These fragmented ads spoil the fun and disturb the plot flow. They also seem a bit strange if the product doesn't quite seem to fit the character. Tian Bailing, a sophomore at Xi'an Peihua University, was bewildered while watching Meteor Shower, when she saw four males strut into a car shop and all drive off in four new MGs. The well-born boys then use the cars in various stunts for eight minutes.

"It has a strong visual impact," Tian said. "But they were supposed to be members of the rich class. Why would they drive around in those cars instead of a dreamier BMW or Mercedes-Benz?"

Cai Zhiyong, a veteran "embedded ad" developer with the United International Culture Communication in Beijing, says that awkwardness is a conflict between art and commerce.

Cai explains that ad designers face a dilemma between script first or client first. Finding a client related to the plot can result in a natural look. For example, Shu Qi is originally an air hostess in If You Are the One, and there are airline ads.

But in other cases, especially during the financial crisis, TV makers have to adapt their work to the needs of clients. Many of Meteor Shower's ads fall in that category.