Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Do Advertisers Have an Appetite for Product Placement on Television?

Marketing, September 23, 2009 | Go to article overview

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Do Advertisers Have an Appetite for Product Placement on Television?


Marketers have demanded greater clarity after the government announced plans to relax the rules governing how brands are featured within commercial television programmes.

YES - IAN ARMSTRONG, MANAGER, CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS, HONDA

As a young brand manager at Britvic, I was given responsibility for product placement for a portfolio of brands.

We shoe-horned as many soft-drinks brands as we could into everyday civic scenes within television programmes. Given that the industry was in its infancy, as clients we got a good deal, and that happy accord continued.

The proposed relaxation in the rules seems to have created an appetite to jazz things up, but I'm confused as to the reason why.

Product placement is nothing new - you only have to look at any soap or drama produced over the past few decades to see all product categories being used to create realistic scenes.

However, it has also historically helped reduce the cost of production Many programmes would not have the budget to buy a Honda CR-V for just a few seconds' filming, for instance.

Changing the rules will not create incremental budget for product placement. It will have to come from existing advertising money so there will be no additional revenue.

YES - MARC SANDS, MARKETING DIRECTOR, THE GUARDIAN

I am sure they do, but that does not mean that it is either desirable or the right thing to do. I would argue very strongly it is neither.

The risks relating to the integrity of the content far outweigh the financial benefits that could be accrued to the broadcaster. Also, exactly what is the benefit to the viewer? Has anyone watched TV in America recently?

There are many marketing lines in the sand that should not be crossed and this is one of them. The contract between audience and broadcaster is very clear within the current guidelines and it is largely understood by the viewer.

By blurring it in this way, the trust between viewer and broadcaster will be stretched to breaking point. Over time, the rules (and I am sure there will be lots of them) will be challenged and rewritten in favour of advertisers.

Media organisations are having a difficult time at present when it comes to revenue, and are seeking new ways to monetise their content. It would be better for them if they didn't look into the abyss for solutions. The soul of TV is worth a lot more than this.

YES - SIMON WARD, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, INTERBRAND

Product placement can make a contribution to a brand, but context is all. …

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