Stephen Colbert dates Rob Lowe, himself

No, silly, I’m not talking about “dates” in the sense of going out. Where ever did you get the idea that Stephen Colbert is gay? I’m talking about in the sense of carbon dating. He’s apparently very good at it.

I’ve previously noted that Stephen Colbert takes product placement to a whole new level, tying the content of his show to the message of his advertisers in subtle and unexpected ways. Specifically, I once wrote about his creative use of Pavlovian conditioning in conjunction with an advertisement by Dr. Pepper.

Last night, he was at it again, in his segment “The Word – Channel Serfing“. Right before the clip began, his website ran an ad for Iams:*

Colbert Iams ad

And less than one minute into the clip, Colbert dropped his advertiser’s name in an effort to explain just how old Rob Lowe** really is:

Colbert I am lowe

Using the dog food brand as a reference point is an egregious example of product placement. But how?

Like his work with Pavlov and Dr. Pepper, the tie-in is subtle: Iams were founded in 1946, and Rob Lowe is considerably younger, so Stephen must have been — understandably*** — calculating Lowe’s age in dog years.

But Colbert wasn’t done dating things: next up, himself. Minutes later, he dropped a joke that involved banks giving away toasters:

Colbert bank joke

Now, at the risk of dating myself, I’m willing to admit that this is a joke I would not have understood LITERALLY four days ago. But just this past Monday, my Administrative law professor described how regulations once forced banks to compete on perks, and so they would give away kitchen appliances to their customers as an incentive for opening an account. I’m officially certifiably old, but all this was way before my time. And Colbert just dropped that reference like it wasn’t a big deal – he always seemed so youthful!


*Brief note of clarification: unclear whether the pictured dog is Pavlovian.

**Not to be confused with the Pavlovian variety.

***See **.


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