Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Go-ahead for product placement

As expected, the government has announced that it will relax the regulations concerning product placement on TV.
...the Government has concluded that we will be able to allow television product placement in a way which will provide meaningful commercial benefits to commercial television companies and programme makers while taking account of the legitimate concerns that have been expressed.

We have therefore decided to legislate to allow UK television companies to include product placement in programmes which they make or commission to appear in their schedules.
As previously reported, the restrictions on what can be advertised are tighter than some broadcasters were hoping.

Gail Renard, chair of the Guild's television committee writes:

Product placement is finally upon us which doesn't come as a huge surprise. It's a pragmatic decision in response to falling television advertising revenue. The WGGB greets it cautiously with the following caveats:

The Guild will ensure that we take part in the Ofcom and government consultation processes, to see that the proper controls and gatekeepers are in place. A scene taking place in Dev Alahan's corner shop in Coronation Street cannot morph into a five minute infomercial for all the delightful products on Dev's shelves. However there's no reason why Kellogg's Cornflake boxes can't be seen on Dev's shelves, like in every other mini-mart in Britain, as long as it's not part of the storyline. Which brings us to the difference between product placement, which the Guild accepts, and product integration, which America has and we don't want.

Product integration is where the product becomes an integral part of the show; i.e.: where Jack Duckworth stops the storyline to extol the virtues of Clucko Pigeon Feed and how it keeps his birds regular. Not on our watch.

Product placement, as stated in the original government papers, must also never be present in children's programming (or what little of it remains in Britain.)

And all the powers-that-be must remember that product placement can't be a sticking plaster or miracle cure for poor network management and/or programming. It's an opportunity to tap a new source of revenue to make more and better British television programmes. Like all breaks, let's use this one wisely.

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