Product placement television awareness campaign launches

ITV is to show its first ad spot informing viewers about the new regulations on television product placement, set in place by media regulator Ofcom, which comes into force on Monday (28 February).

The spot created by ITV Creative and animation studio Blue Zoo airs from tomorrow (Friday) across three of the UK’s largest television networks, ITV, Channel 4 and BSkyB, in a consumer awareness drive.

It forms part of an on-going campaign to highlight the change in broadcasting rules.

The spot is the work of creative directors Grant Hawksworth and Laurie Smith and producer Angela Lyttle and features a series of images that could be included on the channels such as a pair of sunglasses, a watch and a mobile phone.

Earlier this month, Ofcom outlined guidelines that had to be adhered to by advertisers when promoting products during television programming.

A product placement logo, must appear for three seconds at the start and end of programmes, and after any ad breaks; be placed in one of the four corners of the screen; not conflict with programme idents, and meet minimum size requirements, which according to an Ofcom spokesman means it will be "roughly equivalent to the size of a channel logo".

Product placement can only exist on commercial television networks in the UK, with public service broadcaster the BBC exempt from the practice under Ofcom rules.

Broadcasters will be able to slightly adapt the logo to either dark or light backgrounds.

Brands that are expected to be early adopters of product placement include video games company Electronic Arts, which is reported to be "seriously looking into" the possibility.

Daily ITV show ‘This Morning’ is also said to be a frontrunner to feature the practice.

The show has already signalled that it is to release ‘This Morning’-branded goods. It is to launch a series of branded homeware products including pans from Prestige, duvets, bed linen and cushions, which are understood to be licensed through Manchester-based textiles firm Turner Bianca.

All three commercial broadcasters have visited media agencies and advertisers to present the benefits of product placement.

ITV is understood to have presented the comedy series ‘Benidorm’, as an example of programming ripe for product placement, while Sky presented a mock up of ‘Pineapple Dance Studios’ as an example of how brands would look within programming.

Channel 4 has already said it is actively looking for product placement business through teen soap ‘Hollyoaks’.