Product placement got lots of coverage in the press this weekend.The Sunday Times told their readers what we all knew - that spending with the right middleman can get your product just about anywhere on the BBC (and the rest of UK TV as well). Suitably outraged, the BBC have announced an enquiry!
Peter Bazalgette the head of Big Brother production company Endemol wrote just a few days ago that product placement is the only way to save TV - pointing out that PVRs will erode the traditional ad spend. And John Pluthero, the former boss of Freeserve stirred up the RTS conference this week;
TV is under threat like never before, as viewer behaviour changes, he said. 'Accept it, [remould] your business to suit, or die on your arse
Citing the impact of technology, Pluthoro suggests TV companies should embrace product placement and work with advertisers to create content.
As we've noted before product placement isn't new and it isn't that clever. But we have seen some interesting new evidence that shows just how well it can work - take a look at this chart looking at the Coke involvement in American Idol - from a presentation at MIP by Simon Spalding of Fremantle. Coke recognition was significantly higher within the show - where Coke had extensive product placement - than in other shows.
Given this sort of evidence - and the threat of PVRs we expect product placement to continue to grow. But with guidance from OFCOM due - and with calls for clearer labeling growing - we expect it to work on a rather more strategic level than the examples the Sunday Times discovered.