Congressmen Tackle Product Placement

Sep 26, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Warning that increasing use of product placement and product integration are “blurring” the line between TV ads and TV content, two congressional committee chairmen are calling on the Federal Communications Commission to do more to make sure viewers know what they are seeing.
“In our view, the blurring of the line between advertising and content represented by product placement and integration is unfair and deceptive if it occurs without adequate disclosures to the viewing public,” U.S. Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said today in a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. “In some extreme cases, it may also undermine the integrity of the television programming itself.”
Rep. Waxman is chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee; Rep. Markey chairs the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s telecom committee.
Rep. Markey’s committee in May held a hearing on issues around product placement and product integration and heard testimony on pressure on writers and producers to weave mentions of products into shows.
Mr. Martin last week, during an FCC media ownership hearing in Chicago, said he had asked other FCC commissioners to initiate a look into issues of product integration into programming. He suggested DVRs and TiVos may be prompting networks to look at more subtle and sophisticated means of inserting commercial messages and cited growing concern that the agency’s sponsorship rules weren’t providing adequate disclosure of placement.
Mr. Martin said he has asked other commissioners to initiate a rulemaking that would seek comment about whether the FCC’s existing sponsorship identification rules need to be amended because of increasing industry reliance on embedded advertising techniques to ensure adequate disclosure to the public.
The committee chairmen in today’s letter said they didn’t feel the FCC had made enough progress since the hearing in addressing some of the issues raised at the hearing
“We believe the commission should examine the growth in product placement and product integration and how this trend affects the overall composition and nature of television programming. As part of this inquiry, the commission should also review the criteria broadcasters and cable operators currently use to distinguish between commercial and creative content,” said the letter.
The two urged Mr. Martin to do a thorough review of sponsorship disclosure requirements. They said any review should include an examination of whether “rules sufficiently achieve the statutory requirement to inform the viewing public of the actual products being sponsored in a show as well as the entity that paid for such sponsorship.”
(1:25: Updated 5th, 6th, 7th paragraphs)


  1. So, the battle is joined! It’s ‘product placement’ vs the TIVOs of the world. Actually it seems inevitable that a system dependent on advertising revenue cannot long sustain itself if nobody sees their ads. But with increased product ‘placement’ or ‘intergration,’ will surely follow the efforts of our best hackers to try to find a way around them too.
    No matter what happens, I am sure that both sides will incresingly look to the government to have it go their way.

  2. Strange. Nobody puts disclaimers on billboards, NASCAR races, NFL games, cinema advertisements, or anything else really. Why start with product placement?

  3. Love the blog here. Nice colors. I am definitely staying tuned to this one. Hope to see more.

  4. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  5. Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

  6. Way to focus and straight to your point, i love it. Keep up the work people. Dont let anyone stop us bloggers.

  7. Love all the opinions expressed here! How is everyone? Love how everyone expresses whatr they feel 🙂

  8. Way to focus and straight to your point, i love it. Keep up the work people. Dont let anyone stop us bloggers.

  9. I love the way you write and also the theme on your blog. Did you code this yourself or was it done by a professional? I’m very very impressed.

  10. Great post. Hope you write more on the subject soon.

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)