Advertisers angry with Government “blacklist” for product placement

Advertisers have slammed the Government’s decision to allow paid-for product placement in television programmes, saying it has “further muddied the waters around the controversial practice.”

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The Government said this week that it is to legislate for product placement on TV in a way that will provide meaningful benefits to commercial television.

However, alcohol brands and food and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar will not be allowed, along with gambling, smoking accessories, over-the-counter medicines and infant formula.

Industry body ISBA says it has serious concerns about the “blacklist” of products.

It adds the current system of self-regulation was perfectly adequate and the list of excluded products “seems to reflect the prejudices of ministers rather than a coherent policy”.

ISBA media and advertising director Bob Wootton says: “ISBA does not see the need for the Government to have further gold-plated the existing system by bolting on this blacklist of banned categories of advertising to the protections the EU has already given to sensitive content like children’s programmes.”

A spokesperson for ITV adds: “While we do not necessarily agree with the restrictions placed on certain categories, it will deliver additional revenue for investment in original content in the UK.”

Michael Cluff, partner in Essential Television Statistics, a research company that tracks programming data, says: “Advertisers in the excluded sectors may be anxious that their sponsorship and spot advertising may come under scrutiny.”

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