Small Talk

Small talk: Burger King, counting pigeons and product placement

Marketplace Contributor Dec 23, 2011

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

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

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.