The Boys creators trolled Amazon with offensive Season 4 gag

Christopher Baggett
The Boys' The Deep holding A bottle of peach cognac.

The Boys has been known for poking fun at everything under the sun, but series creator Eric Kripke revealed its joke about digital product placement was aimed at Amazon itself.

The Boys featured a parody of Disney’s D-23 expo, Vought’s V52 Expo. The expo was full of trailers and teases, taking a shot at the regular barrage of MCU announcements.

One surprising thing the show did take a shot at was digital product placement. In The Boys, Vought programs now replace advertised products on their shows depending on the audience. As series creator Eric Kripke revealed in a social media post, it’s an actual shot at a conversation he had with Amazon.

“Y’know, custom digital product placement is a real thing, you guys,” Kripke said on X/Twitter. “Amazon pitched it to us for #TheBoys. We said, ‘No thanks, but we’re definitely making a joke about it in Season 4.’ Then we did.”

The joke in the show highlights the extreme potential of digital product placement. Vought showcases the technology as a way to target its audience, but the examples instead target racial stereotypes, showing white viewers an IPA and Black viewers a bottle of peach-flavored cognac.

Digital product placement is far from a new idea, having existed for years. It started with shows like Friends and NCIS. Distributors found a revenue stream potentially in the billions by replacing or adding advertised products to these classic shows when they were rebroadcast in syndication or on streaming.

Experimentation with digital product placement began as far back as 2011 when an episode of How I Met Your Mother digitally inserted a movie poster in a rerun.

For now, The Boys will remain free of digital product placement, but the trend continues to grow. Most recently, fans noticed advertising agencies using A.I. to insert ads into TikTok videos.

While you wait for more from Season 4, check out our ranking of The Boys seasons and The Boys Season 3’s most shocking moments. You can also learn about new TV shows streaming this year, like The Penguin TV show, or look ahead to Invincible Season 3.