The first product placement to be featured on commercial British TV was aired today. The subtle toe in the water effort from Nescafé featured a rather expensively placed Dolce Gusto coffee machine on the counter top of ITV’s ‘This Morning’s on-set kitchen- reportedly costing £100,000 for three months worth of exposure (can you spot it above?).
This initial foray into product placement was, for me at least, a disappointing anti-climax.
In 2010, I wrote my final year undergraduate dissertation on ‘the future of product placement on British television’ (you should be able to read an abridged version here, or if you’re really keen, download it here). I couldn’t wait to see how brands, products, marketers and tv executives would deal with introducing this medium to such a skeptical, savvy audience (the Brits).
I wanted to see something clever. Something subtle and not incongruous, something that didn’t challenge the integrity of the programming, but ultimately was creative and exciting.
And now that it’s finally happened… I got Philip Schofield and a barely visable coffee machine. Still, early days… Early days.
The other product placement announcement to arrive this week was the introduction of this ‘P’ icon, to be displayed for three seconds at the start and end of each show containing paid for placements. While my study concluded a generally negative attitude towards warnings of this kind, the duration and design of the icon are not particularly offensive to me… In fact, I really like the simplicity of the logo.
As pointed out in the previously linked telegraph article, ITV is bursting with shows that present blank canvasses for product placement and I’m intrigued to see who will be the next player to enter the arena after Nescafé. Hopefully, they’ll be more creative with it than sticking a coffee machine on a shelf.
Or am I missing the point?
Further reading via The Telegraph.