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Federal Communications Commission member Jonathan S. Adelstein decried the use of covert ad pitches in media and called for stricter product placement disclosure rules. I’m no fan of government intervention in media, but something needs to be done.
The fundamental problem for advertisers is that consumers are so bombarded with messages and marketing pitches that we just tune them out. These days, media is so fragmented, and consumers so distracted by it all, that it’s really hard for advertisers to spend their way into even being noticed, let alone having impact.
Some advertising critics want an on-screen alert any time a product placement appears in programming. I don’t think that’s the issue. Fake news is a much bigger threat than product placements in sitcoms. People already take those with a grain of salt.
But when a paid representative for a company doesn’t disclose that he/she is being paid to endorse a product that’s nothing more than a big lie. Media better start policing itself because Big Brother is watching big-time.