Since 28th February 2011, product placement on TV programmes made for UK audiences has been allowed on TV. For those not already in the know, product placement, according to Ofcom[1] is ‘when a company pays a TV channel or a programme-maker to include its products or brands in a programme. For example, a fashion company might pay for a presenter to wear its clothes during a programme, or a car manufacturer might pay for a character to mention one of its cars in a scene in a drama’.

‘This Morning’ on ITV was the first programme to show product placement in the UK, ensuring that the logo  was shown in the corner of the screen at the start, end and after each advert break, a rule made by Ofcom.

Knowing that this was about to happen, NEMS conducted its own research prior to the launch via our UK wide omnibus to find out how aware consumers were about UK product placement.

Despite the advertising prior to the launch, from a sample of 1000 consumers, less than four-in-ten were aware of forthcoming product placement and of these, no-one accurately explained product placement; although just over eight-in-ten were almost there; they did not mention that the advertising would have been paid for.

Only 14% were aware that the ban on product placement on British TV was lifted and a further 63% were not aware that there was even a ban.

In terms of product placement impacting on their purchasing decisions, just over a tenth said it would, a similar percentage stated in Warc News[2] as 13% agreed ‘they would be more likely to buy the item in question’. The main reasons for this impact in our research were ‘it’s a good and effective way to advertise’ and ‘usually things are on offer’. Of the 89% who said product placement would not impact on their purchasing decisions, a quarter gave the reason ‘I buy what I like/want’ and nearly a fifth said ‘I am not influenced by advertisements’.

When asked to recall all the TV programmes and/or films that they had noticed advertising specific products, nearly nine-in-ten said they could not recall any, and of those that could, the majority mentioned American TV/films which at the time of this research allowed product placement. Only quarter could recall a product they had seen advertised compared to 71% of respondents who ‘remembered a brand featured in a film or TV programme during the last year’ – stated in Warc News[3].

In summary, our research pre-launch highlighted limited knowledge of product placement on TV and the existing ban at the time of the research. Additionally, recall of brands during TV programmes/films was a minority. Over the coming month, our post study results will be reported on which will compare the two sets of data; I look forward to reporting on some interesting results