Missing out on power of product placement

Suki Thompson, in her article “How content has become the key to advertisers’ happiness” (MW May 19), complains about all types of agencies bombarding her with ideas on “branded content”. Advertising, media and PR agencies, film and record companies are mentioned, as well as content publishers and digital specialists.

Has Suki missed Jonathan Harwood’s excellent article on product placement on TV providing commercial salvation (MW March 17 2005)? Sponsorship was put forward as an effective way to reach customers in a Marketing Week Factfile (March 24). Amanda Wilkinson’s article (TV Conference 2005, MW May 12) mentioned that advertiser-funded programming had been used by Adidas to target hard-to-reach teenage boys, yet product placement, sponsorship and advertiser-funded programming were surprisingly missing from her comments.

When addressing the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) conference in March, Ofcom chief executive Stephen Carter gave his backing to changes in the regulations on product placement (MW March 10). Following a meeting with Ofcom we have produced a Position Paper on the commercialisation of product placement.

Product placement provides a sensible route forward for advertisers and we are in discussion with a number of media agencies that want to offer the service to their clients. However, we clearly need to use the publicity product placement has received to inform those media and marketing communications agencies that are still unaware of its power, effectiveness and accountability.

David Ellison

Client services director

The New Media Group



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