UK “Paid for” TV Product Placement – A viewing snapshot after 18 months. An NMG Product Placement Commentary

UK “Paid for” TV Product Placement – A viewing snapshot after 18 months

An NMG Product Placement Commentary

On 28th February 2011 Ofcom first permitted paid for product placement in UK commercial TV.

Ofcom’s paid for product placement guidelines can be found at

Relevant to this viewing study Ofcom’s guidelines include:
How can products be placed?
There must be ‘editorial justification’ for a product to be placed in a programme.

That means the product must be relevant to what the programme is about. The content of programmes shouldn’t seem to be created or distorted, just to feature the placed products.

Programmes also can’t promote placed products or give them too much prominence. So there shouldn’t be any claims made about how good a placed product is, or so many references to a product that it feels like it is being promoted.

Pinewood Studios based NMG Product Placement records and analyses brand appearances within TV and film using our Tracker™ system. Tracker™ was first introduced in 1987 and is used by over 80 major UK brands, whose feedback has aided its continuing development.

For this study NMG viewed over 364 hours of broadcast programming containing brands that were the subject of paid for product placement deals.
Results so far
After a slow start sufficient deals now exist to form a snapshot of activity, results and future challenges.

The following table below provides visibility examples of “paid for” deals in recent months. The frequency and quality of brand appearances varies over time, thus the tables describes average exposure.

Our observations suggest that some of the above deals may well be in breach of Ofcom’s Guidelines, whilst others promote the best interests of the viewer and advertiser by offering seamless integration.
Viewers generally react adversely to overt “brand plugging”. Thus the repeated presence of the “deal” brands, a lack of competitive brands, plus the “P” symbol flagging up that “deal” brands appear as a result of a commercial arrangement that does not directly benefit the viewer, could generate negative consumer reaction, even brand boycotting.
NMG’s recommends that brands maximise their product placement campaigns by utilising a variety of product placement techniques:

“paid for” on commercial TV,
free prop supply in BBC and commercial TV,
paid for and free prop supply in film with promotional tie in exploitation,
post production digital insertion,
web dramas, commercials, music videos, etc
With a properly managed product placement campaign consumers will receive a wider variety of product placement visibilities varying from subtle to overt, through a wider range of viewing platforms generating a much stronger and more persuasive overall impact
NMG’s tracking and evaluation system, Tracker™, can be used to measure relative ROI’s and professionally develop brand product placement campaigns using the same disciplines used in other advertising channels.
Chloe Thompson and NMG Team
3 October 2012

NMG Product Placement is based at Pinewood Studios and founded the UK product placement industry in 1984. NMG commenced measuring product placement in 1987.
NMG Product Placement is retained by over 85 major brands.
Tracker™ 2011 records and evaluates over 20,693 brand appearances each year from over 2190 hours viewing across 21 TV channels. Each brand appearance is measured to the nearest second and categorised into 5 levels of saliency. Brands are further segregated into over 300 product categories.
For comment or interview please contact:
John Barnard, FCA, Chairman, NMG Product Placement: john.barnard@newmediagroup
Sarah Curran, Business Development Director on or 01753 655866

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