pic from San Fransisco. He doesn’t read PsyCop so it’s just one of those happy coincidences.
Also, I opened a box that hasn’t been breached it years…I know this because I have been looking for my Dremel tool for a few years now and it was in there…and I found the diagram of the hotel room from GhosTV. I could identify it because the one room just says DREYFUSS. 😀
Hopefully the pics put you in a PsyCop mood. PsyCop 9 is well underway and I anticipate a January 2018 release!
And what about you? How did you picture SaverPlus?