Product placement will be allowed on UK TV from 28th February 2011, OFCOM has confirmed.
Well, whilst this is hardly a surprise to all in the industry, it certainly does raise some interesting questions.
Firstly, will it make commercial TV unwatchable? First guesses are that the product placement advertising will be just about acceptable – OFCOM restrictions require the products to have relevance and context to the programme. This is likely to remove the most jarring and obtrusive product placements, however, those familiar with US TV may fear the worst. To see quite how not to do product placement, check out Mac & Me, an ET rip-off involving an alien that needs Coca-Cola to survive and seeks refuge in McDonalds.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdvO0tmNjGo
Secondly, and possibly more importantly for marketers, will product placement generate new ad revenue or simply cannibalise other channels? Well, on this one, the jury’s out. Whilst it is unlikely to affect PPC budgets, it is highly likely that TV ad budgets may simply be moved to product placement – ie. not generating additional revenue but potentially annoying customers. Product placement currently generates 5% US ad revenue – I am highly sceptical that the UK will see anyway near such take-up...
- Tom Lakin