New rules for product placement; cars, tech and FMCG to benefit?

It seems to me that the motoring industry, along with FMCG’s and the Technology sector are perfectly placed to take advantage of the new Ofcom rules that allow products into films (inc. dramas and documentaries), soap-operas and sports programmes.

Why? Because they seem to be the categories of advertiser that fit into the following:

1.       Can be easily integrated into a wide range of programmes without harming editorial integrity

2.       They are the brands that already invest heavily in sponsorship in order to get TV exposure & positive brand connotation

3.       Most importantly, they are not excluded by the Ofcom rules

The Ofcom rules on who can place products in programming are pretty strict, and they make sense in the main, as they restrict alcohol, tobacco, food & drink high in fat or salt, medicines and baby milk. Baby milk? Anyway …

That means that brands such as Coca-Cola, Redbull, Burger King, Johnnie Walker, and Martini who currently invest heavily in F1 because of the TV exposure that garners couldn’t place products into shows. Some advertising professionals are surely going to question this logic though, as it  would allow Redbull, for example, to brand itself on a sports car, but be banned from allowing that driver to actually drink it.

Look at Football. Brands who seek to get maximum TV exposure and a positive brand connotation from their involvement in football include McDonalds, Carlsberg, and Mars; all banned from using product placement under Ofcom’s rules.

Cars are an exciting prospect in my eyes. There are already some good examples of cars being placed into shows, through advertiser-funded programming on TV and online. Toyota created Car Pool, a TV show on Dave that sees Robert Llewellyn interview different comedians in the Toyota Prius each week.

The 1960’s show, The Saint heavily incorporated the Jaguar XJS; The Sweeney, Starsky & Hutch; Dukes of Hazzard, The A Team and The Professionals all had a motor vehicle at their core, whether they were placed their by the brands or not. I think I’ll save Batman, Street Hawk and Airwolf for another post 😉

In the future I can see Stephen Fry’s guide to the British Isles, which sees the entertaining, quintessentially English comedian tearing up hill and down dale in a Land Rover or a Jack Bauer type in the New Audi Quattro while answering his Sony Ericsson Xperia a hundred times an episode.

I can see a loaf of Hovis Granary bread on the breakfast table of every resident in Emerdale or the cool dudes of Hollyoaks spraying Lynx deodorant all-over like there’s no tomorrow.

While I understand why alcohol brands are banned, I must admit I am still slightly disappointed. Eastenders, Coronation Street and Emerdale are all set around a local pub. It would add to the story no end, in my opinion, if the patrons of the Queen Vic, Rovers Return and Woolpack were allowed to ask for something other than just a pint. It seems that the nation can sit down every night to watch their favourite soap stars drink, but as long as it is a non-specific drink.

You can see the Ofcom press release about the new rules here:

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