The Federal Communications Commission is considering changing the rules for identifying product placement sponsorships in entertainment programming. Currently, a paid placement in a television program must be mentioned but is often relegated to the credits at the end of a program. Much of the audience is gone by that point, so the acknowledgement of paid sponsorship goes unnoticed most of the time. Possible changes to the current rules would require that paid placement be acknowledged on screen at the time it occurs or at the beginning of a program.
Product placement has become a popular communications tactic as it benefits from the blending of entertainment content and commercialization. The lines between the two become blurred when products become part of the story line. TV programs such as "Survivor" and "The Apprentice" have utilized product placement as a key element in episodes. Because the practice has become so popular, product placement may have lost some of its luster as a stealth-like marketing tactic. While the ability to reach an audience in a way that does not have the appearance of advertising is very appealing, it should not be done at the expense of losing trust or confidence that could occur if people believe they are being deceived. That risk can be minimized if a clear identification of sponsored product placement in entertainment programming occurs.
Link: Backchannel Media - "FCC to Consider Product Placement Rules"