Guilds call for product placements code of conduct

December 27, 2005 at 7:00 am 2 comments

The Writers Guilds and Screen Actors Guild of America are calling for a “Code of Conduct” for film and television product placements. Their proposal would require “both the visual and aural disclosure of product integration deals at the beginning of each program so the program’s audience knows ahead of time that it will be subject to hidden or stealth advertising.” Product placement advertising occurs when marketers pay film and television producers to include products in movies and tv programs, often with little notice to consumers that the products are being pitched.
In a recent article in Mediaweek, Pitney Hardin lawyer Barry Benjamin questions the current product placement practice:

In light of this growing trend, many consumers would perhaps be surprised to learn that Federal law mandates disclosure of the fact that sponsors have paid to have their products included within programming. FCC rules do not spell out exactly how these disclosures should be made, and most television shows satisfy their legal disclosure obligations merely by including a credit to the effect that “promotional considerations were provided by ABC company.” It is debatable whether this type of disclosure satisfies the law.

The Guilds’ call for a code of conduct follows calls by consumer groups and Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein for further investigation of this issue by the FCC.

See Barry M. Benjamin, The Call for a Code of Conduct, Mediaweek (Dec. 19, 2005).

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