Shine a Light on Sneaky TV Product Placement

Do you know when you're being sold something?
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2009 10:49 AM CDT
"NCIS" star Cote de Pablo poses at the Camacho Cigars booth at the HBO Luxury Lounge in honor of the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – You can tell when you’re watching a commercial, right? Not at all, writes NE Marsden, and that’s a huge problem. A new FTC measure seeks to expose the practice of paid consideration—“stealth advertising” is a better phrase—online by requiring bloggers and marketers to disclose remuneration, but that hasn’t worked too well on TV. You didn’t know producers have to disclose product placement on TV? Exactly.

“People have a right to know when someone is trying to sell them something,” Marsden writes in the Washington Post. And notices “buried in the credits”—that’s what “promotional consideration provided by” means—are “too small, too fleeting and too obscure to be effective.” The ease of obfuscation “invites covert marketing, stealth targeting of children and paid propaganda.” As a result, Marsden writes, “the public is in the dark and youths are at risk.”