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Small talk: Burger King, counting pigeons and product placement

"American Idol" had the most product placements on TV this year.

Bob Moon: A final note on the way out, a chance to review some news that didn't quite make the headlines. Courtesy of Rico Gagliano, Brendan Francis Newnam and the rest of the Marketplace staff.


Brendan Newnam: Jennifer Collins, reporter for Marketplace. What story are you going to be talking about this weekend?

Jennifer Collins: So I'm going to be talking about how Burger King is losing its crown.

Newnam: So one of the last monarchies falls, and it has now become a republic?

Collins: Well actually people don't want to have it their way. For the first time in decades, you know McDonald's has always been on the top in the burger world -- Burger King has been second, but now Wendy's is coming in and actually stealing the crown.

Newnam: What's astounding, though, is that it's been decades and apparently our diet hasn't changed at all.

Collins: And actually, fast food overall has grown 3 percent in the last year.

Newnam: So, cardiologists sleeping soundly; cows not so much.

Collins: Yeah.

Rico Gagliano: Rod Abid, senior producer of the Marketplace Morning Report. What story are you going to be talking about this weekend?

Rod Abid: This one's from the New York Times, and in the Times this week, I learned that pigeons, after a year of training, can pick up abstract math principles -- to which I say, 'Who cares! Why are studying this? Why does science need to know that pigeons can peck numbers on a screen?'

Gagliano: Well what, doesn't that mean that they can be trained, maybe, to do things like for the military or something?

Abid: I guess that's possible but the only thing I can think of is when they poop my head, they go 'There's one.'

Newnam: Matt Berger, digital director of Marketplace. What story are you going to be talking about this weekend?

Matt Berger: Nielsen came out with some data this week that showed the top 10 primetime television shows ranked by the number of product placements they included.

Newnam: This is when companies not so subtlely have their items placed in a TV show to kind of subliminally sell things.

Berger: Exactly. So here's some of the top ones: "American Idol," as you might imagine: 577 product placements.

Newnam: Tune into public radio.

Berger: "The Biggest Loser" was number two at 533.

Newnam: Get a handsome tote bag.

Berger: And "Friday Night Lights," one of my favorite shows, it's hard to believe it's on the list: number eight with 201 product placements.

Newnam: Get a bumper sticker and commuter mug. That's really fascinating, man.

Berger: I thought so. Visit marketplace.org.


Moon: For more of where that came from tune into the radio show Brendan and Rico do. It's called The Dinner Party.

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I often hear people make fun of scientific studies, but they are almost always thoughtless opportunistic cheap shots. Studies like this pigeon study gives us some very useful incredibly interesting insights on the nature of intelligence; journalists like Abid ... not so much so.

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