This week, ITV announced that Coronation Street will have some new additions to the cobbles: Co-op and Costa Coffee.
Whilst on first glance the news might seem to show Corrie’s shops reflecting the British high street more authentically, it’s huge news for marketers who are looking to engage with this type of advertising.
Product placement is nothing new to UK screens. Since a ban on it was lifted by Ofcom in 2011, it has become far more commonplace to see everyday brands like Coca-Cola or Pepsi on our screens. Eagle-eyed viewers will notice a small ‘P’ appearing before a show starts that indicates when a show contains product placement. These are particularly prevalent in ‘reality shows’ like Made in Chelsea or The Only Way is Essex.
There are still stringent rules upheld and many TV shows like the X Factor have ended up in hot water with the regulator over breaches to the guidelines.
The industry is booming and technology is helping to innovate it. Last year, it was revealed that tech could be used by advertisers to include product placement in old TV programmes. That means next time you’re watching Inspector Morse, he might be grabbing a pint of Fosters from the local pub.
It’s important that product placement fits naturally into the context of a show. ITV has done this well. Co-op and Costa Coffee are everyday brands that we’d expect the show’s characters to use and are familiar to the audience. The opposite would be the case if we spotted Khaleesi from Game of Thrones kicking back at the end of a blood-filled battle by opening up a bottle Jacob’s Creek Pinot Grigio.
This serves as an important lesson for all of us in the marketing industry. We need to ensure that we reach the right audience with the right message (in this case, the right product) through the right medium. Co-op and Costa Coffee are right for Corrie, but wouldn’t be as suitable on a luxury show like Made in Chelsea.
By Tom Broughton, Account Manager at MWWPR