Is it either sell out or sell up for the UK TV industry?

A MARKETING academic at Coventry University says that lifting the ban on TV product placement could provide the boost in revenues ITV needs, but wondered how the public will react to seeing Simon Cowell quenching his thirst with a promotional glass of Coca Cola or characters in Coronation Street satisfying their hunger by ordering a Dominoes Pizza.

Julia Tyrrell, a Senior Lecturer in Marketing from the Coventry University Business School said :

“Although lifting the ban could boost revenue to an organisation like ITV by between £25m to £100m a responsible approach is needed from advertisers when developing their marketing activities.

On the 9th of February the government announced that independent commercial broadcasters for displaying commercial products during programmes and experts have indicated that product placement could raise an extra £100 million a year for commercial TV in the UK,  Julia Tyrrell indicated that regulation would be needed to protect the consumer from a bombardment of adverts every time they watch their favourite shows:

“There will be certain restrictions on what products can be advertised and on which programmes but I am concerned that consumer frustration with ‘no escape’ from the world of advertising may result in reduced ratings of popular television programmes.”

There will also be no placement on the news, current affairs shows or religious programming. Despite restrictions the plans have been criticized by advertising body ISBA, the Church of England and the British Medical Association who have all cast doubts about the ‘blacklist’ and the how ethical the plans are as a whole.

The ‘blacklist‘ of items banned from product placement includes alcohol, tobacco, gambling depictions, over the counter medicines, baby milk and foods with a high fat or salt content.

Julia Tyrrell said: “The modern market place has produced new, empowered consumers who are more aware of marketing techniques used by organisations and so product placement should be applied with care.

“Television companies should be aware of potential consumer cynicism that can be a result of programmes being perceived just as another way to advertise, as portrayed in ‘The Truman Show’ film.”

As well as boosting the revenue of commercial broadcasters, lifting the ban will bring the UK in to line with other european countries. Coventry University is to host an international marketing conference this year, which will be discussing this and many other issues in the world of marketing and advertising.

The Academy of Marketing Annual Conference 2010 is bringing marketing experts from all over the world for two days of seminars on the 5th and 6th of July, discussions and debates with some internationally respected speakers.

Eva Kipnis, a lecturer in marketing at Coventry University who is also the conference co-ordinator, expects the lifting of the ban on product placement in the UK to be on the list of workshop discussions throughout the conference. Eva said:

“Every other EU member state, with the exception of Denmark, has either allowed television product placement or has expressed a desire to do so and in the United States it is already commonplace in films and television programmes.

“I expect the conference marketing delegates will look at the UK’s decision to lift the ban with interest especially if the products film and programme makers choose to endorse encourage responsible behaviour or have significant benefits to social well-being.”

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