April 30, 2024 17:33

“Product Placement Violations in UK and Lithuania have been Reduced to the Minimum” – Ofcom and TRCL Representatives

Within the framework of the conference “TV Advertising Market Challenges – Product Placement,” the Communications Commission organised a panel discussion involving Principal of the Broadcasting and Online Content Group at Ofcom, Suzanne Wright, and Head of Legal Division at the Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania (RTCL), Vadim Gasperskij. During the discussion, participants assessed the situation in their respective countries with regards to product placement, and stated that due to the strict approach of the regulators, violations of product placement rules have been minimised. They also pointed out that broadcasters have a duty to protect the interests of the viewers, rather than the clients. 

According to Suzanne Wright, there have been fewer product placement violations in the UK in recent years, as the regulator's approach to product placement has become stricter. The television industry actively protects broadcasting standards, and as a result, the number of violations is minimal. “It is normal for a customer to try to attract the attention of the audience, but the broadcaster has a duty to ensure that viewers are clear about what they are watching and what is being sold to them.” 

During the discussion, Vadim Gasperskij focussed on Lithuania’s experience and noted that violations of product placement rules have also been minimised in his country. “Our legislation prohibits direct advertising of goods and services. Product placement must not influence programme content. It is forbidden to incentivise the purchase of a product or afford undue preference to a product. The audience must be informed about the fact that they are viewing an advert.” 

Vadim Gasperskij also recalled that in 2019-2021, the Lithuanian regulator received frequent complaints about product placement violations, including a case concerning medical products. According to Mr. Gasperskij, the presenter stated during the programme that his wife had consumed the aforementioned product. At the same time, the product was shown in a close-up shot, on the basis of which the regulator established a violation and sanctioned the broadcaster. “To get more effective results, we invited the producers and explained how to perform product placement in compliance with the rules and avoid violations. In addition, we issued guidelines and recommendations to make our approach clear to broadcasters. At this point, I can safely say that product placement violations are no longer a significant challenge for us, as such incidents have been minimised,” Mr. Gasperskij explained.


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