Channel 4 slammed by ITC for product placement gaffe

Production staff on Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks have been warned to avoid giving further “undue prominence” to brands, after an Independent Television Commission ruling that the Caffrey’s beer brand has been excessively exposed on the show.

The public rebuke is the second time in three months that the ITC has found a broadcaster guilty of excessive exposure of a beer brand during drama programming. The watchdog upheld a complaint against ITV over the undue prominence of a can of Boddington’s beer during an episode of Kavanagh QC in its August monthly report.

The ITC’s latest intervention follows an August edition of Hollyoaks, which for nearly 40 seconds prominently featured a Caffrey’s beer pump “which had the appearance of being spot-lit,” according to the ITC.

C4 insists that the prominence of the pump had been queried during its own internal previews of the episode, and that the sequence had been judged to be acceptable. But the ITC upheld a complaint that the inclusion of the Caffrey’s pump breached its “undue prominence” rules. The ITC has previously rebuked Hollyoaks production company Mersey Television for similar breaches of its rules on undue prominence for brands featured in C4’s flagship soap Brookside.

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