OFCOM Product Placement

Media  Watchdog, Ofcom,  published rules allowing paid-for references to products and services in programmes in February  2011, allowing product placement  in films, TV series, entertainment shows and sports programmes.

Ofcom said the rules would “enable commercial broadcasters to access new sources of revenue, whilst providing protection for audiences”.

Restrictions apply to news and current affairs, children’s, religious and consumer programmes. Certain products will be banned from product placement e.g. tobacco, alcohol, gambling, foods high in salt and sugar, medicines, baby milk and products not allowed to advertise on broadcast television.

Broadcasters  must label the programmes containing product placement with a logo,  prescribed by Ofcom.  In addition to these provisions, products placed must not be unduly prominent and their inclusion must not undermine the editorial independence of the broadcasters.

Whilst the change was very welcome to all commercial broadcasters a decade ago the rules are no easier to navigate now. We look forward to new guidance from the regulator in 2023 which may help broadcasters and brands interpret the rules more effectively.