Academic journal article Global Media Journal

In Search of an Egyptian Product Placement Regulation

Academic journal article Global Media Journal

In Search of an Egyptian Product Placement Regulation

Article excerpt


Product placement is simply defined as the subtle presentation of a specific brand in mass media programs on television or in films [1]. The practice dates back to more than a hundred years [2], but the concept came into the limelight in the 1980s following Spielberg's blockbuster film E.T., which was released in 1982. Gupta and Gould [3] implied that Hershey's experienced a 66 per cent increase in sales of their Reese's candy as a result of product placement in the film. Since then scholars started paying close attention to media content to spot instances of product placements.

Recently, the challenges faced by marketers with regards to spot advertising have led to growing reliance on product placement as a more feasible alternative. Newell, Salmon, and Chang [2] point out that "the business of product placement has been an integral and active portion of mass media for more than a century" as producers attempt to cut costs by obtaining free props and create an additional source of revenue in cases of paid product placements.

In Egypt, however, spot advertising is still a growing business and while product placement use is acknowledged as a source of revenue for filmmakers and marketers, currently there are no broadcast policies that address or attempt to regulate this practice on Egyptian television.

This study provides a review of current international product placement practices by examining four different, broad regulatory approaches and assessing the advantages and drawbacks of each. Then a recitation of particular aspects of existing product placement policies is done to see which practices are well suited for Egypt.

Purpose of the Study

This study explores different broadcast systems and their divergent regulations with regards to promotional messages. This is to help propose a realistic, comprehensive Egyptian product placement policy through comparing and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the models in other countries

Literature Review

As traditional advertising evolves and faces new limitations across different countries, product placement becomes more significant [4]. The value of product placement as a source of funding can be better appreciated when examining the declining income yielded by spot advertisements.

When spot advertisements generate less income, broadcasters and filmmakers have less money to fund film and television production. They thus turn to product placement and other innovative and non-traditional forms of marketing.

Researchers such as Balasubramanian, Gupta and Lord, Gupta et al., Wenner, Lehu, and Williams et al. [4-9] note that when compared to spot advertising, product placement cannot be avoided as the brands appear as components of film or television scenes.

However, with its advantages, many countries have decided that regulation was pivotal for product placement or else the practice can yield negative effects. In Egypt, though product placement has been growing rapidly, until now there is no valid regulation pertaining to it. The following section explores current Egyptian regulations that relate to mass media in general and advertising in specific.

Advertising-related Regulation in Egypt

Several documents relate to Egyptian television advertising regulation: rules for state channels, rules for satellite channels, consumer protection laws and the newly signed Unified Media Law. Here is a quick review to offer a proper context for this study.

Advertising on state channels

The Egyptian Radio and Television Union's (ERTU's) general advertising policies apply to Egyptian state channels only. Here there is an extensive list of rules governing advertisement.. By reviewing those rules, two major themes of relevance were found: censorship of commercials based on political, moral, and religious content; and censorship for the protection of consumer rights.

There is a clear warning that advertisements are not to contain religious, political, or immoral content. …

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