What would Ken say? Coronation Street to profit from product placement


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The Independent Culture

Residents of Coronation Street will rest easier knowing their money is no longer being held in a fictional bank, as British television's first primetime product placement is set to appear on the soap in the form of a Nationwide ATM.

The company's logo will appear on a machine in the soap's hitherto unbranded corner shop from 14 November for a period of four months. A branded sign will also appear outside the shop.

Broadcasters and advertisers have been slow to take advantage of the removal in February of a ban on product placement on British television.

Only a dozen deals were made in the first six months following Ofcom's introduction of the rules, the first being the appearance of a Nescafé Dolce Gusto coffee machine on ITV's This Morning.

Under the rules, alcohol, tobacco, and food and drinks which are high in fat, salt or sugar are among the products that are not allowed to be featured. Product placement is also banned from news, current affairs, consumer and religious programming.

Ofcom has predicted that the industry could be worth up to £30m a year.

As well as the financial benefits for television shows, many have argued that the introduction of real brands will add a sense of realism.

This first step in to primetime television could end the days when bar maids working at the Queen Vic in EastEnders were left guessing when a grunting Grant Mitchell ordered a "bottle of beer".

"In the 1960s and 1970s they did use real products. We ended up having to distort real life by taking them out, and by doing things like putting tape over a cereal," said branding expert Rebecca Battman.