Ofcom censures Jamie Oliver

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has landed in hot water with media regulator Ofcom over promoting his branded kitchen utensil during Channel 4 show Jamie at Home.

Viewers complained that Oliver made references to, and used, a kitchen utensil trademarked as the Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker during a programme broadcast in September. Ofcom noted further references and use of the Flavour Shaker in an October broadcast.

It broke broadcast codes requiring broadcasters to maintain the independence of editorial control over programme content and giving a product or service “undue prominence”.

Channel 4 acknowledged that the episodes included unduly prominent verbal references to the Flavour Shaker, but argued that the actual use was editorially justified and suggested that it was” unrealistic” to expect that new kitchen devices could not be used.

Ofcom notes that there was no specific call to purchase the device but says there was “insufficient editorial justification” for the way that the product was both visually presented and verbally referred to.

Living, the Virgin Media Television channel, has also been rapped by the regulator for its Britain’s Next Top Model series sponsored by Vauxhall Tigra. In one episode contestants were involved in a photo shoot with the car.

Ofcom says that although there is no “absolute prohibition” on references to the sponsor in the programme it is sponsoring provided they are not promotional, the Tigra was featured as a result of a “deliberate, scripted and advance decision” by the programme maker and was in breach of the broadcast code.

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