Today's Buzzword of the day is literatisement. It's defined as, in short, "an advertising product placement embedded in books...So beware the next time your book’s hero is driving a Lexus, the author may be on Lexus’ payroll."
That raised my hackles today.
Why? Because I put all kinds of brand names in my books and am totally not on any payroll of any company. There are no free Prada shoes coming in my mailbox (and hey, Prada, you want to send a few my way, shoe size is 7 1/2 and I wouldn't complain ;-). I do it because BRANDS DEFINE CHARACTERS, Dude.
If I just said, "she was wearing shoes," what does that say about my character? Not a darn thing. It doesn't tell you who she is. If I said "he drove a sedan," does that tell you anything at all about the character? Do you look at someone's car and determine their level of income, status in society, etc.? Heck, yeah, we all do it. Right or wrong, we do make snap, first-impression judgments based on what people wear, drive, where they live, etc.
Beyond that, using specific words gives readers a specific image. If I say there were azaleas in front of the house, that gives the reader a different picture than saying there were shrubs. If I say we bought a Douglas fir as opposed to a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, those are two different images. And no, the Peanuts people didn't pay me one dime to say that. And neither did Mother Nature.
So Buzzwhack people, you have that wrong. Yes, there was an author who wrote a book where she was paid to put in references to a jewelry maker. It happens. But to lump in ALL authors as if we're some TV program sticking in Coca-Cola bottles just because we want a free two-liter bottle--I take major offense to that. No way, not happening here, thank you very much.