Art and Entertainment

Jae C. Hong
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin

Product Placement Could Get Even More Obvious

June 30, 2008 06:07 AM
by Cara McDonough
The FCC is considering implementing new rules that would make it clearer to consumers which brand-name products have paid to appear in television shows.

30-Second Summary

That package of Oreos on the counter in an episode of a family drama? The designer handbag in “Sex and the City?”

The FCC thinks this kind of product placement might be too tricky for consumers to figure out. “The point of this whole exercise is to clarify what’s required so that viewers actually know who is trying to sell them on something,” said FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein.

According to USA Today, product placement isn’t new or that controversial, but “it is the practice of insinuating products into actual plot lines, known as embedded advertising or ‘product integration,’ that has raised concern.”

The FCC currently requires that announcements about such placements be made at the time of broadcast, but the disclosures are usually listed at the end of the show, when many viewers miss it.

The Writers Guild of America West has suggested “real time” disclosure at the time the product is mentioned, for instance in text crawl at the bottom of the screen.

The FCC is looking into different options. Meanwhile, marketing experts and viewers say most consumers are smart enough to figure out product placement without the government’s help.

But that doesn’t mean they like it, writes Vince Horiuchi, for the Salt Lake Tribune.

“I’m not sure the government should be mandating what television creators should or should not be putting in shows in terms of product placement, but I know the networks have to cut back and figure out less intrusive ways to make money.”

Headline Link: ‘FCC Opens Inquiry Into Stealthy TV Product Placement’

Opinions & Analysis: Too much product placement overkill for viewers

Related Topics: It’s on the rise; video games, too; ‘Ricky Bobby’; McAvoy says no


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