March 15, 2011

Ofcom says yes to product placement

TV advertising has always been a tough market, but it’s getting even tougher due to the incredible technological advances that allow us to skip time and record straight from the digi-box. As much as we hate to say it, it would be folly to ignore the fact that many viewers now watch everything in delay and simply fast-forward through the ads.

And this is undoubtedly why Ofcom has, in the last couple of weeks, allowed for product placement on UK TV programmes. It’s a slow-burn, with only one deal confirmed so far (a Nescafé coffee maker on This Morning) but experts are predicting it could eventually be an industry worth £100million a year.

We agree caution is wise. While prop provision has been around for years this is a whole other ball game and you run the real possibility of irritating and alienating the public and existing/potential consumers.

Ofcom is currently informing the public about the new system, which will see a ‘P’ logo appearing at the beginning of a programme to identify that placed products will be appearing throughout. Only time will tell if this will cause viewers to actively look out for the products and, at best, become a new type of focus group or, worst, switch off.

As a potentially lucrative new marketing avenue it is one we’ll be watching with interest. When or if it becomes a valid option for our clients with the potential for a return on investment, it’s certainly one to consider within the marketing mix.


30th March 2011

We promised we’d get back to you with any relevant developments regarding product placement as a valid marketing option. Since our last post YouGov has conducted a piece of consumer research which shows audience response to be ‘distinctly lukewarm’ with the prospect of brands starring in TV shows. In fact almost a quarter of UK consumers have a negative view of the idea.

However, this does seem to depend on the types of goods being placed and where they are being placed. Food and drink is the best category with the UK audience feeling product placement is most apt in British soaps.

The overall consensus was that product placement is the commercial reality of today and the planned changes are unlikely to detract from overall viewing enjoyment.