Bangladeshi broadcaster, Channel S has come in breach of Ofcom regulations for a sponsorship it aired in December last year.
A viewer alerted Ofcom to the broadcast of a sponsorship credit for ‘Street Show Haat Bazar’ ��� a documentary about food markets in Bangladesh. The sponsorship credit in question was for the food retailer ‘Haat Bazar’ in East London. The credit, which was shown against a moving graphic background containing the words ���SPONSORED BY�, included a number of rapidly changing images of the sponsor�۪s premises. It featured details of the company�۪s website, street address, telephone number displayed on-screen. These details, along with the words ���FREE CUSTOMER PARKING� were then repeated against a background of images of fruit and vegetables.
The Licensee said that prior to being contacted by Ofcom about the material, it became aware that the other retailer had changed its name and as such, it was no longer necessary to identify the sponsor in this way. Consequently, the Licensee removed information regarding the sponsor�۪s address, website, telephone number and free parking facility from the sponsorship credit.
Rule 9.22(a) of the Code reflects this requirement. Among other things, Rule 9.22(a) requires that sponsorship credits broadcast around sponsored programmes must not contain advertising messages or calls to action. The focus of the credit must be the sponsorship arrangement itself and references to the sponsor�۪s products, services or trade marks should be for the sole purpose of helping identify the sponsor and/or the sponsorship arrangement.
Ofcom added that although the frame in which the credit appeared did identify the existence of a sponsorship arrangement, the focus throughout the credit was on the products and services offered by the sponsor at its store. We also considered that the reference to ���FREE CUSTOMER PARKING� was an advertising claim outlining a service offered by the sponsor. Although we welcomed the steps subsequently taken by the Licensee, we concluded that the sponsorship credit was in breach of 9.22(a) of the Code.