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June 19, 2008

 

Contact:  Josh Golin (617-896-9369; josh<at>commercialfreechildhood.org)

 

For Immediate Release

 

Coalition Demands FCC Action on Product Placement and Product Integration

 

Citing the increasingly blurred lines between television programming and advertising, a coalition of twenty-three advocacy and consumer groups today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to immediately adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on product placement and product integration. 

 

“The rise of product placement and product integration is turning television shows – including those watched by millions of children – into program-length infomercials,” said Dr. Susan Linn, director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) which organized the letter. “It is essential that the FCC take meaningful action to prevent television programming from becoming a Trojan horse for branded messages.”

 

In September, 2007, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin circulated an NPRM among the FCC Commissioners.  Later that month, calling inadequately disclosed product placement “unfair and deceptive,” Congressmen Edward Markey and Henry Waxman commended the Chairman for initiating the NPRM and urged prompt adoption of the measure.  But in December, three advertising industry trade groups urged the FCC to downgrade the NPRM to a Notice of Inquiry (NOI), a purely investigative procedure that cannot lead to rulemaking.  To date, the Commission has not announced whether they will adopt an NPRM or an NOI.

 

In a letter sent today to FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin, the Coalition detailed the rise in television programming of both product placement and product integration, in which dialogue, scenes, and even whole episodes are scripted around a branded product.  The letter also noted that the lack of regulation concerning product integration has been exploited by marketers of everything from junk food to alcohol.

 

The Coalition is urging the FCC to adopt without delay an NPRM that includes cable and satellite television.  Failure to include cable/satellite television in the NPRM, the letter argued, “would create a sanctuary for unfair and deceptive practices.

 

Signatories to the letter include a diverse array of children’s media watchdogs, advocates for public health, consumer groups, and child advocacy groups including the Parents Television Council, Public Citizen, Common Sense Media, Free Press, Children Now, Marin Institute, the Alliance for Childhood, Dads and Daughters, the Center for a New American Dream, the Benton Foundation, and the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, Inc.

 

“The diversity and breadth of this coalition reflects the growing concern that marketers are hijacking television content and foisting branded propaganda on an unsuspecting public,” said Dr. Linn.  “The rise of embedded advertising deprives parents of the ability to protect their children from unwanted marketing influences, threatens public health, and undermines democracy.”

 

The complete text of the letter and its signatories is available at http://commercialfreechildhood.org/pdf/nprm/coalitionletter.pdf

 

Congressmen Markey and Waxman’s letter to FCC is available at http://markey.house.gov/docs/telecomm/Letter%20with%20Waxman%20to%20FCC%20re%20product%20placement.pdf.

 

For a timeline of events concerning the FCC and integrated marketing, please visit http://commercialfreechildhood.org/actions/nprm.html.


 

 

 

PRESS

 
 

 

Watch Dogs Warn FCC about Trojan Horse Ads

Broadcast & Cable, June 19, 2008

 

FCC Is Urged To Clamp Down On Product

Marketing Daily, June 20, 2008

 

PlacementCoalition Urges FCC to Adopt Product Placement Rules

Brandweek, June 20, 2008

 

 

 

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