Publicly-funded UK broadcaster, the BBC, has completed an internal investigation into alleged breaches of its product placement regulations.
The reports surfaced last month in a Sunday newspaper, claiming that advertisers were paying independent production companies for products to be displayed prominently during popular BBC programmes [WAMN: 28-Sept-05].
The BBC says its probe has cleared the programme-makers concerned and insists that they "acted with integrity" when offered cash by undercover journalists. However, the investigation found that some product prominence [presumably unpaid] was not editorially justified.
Says the BBC: "Whilst inclusion of the products was justified, the way that they were shot went beyond the minimum visibility recommended in the BBC's guidelines."
As a result the corporation says it will issue further guidance on product placement, and will "heighten the awareness of programme makers in this area in the light of this investigation".
Product placement is heavily restricted throughout much of Europe, in contrast to the USA where brands often enjoy prominent paid siting in programming. The European Union and UK media regulator Ofcom are currently reassessing their regulations.
Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff