11 August 2000

Following a volley of complaints from Norwegian consumer groups, commercial television station TV2 admitted it had been receiving royalties on sales of Pokemon merchandise whilst transmitting Pokemon-themed programmes to children.

Consumer organisations had strongly criticised the station’s policy as “thinly disguised gimmicks to market related products to children”.

Hands aloft in pious innocence, TV2 denied it had intentionally run hidden advertising but agreed to remove offending segments of the programmes – specifically the featuring of a Pokemon cartoon character in the middle of each episode and the programme’s Pokemon-rap sign-off.

Meanwhile, in Sweden, Pokemon is also in trouble for alleged hidden plugs in programmes featuring its characters. The TV regulatory authority is mulling an all-channel ban on Pokemon TV programming following charges that this breaches a Swedish law banning advertising specifically targeted at children. The ruling is expected next month.

News source: Advertising Age - International Daily