NEWS: ITC hits out at ‘illegal’ product placements

A number of major advertisers, including Coca-Cola, Nokia and Cadbury, have come under fire this week for getting their commercial messages on to TV via outlawed product placement and using sponsorship credits that break current regulations.

A number of major advertisers, including Coca-Cola, Nokia and Cadbury,

have come under fire this week for getting their commercial messages on

to TV via outlawed product placement and using sponsorship credits that

break current regulations.



A new report from the Independent Television Commission has upheld

several complaints against ITV and Channel 4 for allowing the

advertisers ‘undue commercial prominence’.



The ITC upheld a complaint from a viewer about a Central Television

programme, Scratchy and Co, which the ITC felt ‘contained a number of

obvious commercial references’ to Cadbury and Planet Hollywood.



The ITC questioned the number of brand mentions in a short space of time

and whether the programme idea would still have worked without such a

high degree of branding.



Similarly, Channel 4 has been upbraided for giving undue prominence to

Coca-Cola in its schools education show, the Maths Programme, which

claimed its use of cans of Coca-Cola was justified on the grounds that

the series applied mathematics to real-life situations. However, the

channel conceded that additional Coke branding that appeared as a

backdrop to the set was clearly inappropriate.



Channel 4 was also reprimanded for the Nokia sponsorship credits on its

Moviewatch programme. The credits - ‘Nokia: Pioneers of widescreen

television’ - were deemed to be in breach of the ITC sponsorship code

because they included a promotional message. The credits were altered to

replace ‘pioneers’ with ‘makers’.