Douglas Haddow, a Canadian writer for British pub The Guardian, is none too chuffed about the potential infiltration of product placement in British television, calling it a “delusion” in the process. Could have a point there.
Touting the Brits as being “a beacon of purity” and sustaining “brand abstinence” for years, Haddow is upset with culture secretary Ben Bradshaw’s recent move to allow product placement on British TV.
Haddow paints a dire portrait of the future, where his beloved cobblestone streets will “soon be littered with crumpled cans of Carling, used Trojan rubbers and other unsightly concessions to capitalist realism.”
Of course, the author’s main target of ire is America, where he cites studies predicting that product placement for US television will grow to $4.1 billion by 2010. If Britain follows our lead, he says, TV will devolve “into a revenue-quagmire-cum-ethics conundrum.” Maybe he just hates our Coca Cola-sponsored freedom.
True, we’ve become numb enough to it that we’ve parlayed overt product shilling into everything from parodies in Austin Powers movies to a bazillion infomercials and so on. But while Haddow does give some type of kudos to new media ventures here like VBS.tv and FADER, underneath his whole “sky is falling” cries, it appears he’s really just desperately pleading for the survival of UK broadcast network ITV. Judge for yourself.
More: “When Branding Goes Too Far”