Sunday, September 18, 2005

Companies paying up to £40,000 to advertise secretly on the BBC,,2087-1785536,00.html

Advertising is not supposed to be allowed on the BBC.

Jonathan Calvert and Gareth Welsh, at The Sunday Times, 18 September 2005, report that companies are secretly paying fees of up to £40,000 to advertise on BBC programmes.

The Sunday Times claims that there are at least 50 cases where top brands 'have bought favourable exposure on BBC television by paying specialist agents'.

SPOOKS: reportedly had eight different brands shown.

MURPHY'S LAW: had a Volkswagen Sharan driven by James Nesbitt.

'An agent boasted that the value of the car’s appearance was equal to a £30,800 commercial break.'

According to the Sunday Times (which is linked to Rupert Murdoch and SKY TV) reporters pretending to be businessmen seeking exposure for a new alcoholic drink approached agents and BBC production companies.

They found:

'The producer of a new 12-part cookery programme for BBC2 was willing to promote the drink on air in return for free accommodation and travel.

'The head of props for Hotel Babylon, a new drama starring Tamzin Outhwaite, also promised to give the drink an eye-catching position in bar scenes, contravening the BBC’s editorial guidelines.'

According to The Sunday Times:

'Placement with stars is most prized: Ricky Gervais holds a Benjys coffee cup in Extras on BBC2 and Robert Lindsay clutches a bottle of Sol beer in My Family, a BBC1 comedy.

'A new prime-time BBC2 series, The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook, has become a target for the placement agencies.'

The Sunday Times reporters spoke to the programme’s maker offering to pay its travel and accommodation costs on location.

'In return they asked that our fictitious drink — a Mexican beer called Reds — was shown on the programme. John Stroud, managing director of Big Bear Films, said: “I don’t see a problem with that.”

'Malcolm Holt, the prop master for Hotel Babylon, was also happy to support the product. “I can do you two or three bottles on the bar — prominent, all the time,” he said.
The BBC said that it would investigate the allegations.'


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