A work of fiction in which a company pays the writer to incorporate the company's products into the story.
Example Citation:
British writer Fay Weldon opened up a whole new financial can of worms with her novel "The Bulgari Connection," sponsored by the Italian jewelry company Bulgari in return for a few mentions in the plot. Some critics wailed about the new field of "fictomercial," but most accepted the book for what it is: a harmless little experiment by a talented novelist.
— "Whew! What a year," The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, December 15, 2001
Earliest Citation:
Are there worse things that can happen to the novel? The beleaguered form has been declared dead on numerous occasions, by writers ranging from Gore Vidal to V. S. Naipaul; it has been chilled by the looming shadow of hypertext fiction; and it has long since ceded its cultural importance to the dominant contemporary storytelling form, the movies. And now, just when it seemed that the least you could claim for the fading redundancy that is "literary fiction" was its artistic integrity, Fay Weldon has gone and dragged advertising into its pages.
Weldon anticipated the opprobrium some would heap on her for the deal she struck with Bulgari, the Italian jewelry company; it paid her an undisclosed sum in exchange for Weldon's placing references to their products in her new book. But Weldon, who in previous novels has been fearless in taking on targets like sexism, feminism, therapy and cloning, has been typically bold and unapologetic in pioneering this hybrid form of fictomercial. And her past work as an advertising copywriter — she reportedly came up with the British slogan "Go to Work on an Egg" at about the same time her friend Salman Rushdie, who also worked in advertising, is said to have dreamed up "delectabubble" to describe an airy kind of chocolate bar — has surely stood her in good stead in "The Bulgari Connection."
— Sylvia Brownrigg, "Your Ad Here," The New York Times, November 4, 2001
In 1997, the late Canadian novelist Mordecai Richler caused a minor stir when he published an excerpt from his book Barney's Version in a magazine. The story was "Presented By Absolut Vodka" and the final page of text was printed around the shape of an Absolut vodka bottle, with "Absolut Mordecai" printed in bold letters at the bottom of the page. The Swedish vodka maker has also ran ads featuring short stories commissioned from the likes of Douglas Coupland: and John Irving, and has even sponsored short story contests in which the Absolut name must appear.
Then there was the source of today's word: writer Fay Weldon's novel The Bulgari Connection, commissioned by the jeweler Bulgari, which caused much pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth last year. Interestingly, more than one reviewer noted at the time that Ms. Weldon appeared to have pulled a fast one on Bulgari, since the character who is most into the Bulgari scene is also the least likable.
It was inevitable, I guess, but a couple of ex-advertising types have taken the idea of the fictomercial to its head-shakingly logical conclusion. They've started writing bought books: novels designed from the outline up to be vehicles for a company's marketing message.
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