Although certainly not being discussed at the moment in the same way PR efforts are, marketing and advertising efforts to place products in films and TV shows is a far older discussion. If you can spot a product in a movie, chances are the company paid to put it there.
My favorite director weighs in:
Via MeFi. Incidentally, the interviewer is wrong: this isn't a "growing trend," it's been going on for years.
By the way, one of my favorite solutions for a movie that couldn't receive any product placement offers, Repo Man:
Image comes from an interview with Repo Man director Alex Cox, which contains the story of the awesome generics.