TV3 wakes up and smells the coffee as product placement hits Irish screens


IRISH TELEVISION will officially enter the world of paid-for product placement next month when TV3’s morning chat show presenters start drinking a particular brand of coffee on air as part of a “six-figure” deal reached between the station and Kraft Foods.

From next month Kenco coffee will feature prominently on the Morning Showand Middayand will become the first paid-for product placement on Irish television since the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland revised its advertising code of practice earlier this summer.

Under the 12-month deal, worth in excess of €250,000, Kenco will sponsor the two programmes and presenters Sybil Mulcahy, Martin King, Colette Fitzpatrick (pictured) and Elaine Crowley, as well as their panel of guests, will be expected to drink the instant coffee – or at least pretend to – from heavily branded Kenco mugs.

Kraft’s head of marketing Sandra Gahan said she was very excited by the move and claimed the company was “always looking for innovative ways to fuel consumer excitement”, although a cynic might be forgiven for wondering just how much excitement could possibly be generated by watching TV presenters drink a certain type of coffee.

TV3 Group head of sales Darragh Byrne described the move as “significant” and said the shows would be “the perfect environment” for the Kenco brands.

To date all the examples of produce placement which have appeared on Irish television have been imported, mostly from the US, where particular brands of computers, phones, drinks, clothes and footwear are frequently shoe-horned into programmes such as Sex and the Cityand Glee.

Until very recently it was prohibited in domestically produced programming, but the authority was forced to change the rules governing product placement after recognition at European Union level in 2007 that the television advertising goalposts had shifted dramatically.

One of the biggest changes has been the proliferation of digital video recorders which allow viewers to record programmes and then fast-forward through the ads, a technological advance which had significantly threatened many broadcasters’ income from advertising revenue.

Product placement on Irish screens will not be a free-for-all, however. Such placement remains prohibited in children’s programmes and talk and chat shows with more than 20 per cent of news and current affairs content.

Broadcasters must include a written announcement before programmes containing product placements and display a logo containing the letters PP before and during programmes.

They must also list in the end credits the names of companies that have provided products and services included in a programme.

Advertising realities move follows international trend

ET:When ET ate a packet of Reese’s Pieces in the 1982 film, the era of product placement began in earnest. Sales shot up 65 per cent, much to the chagrin of Mars, which had passed on the opportunity to have its M&Ms feature in the film.

SEX AND THE CITY:Manolo Blahnik, Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin, Dior, iPhone, Bang & Olufsen, Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Christian Lacroix. The list of product placement on the show goes on and on . . .

CASTAWAY:In addition to Tom Hanks, the two stars of this 2000 film were Fed-Ex and a Wilson volleyball . . .

BACK TO THE FUTURE:The DeLorean car featured as the time machine in this 1985 blockbuster. The firm went bust before the movie was released. Pepsi, which also starred in the film, did okay out of it, though.