The UK Culture secretary Andy Burnham has come out against product placement and revived the debate about this topic. Most of the industry feels that product placement is inevitable and it is (was ) expcted that the EU Television without Frrontiers initiative would open the door to product placement within a clear legal framework.
As we've discussed before this is a tactic that can work well - but not always in the way people think; as this chart shows the main benefit of Coke sponsoring American Idol is that the ads in that show track much higher than in other shows - suggesting that the placment works in a sort of low involvement processing way.
The Guardian has a good article berating shows for including brands and highlighting how obvious it can be when done badly.
Our view is that it can be a very useful tactic if done tactfully.