Thursday, June 26, 2008

WGA is Looking Out For You

From Today's Variety:

"The Writers Guild of America wants the FCC to write the script on product integration disclosure.

In a letter to Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin, WGAW President Patrick Verrone urged the agency "to establish guidelines requiring on screen, real time disclosure on TV programming where product integration occurs to make viewers aware of the range of products they are overtly - and more often covertly - being sold."

...Verrone described product integration as "the embedding of commercial products within the storyline of a program so as to subliminally advertise to viewers...This practice exploits the emotional connection viewers have with shows and their characters in order to sell a product."
The WGA has expressed a preference that there be a complete ban on product integration, but pretty much everybody agrees that the practice is so rampant now, that it is probably too late to achieve that. Still, it would be a step forward if there was a mandated page somewhere at the end of a production listing all the ads that had been embedded in the show.

Of course, the studios and Madison Avenue ad agencies have chosen coy and disingenuous as the response to the WGA's request. Again, Variety sites one anonymous industry source as remarking, "There's no huge hue and cry we get from audiences about this."

So, audience, please to make a hue and cry. Let the FCC know how you feel.

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