Product placement gone McMad? But what about the rest of TV?

2013-09-27_0141After TEN announced a partnership between McDonald’s and Wake Up yesterday it’s been on the receiving end of a hostile reaction.

As part of the deal, McDonald’s will set up “the smallest McDonald’s outlet in the country,” on the Wake Up set, manned by two crew members serving the Wake Up team each morning.

It sounds very similar to the McCafe that Sunrise started some years ago, also under the watch of producer Adam Boland.

Sunrise now partners with Michel’s Patisserie while Today has The Coffee Club.

But the M word is a red rag to a McBull and experts are weighing in.

Nutritionist Rosemary Stanton told Fairfax Media, ”It becomes part of the furniture, it normalises this whole idea that it’s perfectly normal to have McDonald’s for breakfast – and that is not normal, nor is it desirable.”

I’d concur that having Maccas on a regular basis for breakfast is a worry. Having one here and there strikes me as manageable within the context of a broader diet (but hey, I’m no nutritionist, nor do I pretend to be).

While I’m not especially keen on product placement big or small, last I checked McDonald’s was a legitimate company selling a legal product.

McDonald’s has also been known to fund primetime docos (McDonald’s Gets Grilled) and the brief revival of It’s a Knockout.

But if we’re going to hate on product placement (and I have no argument with that) we really should be consistent.

What about Woolworths in Recipe to Riches and Coles in MasterChef? What about the Mitre 10 shop that resided on the set of The Block? How is that any different to a McDonald’s mini-outlet?

The Biggest Loser was plugging Krill Oil from Nature’s Way. Big Brother is rife with KFC cross-promos and The Voice has had Ford and Vodafone.

How many sporting events have brand names in their very title? Branded entertainment hasn’t just infiltrated our weekend afternoon content -we now have entire channels for the stuff.

And advertorials are the “necessary evil” of morning television we are told -at least they are separated from editorial content. But product placement is woven under your nose so that you barely notice it. Our networks are even using whiz-bang technology to insert products and marketing into our dramas after they have been filmed.

In a recent TV Tonight survey of over 1200 readers, most people agreed that while they were dead against gambling advertising and had some concerns over alcohol advertising, there was no such mood towards junk food advertising.

Having Maccas on the set of Wake Up won’t cause the sky to fall in Chicken Little style, but it may make some people tune out. ABC News Breakfast readily awaits them, sans advertising.

Meanwhile the Commercial Television Industry Code Of Practice stipulates that broadcasters must ”adequately bring the existence of any such commercial arrangement to the attention of viewers in a way that is readily understandable to a reasonable person”.

29 Comments:

  1. Not exactly sending the right message to kiddies who are getting ready for school, but I don’t see how it’s much different from breakfast at michels or coffee club or any other cafe. And as long as its subtle advertising and not advocating or promoting then it’s not going to turn many people off.

  2. The product placement will only put me off if the hosts say: “that was a delicious McMuffin I had this morning” It is is subtle, then no dramas, but if it is in your face, I will not tune in!

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