British Television Finally Accepts Paid Product Placement

Your Brand on TV, for a Fee, in Britain (New York Times)

Product PlacementIn a previous post and in our tutorial section, we have noted the effectiveness of using product placement promotion.  Such promotion, found primarily in entertainment programming including movies and television shows, is fast becoming a popular promotional method.  One key reason for its attractiveness is that it offers a higher level of credibility.  Program viewers may believe the product appears because the program producers selected the product and not because the marketer paid for placement.

In the early days of product placement, marketers often paid indirectly for placement.  For instance, to gain visibility marketers used public relations techniques and free product to persuade producers to include their product.  But what it takes to gain placement is moving away from such indirect cost methods and is now moving to requiring direct payment.  As more marketers see value in product placement, the trend is for program producers to charge for placement.  And marketers have responded by offering large sums to get their product included.

While paid product placement is an accepted practice in the U.S. and many other countries, this is not the case in Britain.  In fact, as discussed in this story, product placement has long been banned on British television, though this has now changed.  Following the lead of other European nations, Britain now allows for paid placement.

However, while over $6 billion is spent worldwide on product placement, many marketers question the potential of the British market due to limitations imposed by regulators.  For instance, placements are prohibited for alcohol and junk-food products, and also no placements are permitted on the BBC, the most watched network in Britain.

One of those rules is that product placements must be disclosed to viewers, something that is not required in the United States. In Britain, channels must display a small “P” in the corner of the screen at the start and end of shows containing product placements, as well as after the advertising breaks.

Are the concerns expressed by British regulators still viable or is it time they rethink these?

Image by kalleboo

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