When TiVo became the first widely used digital television recorder in the world, advertisers began to sweat through their suits.
The thought of paying millions of dollars for TV spots only to have their ads skipped at the push of a button made them rethink what advertising space was really worth.
And the new Hopper DVR that allows you to actually skip the entire break instead of fast forwarding through it makes things even worse.
At least when you were fast forwarding you would probably still see the logos and products being advertised.
In recent years, we have begun to see more and more product placement in WWE, and recently it has caused some distress among wrestling fans.
Putting aside the fact that Jerry Lawler has been shown eating junk food not long after having a heart attack, the complaints have centered around how ridiculous and misplaced the ads seem.
These ads are obviously scripted, which makes them slightly painful to watch, especially when the announcers ham it up a little, but what did you expect?
Sonic knows you're not going to see its commercial if you just skip the entire commercial break, so the next logical step is to put the ads right in the show.
By having Michael Cole talk about Sonic while a bunch of fans are shown drinking the company's free shakes, Sonic has ensured that the entire WWE viewing audience will see the ad.
That is usually over four million people just in the United States. Considering people used to take bathroom breaks during commercials anyway, this is a guarantee that the ad will be seen.
Since WWE did not want to bring back WCW's Slim Jim ring from back in the day, the only place to put those ads was in the mouths of the announcers.
It might be annoying, but it is a fact of life. Product placement has existed in one way or another for far longer than televised wrestling.
Do you think the judges on American Idol just really like Coca Cola? No. Coke pays a ton of money to have those cups on the table.
The money for advertising lies in product placement, not commercials. We should actually be thanking WWE for taking 30 seconds to plug a product instead of the alternatives.
There is open space on the entire barricade, announcer's table, ring apron and stage where WWE could easily slap a logo down and make a profit. The WWE ring could easily look like any baseball stadium with ads covering the wall surrounding the field.
WWE chose not to do that in favor of keeping your eyes focused on the product instead of a dry cleaning advertisement.
We also have to remember that WWE has had announcers plugging products for years. It used to be just a quick logo on the screen and Michael Cole saying "WrestleMania is brought to you by..."
The amount of time they give the ads may have increased a bit, but they aren't new by any means.
Who knows. Maybe WWE will get creative with product placement and turn it into a joke like some sitcoms have done.
Be honest, would you rather watch Michael Cole try to order a pizza for 30 seconds, or see a huge Domino's logo in the center of the ring?
It might be annoying, but in-show product placement is likely here to stay.
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