The Independent Television Commission is investigating toy manufacturer Hasbro’s involvement in the new television series about macho hero Action Man (MW March 29), starting on April 7.
Hasbro, which manufactures Action Man, has sold the licensing rights to television show producer DIC Entertainment, and is using the real life character from the show to publicise the toy’s 30th birthday this year.
An ITC spokeswoman said the commission will be looking into the show, which screens on BSkyB, to see whether it complies with its code of programme sponsorship.
ITC’s probe into the new show (which has already screened in the US) is based on its regulations dealing with advertiser-supplied programmes.
One source involved in early discussions over the show’s conception says that the ITC could rule that simply using the title “Action Man” may be breaking the ITC code.
The code states: “…except with prior approval of the Commission, no programme wholly or substantially funded, co-produced or provided to a licensee by an advertiser, an advertiser’s agent or company… closely associated to an advertiser shall include within it any promotional reference to the advertiser or to the advertiser’s product or service.”
Gladiator Mark Griffin was chosen last year for the Action Man title role in the show, which is part animation, part computer graphics and part live action.
Hasbro says Griffin has since been used for publicity promoting the Action Man toy, and adds that advertising for the brand may soon mention the television series.