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As the latest Bond movie hits our screens, ISBA, in association with NMG Product Placement, has produced timely Guidance, which explains the difference between Product Placement and Prop Placement.
Product Placement has been allowed in UK produced programmes and films for decades. Under the title “free prop supply” the BBC Producer Guidelines and Ofcom Guidelines permit products to be supplied for inclusion in productions provided no money changes hands and editorial integrity is maintained.
ISBA and its members were heavily involved in the consultations which resulted, in February 2011, in an additional set of Ofcom rules being added. These rules allow advertisers to pay producers of commercial television programmes for product inclusion subject to certain checks and controls. No change was made to the “free prop supply” rules.
Bob Wootton Director of Media and Advertising at ISBA said:
“We hope that the Guidance explains the difference between Prop and Product Placement, both of which offer advertisers the opportunity to place their brands in front of extensive, engaged audiences. Prop Placement tends to offer consistent, background exposure, whereas Product Placement can produce prominent, ‘five star’ positioning.”
As well as detailing the opportunities available, the Guidance explains the restrictions surrounding Prop and Product Placement.”
Notes to Editors:
Ofcom Product Placement Guidelines.
Ofcom’s Guidelines, which do not allow paid for product placement on the BBC, can be found here:
Ofcom renamed “Free Prop Supply” “Prop Placement” and defines paid for product placement as “Product Placement”. The rules cover all commercial television programmes and a full list of these can be found at:
The BBC’s Guidelines on product placement can be found at:
Product Placement is also covered in the ASA’s new vlogging advertising guidance.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PROP PLACEMENT AND PRODUCT PLACEMENT
What restrictions exist regarding brands that can be placed?
None – except tobacco.
Many restrictions in place: alcohol, any food deemed HFSS, medicines, baby milk, tobacco, gambling are all banned from ‘paid for placement’.
Where can products be shown?
Anywhere including the BBC which accounts for 30% of the UK’s output.
Not allowed on the BBC, additionally in children’s, news, current affairs, consumer affairs and religious programmes on commercial channels.
Signalling to viewer
None required, thus integrations are seamless /natural and avoid negative viewer reactions to “plugs”.
All ‘paid for’ placements must be flagged at the beginning, end and after every commercial break by the “P” sign which can negate the value of the placement and irritate viewers.
What restrictions exist regarding content?
The creative decisions are made independently by the production team.
Appearances are strictly limited by Ofcom regulations – e.g. editorial justification is required and the placement cannot promote the buying of the product. Recent paid for placements, such as the Corinthia Hotel in X-Factor breached Ofcom rules and received extensive negative press.
Set annual figure depending on client’s requirements and the number of brands within portfolio.
Pricing can be ‘opportunistic’
What does this buy?
Access to all British Television, including the BBC all commercial channels AND film. Advice/analysis on ‘paid for’ deals.
Access to one production/series e.g. six episodes, option to develop off screen promotional activities linked to placement (at additional cost).
Is placement guaranteed?
No, however free prop supply with fmcg products normally, delivers an excellent payback / ROI. This method produces the ability to own the medium whilst spreading risk and promoting ubiquity.
Yes – but the exact amount and quality is at the discretion of the production company
Can a brand dominate the medium?
Yes, ‘free prop’ offers the potential, uniquely in marketing to ‘own’ the medium.
No – ‘undue prominence’ is limited by Ofcom regulations, equally a brand may invest in a ‘paid for’ placement only to find they are usurped at a later stage by a competitor with deeper pockets.
Whereas “James Bond” is a well known example, the UK’s favourable tax regime for film production means that many major international films are shot here.
ISBA - The Voice of British Advertisers
T: 020 7291 9020
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About ISBA – the Voice of British Advertisers
ISBA (www.isba.org.uk / @isbasays) is the only body focused solely on the interests of advertisers in the UK. With over 450 advertisers in membership representing in excess of £10bn spend on marketing communications, ISBA protects its members’ freedom to advertise responsibly and maximise their effectiveness in deploying their marketing spend.
ISBA is the advertiser member of the UK Advertising Association, and advertisers representative on CAP and BCAP the UK advertising code owning body. We are also active members of the International Chamber of Commerce Advertising and Marketing Commission, and members of the WFA based in Brussels.
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