Change in UK Logo Placement Laws

By Mash Bonigala

Change in UK Logo Placement Laws Creates New Marketing Opportunities

While logo placement on television is a major marketing tool in many countries, the UK government until recently has not allowed it. However, the communications regulator Ofcom is now loosening laws, creating new marketing opportunities for brands as well as new sources of revenue for cash-strapped British television broadcasters.

The new year brings a new set of rules for product placement in the UK, most of which will take effect this February. First, placement of logo designs and other brand elements will only be allowed in a few types of programming. Children’s programmes as well as those dealing with news, current affairs, religion, and consumer affairs will not be allowed to use product placement. Further, only certain logo designs can be used. Logos promoting baby milk, medicines, tobacco, gambling, alcohol, and certain unhealthy foods or drinks are still not welcome on UK television screens. Products that cannot be advertised on television, such as weapons, will not be allowed to buy product placements either.

There are several regulations involved that will protect consumers from being overly influenced by this new form of marketing. Foremost, programmes using logo design and product placement will need to warn viewers for at least three seconds both before and after the programme. In addition, the product placement must not be allowed to interfere with editorial content. Programmes must not become mere marketing opportunities.

These changes are partly a result of new European broadcasting laws. They certainly will be a boon to the many UK and European broadcasters that are struggling to find new sources of revenue. How much the networks can earn from logo design and product placement remains to be seen, however. Experts have placed the figure somewhere between £25 and £150 million, a huge spread. Product placement company MirriAd predicts the higher number.

The new laws from Ofcom also expand marketing opportunities for radio programming. While they cannot place logo designs and other visual brand elements, radio programmes will be allowed to include paid references to products.

One of the interesting things about logo design and product placement is that these elements are usually added after the programme has been filmed rather than placed on a set. Companies, such as the aforementioned MirriAd, use digital technology to place logo designs after the shows have been produced. Companies specializing in these technologies may actually be the real winners in this new legislation.

The net result is that UK residents will be bombarded with logo designs and brands even more than ever. Businesses that want to capture the attention of consumers will need to work harder than ever to promote their brands. We predict that we will see more and more innovative attempts to market companies, especially among UK small businesses that cannot afford the immense expense of television advertisement and placement. While this can be a negative change, it may also be a positive one if it inspires more businesses to be creative and to use new technologies in their marketing.