Advertising body against product placement

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The trade body that represents the UK’s biggest brands and hundreds of millions in ad spending has shocked the industry by going against product placement on British television.

In September, it was reported that Ofcom is likely to allow commercial channels the ability to make further money via product placements (obvious advertising through programmes).

However, today, ISBA admitted that its view on the issue was “somewhat uncharacteristic” but said that the government’s plans will lead to the “double disadvantage of higher costs for advertisers and more complaints from the viewing public”.

It has argued that the existing system of sourcing props for TV shows, which comes at a low cost to advertisers, has “evolved relatively inconspicuously over the years” and has served the industry well.

The introduction of paid-for placement, which Ofcom has estimated could be worth up to �35m within five years of being introduced, would drive up costs for advertisers because they would have to pay for a service previously free and could see a rise in complaints, ISBA argued.

At the moment paid direct product placement is illegal on British television but advertisers make their products available to props companies used by drama producers.

During a 2006 consultation by the media regulator Ofcom, ISBA recommended that product placement be allowed.

Ofcom will confirm whether it will allow product placement or not on UK television in the coming weeks.

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