As terrestrial commercial TV revenue streams continue to struggle in these difficult financial times, the government have agreed in principal to lift the ban on product placement on TV. However this isn’t an even playing field as the ban is still likely to effect productions made for the BBC.
In theory the lifting of the ban could produce a decent level of secondary advertising income for programmes such as Coronation Street or Hollyoaks, however I would question the actual volume revenue unless we get into placements on the scale of those seen in 80s American blockbusters such as Superman. I can picture X-Factor now, Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole drinking from very well branded Coca Cola glasses. The introduction really needs to have some clear parameters. The move is rumoured to be worth c. £100m to the commercial broadcasters, something that would be welcomed in these troubled times. Contrary to some of the critics, I don’t see such a big issue as long as programme writers and producers can keep their editorial integrity in place.
The benefit of this U-turn does provide an improvement to the ambience of the sets in drama series. Rather than some bizarre made-up lager in the Woolpack we will actually see genuine brands, making it more realistic. Why should Eastenders be any different though?
If advertisers can get their products in the right placements and done in a non-intrusive way it could really support their brand. Association with popular programmes or characters could help support their brand credentials. However association with programmes such as reality shows could provide as many issues as benefits. I would imagine that Big Brother would have made a significant amount of money from product placement. Imagine the likes of Craig from the original series drinking a can of Carlsberg. Or this years Big Brother winner Sophie tucking into Cadburys Dairy Milk.