U.K. Agrees First Product Placement for Prime-Time TV

‘Coronation Street’ will feature a Nationwide ATM

U.K. soap opera Coronation Street will be the first prime-time show on British TV to feature product placement. ITV’s deal with Nationwide Building Society means that the soap will feature a branded ATM in the street’s fictional corner shop from next month.

The U.K.’s media regulator, Ofcom, relaxed the rules on product placement in February this year. Though some weekend and daytime shows have featured product placement since then, advertisers have been cautious about fully embracing the new feature.

But Nick Price, from MPG Media Contacts, who brokered the ITV-Nationwide deal, says integrated branding is likely to become much more popular in the wake of the Coronation Street deal. "This is the first product placement deal for one of ITV's flagship peak-time shows,” he said in a statement. “And we believe it will be the tipping point for a wave of new product placement deals over the coming year."

Coronation Street will now feature Nationwide’s logo on the ATM and the shop front for a four-month trial period.

Ofcom has predicted that the product placement industry could be worth up to £30 million ($48 million) a year, according to The Independent.

Product placement for alcohol, tobacco, and food and drinks that are high in fat, salt, or sugar are still prohibited in the U.K., however. Product placement is also banned from news, current affairs, consumer, and religious programming.