Products slipped into TV shows face scrutiny

The Federal Communications Commission seems poised to tighten the rules regarding products that are scripted into television shows as a guerrilla form of advertising. United Press International reports that advertisers put 26,000 “product placement” messages into the top 10 television shows in 2007. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin started talking about the need to revisit the rules last year. The agency can simply open an inquiry and let it go at that or start a process geared toward a rule change. Its current action gives the commission to do both.

Product placements must be identified at the end of a show. Critics want better IDs. Product placements are not allowed in television shows aired on children’s channels. Critics want the rules extended to ban product placements on shows likely to appeal to children. The FCC notice mentions both issues.

Here is a prior blog entry on product placement.