Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tuning into Product Placement

In the US, product placement has long been commonplace all over the TV dial, in broadcast and cable programs. American Idol's deal with Coke might be the most prominent example; Bravo's Top Chef is another good example, according to Product Placement News. Brands want the halo of being associated with popular programs and seen by millions of viewers.

In the UK, however, product placement was outlawed in TV programs, because of concerns about 'editorial independence' and quality. Now that ban is expected to be lifted (except for BBC programming and all kids' shows on all channels), which could lead to lots of new placement deals in UK entertainment.

Some consumer advocates on both sides of the Atlantic worry that product placement may interfere with program integrity...or be misunderstood. The creator of the UK reality program Big Brother says that product placement should be done in a transparent way, adding:
"But you have to trust the consumer. If it's overdone or tasteless, viewers will switch off."

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