Product Placement in Europe: Changes Coming?

Posted by: Jon Fine on April 16, 2007

In France now for the MIPTV conference, where I just found out that in much (if not all) of continental Europe, there are laws against putting product placement in TV shows. Did you know this? I didn’t, at least not until I met here with an executive who works at an international media and programming company that’s no stranger to product placement/brand integration/whatever-the-term-du-jour is.

Said executive did predict, however, that the ongoing revenue squeeze on broadcasters would lead them to push for a repeal of these laws before long. In particular he expected laws against TV product placement in the UK to be gone in two years.

Maybe he’s right. But what I’m wondering is whether the prospect of such a law being abolished would spark an outcry among TV watchers, one big enough to scare off the rulemakers from messing with this law. I can’t tell if Britons’ ad fatigue would make for people furious with yet more ad creep. Or if that ad fatigue already has them so battered into resignation and apathy that they’d be unlikely to protest.

Reader Comments

Don

April 16, 2007 4:10 PM

What is the current state in the US for product placement in television shows aimed at children? After Reagan deregulated TV advertising I didn't follow whether or not there was a real regulation or there was a voluntary broadcaster agreement with a group like Action for Children's Television.

Devon Dudgeon

April 17, 2007 9:11 AM

Ad-funded programming is picking up speed in the UK, so I don't think there would be a massive outcry at product placement. However, the latest report from the Office of Communications (OFCOM)
stated that although there was no clear consensus on product placement, consumer and viewer groups are opposed to the concept.

As of now, imported programs like "American Idol" have large blurry patches where there would otherwise be "Coke" logos. I don't think that enhances the viewing experiece.

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