Sunday 15 March 2009

Andy Burnham hasn't got the X Factor

Andy Burnham can't be a real politician. A real politician looks for certain things in their policies. Number one is is it beneficial.{ie beneficial to the introducer.} Then there is media coverage, seeking to reinforce belief, narrative or previous position. Cost. Public opinion.Commons support and necessity amongst others.
So why was he against the product placement ban? The ban exists to prevent companies placing their wares in full view of the public on the television and benefiting from a perceived association. The reasoning is that ordinary members of the public are very stupid. If a news reader on Channel Four has a Starbucks on their desk, then they are implying that Starbucks is a caring, sharing, thoughtful, edgy,independent but deeply public service committed kind of coffee. If you drink Starbucks you would have a Liberal outlook. If a Coca Cola appears on Coronation street then the drinker is a rabid right wing, Fox news, Republican, warmongering, third world enslaving nuclear button pressing maniac. Also the argument extends to advertisers would put pressure on TV companies to make long infomercials disguised as drama or something. {it doesn't apply to magazines,video games,blogs,books,newspapers, tube advertising ..for some reason.}
This is nonsense, but even if it weren't, there is a very good economic argument for allowing product placement. That is the Independent television companies are doing an HBoS. Channel 4 was supposed to tie up with BBC Worldwide {announced back in January} But this looks like a collapsed deal. C4 do not like the terms.

C4, BBC, ITV and C5 bosses have all forgone bonuses, they have sacked workers and held down pay. Channel Five has slashed its value by more than half. The TV companies that rely on advertising revenues are really suffering from the downturn, advertising moving platforms and falling mass audience share. As they said about Royal Mail recently, the status quo cannot continue.
Naturally safeguards were being discussed that would have meant no products placed in News, Children's, Political campaigns or Documentaries. There would of course be a code of conduct and full on regulation. In the USA there are higher standards for news than for entertainment. Assume the same would apply here, only more so.
So it seems odd that Mr Burnham would not have embraced with open arms something that would help alleviate their suffering. Mr Burnham sparked some mild controversy back in June 08 when he appeared to rule out product placement ahead of a debate on the matter. After all its such good strategy and fits so nicely in the overall plan of state intervention , bailouts and help for hardworkingfamilies.
The companies get extra revenue. It costs the government zero. It shows helping out of the media industry during 'these difficult times' It is easy to achieve and quick to implement (BBC "Relaxing the usage of product placement would inject more than £72m into the UK television market in the short-term."} so the effects will be felt in time. And its aimed at the media themselves so will generate thousands of words of praise for the government.
Its not as if many of the top programs on our screens don't come from the USA already. Lost,West Wing,Sopranos,The Wire, Big Bang theory, America's top model..? etc. They all have product placement. They just blur the logo. As do just about every program. Inspector Morse drove a Jaguar. The X factor is one long advert for the X factor. . The white and silver parkas that Bianca wore for about seven years in Eastenders was sold by a well known discount store. BBC have teams that go out looking for certain types of clothes. A Hoodie, a druggie, a retired major etc. They don't print Matalan on the side, but if you know..then you know. So if someone in the Queen Vic asks for A pint of Guinness and pack of skips,instead of a "pint please Peggy" would this really damage the show and the integrity of the nation

The picture at the top has this caption.
Which goes to reinforce the thinness of the argument.
We were settling down with our tea to watch Eastenders the other night and were amazed to discover Brothers Pear Cider is now stocked in the Queen Vic. Peggy Mitchell is obviously a lady of great taste.We will have to put the Queen Vic on our Cider Finder, where all our known stockists are listed.

Meanwhile the campaign for a diverse, democratic and accountable media welcomed the ban.


Anonymous said...

Well, Andy Burnham rarely gets anything right. It wasn't too long ago that he wanted all websites to be rated like movies. He doesn't have a clue.

James said...

All emotive advertising constitutes Market Distortions.

It's not a question of stupidity, simply that people (you included) have less perceptive power than you believe. Watch some Darren Brown shows - advertising & manipulation works... So why do we want to allow companies to manipulate us into making worse decisions about our lives?

I agree, it is probably not a good political move, but then your headline should be 'politician in not screwing us over shocker'

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