Today’s edition of the Wall Street Journal includes an article reporting that product placements are going to get FCC scrutiny. It’s one each of us in the marketing business should read and a developing story we should follow, because it could have a big impact on both paid and unpaid product placements going forward.
With more consumers using digital recorders to fast forward their way through TV spots, product placements are on a significant rise to reach them within programming. The WSJ article reports that Nielson Co. found product placements are up 40 percent in the first quarter alone on broadcast TV shows and that spending on paid product placements is up 33.7 percent from a year ago.
The FCC is expected to start a formal look at new requirements for product placement disclosure. New rules could completely change the product placement game for advertisers and PR folks, depending on the outcome of the FCC’s rule review. One of the biggest recommendations for the tool is to think of it as product integration. The product should show up contextually, relevantly and become part of the story. Anything too promotional becomes a distraction to viewers and typically turns them off. So imagine what may happen the next time you’re watching “The Office.” Those prominently placed HP computer monitors may require a flashing bubble across the bottom to make sure you know that HP provided them.
This is also big news for those on the TV side of the fence. I’ve received calls from several producers who work on reality shows asking if a client would like to provide free products in return for recognition in the credits. It’s one way they look to cut back on expenses and fall under their budgets.
What do you think about product placements? Do you think the FCC is going too far or do you think it needs to reign in the dramatic growth of what some are calling “stealth advertising?”
*Image from msnbc.msn.com
(Cross-posted from relentlessPR, another blog I write for often. Thanks to my friend Maria Lachapelle for sharing the WSJ article with me!)