Sunday, 13 September 2009

A Message From Our Sponsors

Abnormal programming will resume shortly.

Product placement is to be allowed on British TV shows, in a move due to be announced next week.

Independent broadcasters will be allowed to take payments for displaying commercial products during shows.

Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw is expected to announce a three-month consultation on the changes in a speech to the Royal Television Society next week.

Call me a cynic, but the scope for advertising on commercial TV is already a very simple matter. Should you wish to advertise on TV, you pay for the advert and run it. In fact, it would seem that it has never been easier and/or, if the laws of supply and demand still function, more inexpensive in real terms.

It is believed that ministers want to help struggling broadcasters such as ITV, which have been hit hard by the recession.

Not hard to see why. When a business is struggling, advertising budgets are cut, leading to a shortfall in demand on advertising space. TV companies can only respond by lowering charges to attract interest or their ad breaks will be lightly populated. Either way they lose revenue.

The change is intended to bring in extra funds for commercial broadcasters. Experts believe it could raise up to £100m a year.

If conventional advertising is struggling, how is product placement going to help? What can it offer which isn't readily, and relatively cheaply, available already?

No doubt the TV companies are hoping that the scope for placing their message within the programme itself, rather than during breaks which can be ignored or whizzed through with gadgets like Sky+, is something that advert placers would find very attractive. Imagine it. Instead of avoiding that product, ad, or message that you really can't stand, you'd have to watch it or miss part of your fave telly show.

So what bearing could this have on our future programming? What messages would we be likely to see?

To give us a clue let's, just by way of example, take the case of the country's biggest advertiser.

Government becomes UK's biggest advertiser

LONDON - The Central Office of Information (COI) has become the UK's biggest advertiser, spending £211m for its financial year 2008/09, an increase of 35%.

Over the same period Procter & Gamble spent £176.2m, according to The Nielsen Company. The COI, which serves government departments and public sector bodies, also revealed it has spent £540m on marketing and communications, up 43% on the previous year. Spend on digital marketing also rose 84% to £40m.

So, expect Rovers Return bar staff to dole out recommended daily alcohol unit limits along with the banter when Kevin and Sally pop in for a pint and a hotpot; The Sugdens waxing lyrical about wind turbines on the Yorkshire dales; PC Stamp declaring that he is ditching bacon sarnies in favour of a healthy, fat and salt-free aubergine soup; and Nicorette gum-laden smoking cessation officers being welcomed as heroic spiritual savours by the cast of Shameless.

Don't worry, you won't even notice it.


JuliaM said...

"Instead of avoiding that product, ad, or message that you really can't stand, you'd have to watch it or miss part of your fave telly show."

Just so long as that ghastly child who 'wants to do a poo at Paul's' doesn't crop up in the cast list of any of my favorites...

BTS said...

One cannot help but wonder how many mainstream television characters will be stating their voting intentions for the next election - 'I'll certainly be voting for Gordon Brown as I've heard he has a huge cock..'

All he'll have to do is slip them a few quid to omit the word 'not' and switch 'has' for the more commonly uttered 'is'..

BTS said...

Dick, you should find out how much it would cost to get a plug for your blog..

Anonymous said...

American shows such as 24 demonstrate that product placement works, and well.

To say nothing of the recent James Bond films, which have been totally mobilised by Ford cars (Aston, Jag etc, prior to the break-up of PAG).

It's a far more acceptable form of advertising in my mind that the constant interruptions of ever-more cheesy and piss-boiling ad breaks.

Not that I care, because I get everything I want on DVD or torrent.

TheBigYin said...

I saw this on the British Bullshit Corps this morning and thought "Oh oh, another law been sneeked under the wire of the weekend, when most people are off for a break from the usuall shite on TV as during the working week they have no option, they have to sit and relax wondering, "what's on TV tonight?" Only to be met by a barrage of bilge telling you to empty your brow beaten wallet of it's cash..sorry, card of many denominations (Alah be praised, we have a card!).

I never thought of the relaxing of an anti advertising law could be used by unscrupulous advertisers, let alone this, or any government...until DP brought it to the forefront of my mind.

So with the relaxing of this 'law' in mind can I now conclude that I will see Steve and Becky (from Corrie) stood outside, in the most friendly of smoking shelters outside a pub I've ever seen saying, " Steve to Becky: You lying, conniving bitch, as he waves his twenty pack of Bensons in his right hand while puffing on his prefered choice. Becky to Steve: No, no, don't listen to the lies that are being told about she waves a packed of John Players Specials while she remonstrates with her husband. The mother walks outside into the freezing cold winters night, with hardly a stitch on saying: Steve, Becky, you are showing me up in 't' pub with your loud ramblings about your sex life, whilst she waves her packed of Gauloises at the both of them...Na, it will never happen...over to the government, it's their ball game, if you wish to play it!

Now what am I going to do with the mute button when the ads come on?

I think I'm fucked, whichever way you look at it, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Does this then pave the way for guv'ment advertising/public information/propoganda (given they are now the biggest advertiser and continually desperate to spend more of our money) throughout x-factor, ...and.... erm. I'm actually having trouble thinking of something else, off the top of my head, that's on a commercial tv channel. It's all so memorable... not. Beeb won't be so bad, it's all repeats anyway.

Anonymous said...

I know, I know: propaganda

Junican said...

Product Placement - right. So, once this idea becomes law, who is going to decide what products are LEGALLY permissable? Need for a QUANGO to to draw up a list of permissibles and to adminster said list. Another vast cost on the tax payer.