Monitoring product placement in UK television E-mail
Written by Jonathan Hardy   
Sunday, 27 February 2011 20:42

From Monday 28th February product placement will be permitted in most UK TV programmes. Restrictions remain on news and (some) children's programmes, and certain products cannot be advertised within programmes. Yet the principle that programmes and advertising should be kept separate has been abandoned, for the first time since commercial television began in Britain. This has not occured without strong opposition, in the UK and across Europe, and this opposition is reflected in the new rules. Product placement will be permitted, but it must not undermine editorial integrity in programmes, and brands shown must not be 'unduly' prominent. These old rules remain alongside the new permission for marketers to pay for presence in programmes. But, important as they are, these safeguards cannot hold. Allowing advertising within programmes will make a nonsense of safeguards on editorial independence, advertising rules, and claims that paid placement will not be 'unduly prominent'.


Preventing product placement altogether will require new legislation. More immediately, the new arrangements need to be  tested and contested. Making complaints to Ofcom is vital here. Each and every product placement that is 'unduly prominent', or undermines editorial integrity, needs to be recorded in the form of complaints made to Ofcom. This will show the strength of opposition, but it will also highlight the deep contradiction between allowing marketers' paid placement while purporting to maintain that programmes (and programme decisions) will not be distorted for commercial purposes.

Last Updated on Sunday, 27 February 2011 21:29