Why Is Product Placement Okay On TV Without Disclosure?

from the questions... dept

We're still wondering if the FTC is really going to go after blogs that don't disclose financial relationships concerning products they're pitching. So far, the only action the FTC has taken (publicly) has been to investigate retailer Ann Taylor for giving bloggers gift cards -- an action for which it was given a pass. In that case, it was worth noting that the focus was on the company, not the bloggers involved. However, there are still many questions about how arbitrarily the rules will be applied. Danny Sullivan is pointing out that with so much undisclosed product placement on TV, shouldn't that be a bigger concern than if a blogger mentions he or she got a free gift card before writing about a product? While I, like many people, tend to think disclosure is important for your own reputation, the ambiguity and subjectiveness of the FTC's rules is worrying. While I don't know for sure, my guess is that the FTC would say that most people already understand how TV product placement works, so they're not too bothered by it. That, at least, was the explanation an FTC person gave when questions were raised about why the FTC doesn't go after celebrities talking up products and services they were given for free... But it does seem kind of ridiculous that a celebrity is given more leeway not to disclose just because they're famous.
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Filed Under: disclosure, ftc, product placement


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  1. identicon
    Bradley Stewart, 3 Jun 2010 @ 6:29am

    Small Potatoes

    I have a much bigger gripe with advertising. Given the number of programs on radio and television I have timed with a chess clock on several occasions 17 to 23 minutes of every hour are filled with nothing but bumpers, promos, and commercials. I understand that this is how these corporations pay their bills and I do believe in free speech but how about the FCC forcing these corporations to announce how much time in the next listening or viewing hour at the beginning of each hour will be spent on this annoyance. This should be made part of their licensing contract.

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