UK advertisers sceptical on TV product placement

06 January 2010

LONDON: The adoption of paid-for product placement on television in the UK could have a variety of negative consequences, ISBA, the advertising industry body, has warned.

Ofcom, the communications watchdog, has estimated that broadcasters stand to gain between £25 million ($40.1m; €27.8m) and £35m of revenue a year if product placement is introduced.

The matter is currently the subject of a consultation by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and a number of health-related groups, including the British Medical Association, have already signalled their opposition to the idea.

ISBA has now suggested that it could lead to an increase in viewer complaints, and a higher cost burden for advertisers.

Bob Wootton, the group's media and advertising director, said that including branded items in shows in exchange for payments could thus result in a "double disadvantage".

He added that the prop placement model currently in use, through which brands featured in TV programmes are sourced without payments being made to broadcasters, should be retained.

"Advertisers are concerned that the existing low-cost system of prop placement will be closed off and that broadcasters will drive them into more expensive paid-for product placement," said Wootton.

"Advertisers paying more to place their products might then naturally expect to see them placed more prominently and it is this increased visibility that may well increase complaints from viewers."

Data sourced from Brand Republic; additional content by Warc staff