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September 30, 2003

Commercial Alert -embedded products an affront to basic honesty? 


For Immediate Release: September 30, 2003
For More Information Contact: Gary Ruskin (503) 235-8012

Commercial Alert Asks FCC, FTC to Require Disclosure of Product Placement on TV

Commercial Alert today requested the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to require prominent disclosure of embedded advertising on television, including product placement, product integration, plot placement, title placement, paid spokespersons and virtual advertising. Increasingly, programs with these embedded ads resemble infomercials.

Commercial Alert’s petition to the FCC contains a request for a rule-making to require conspicuous and concurrent disclosure of embedded ads on TV, a complaint against TV networks for failure to comply with federal sponsorship identification requirements, and a request for investigation of current product placement practices on TV. Commercial Alert also asked the FTC to investigate TV product placement practices, and to issue new guidelines for disclosure of TV product placement.

“Embedded advertising is the new reality of television, and it is time for the Commission to address it. TV networks and stations regularly send programs into American living rooms that are packed with product placements and other veiled commercial pitches. But they pretend that these are just ordinary programming rather than paid ads. This is an affront to basic honesty,” wrote Commercial Alert in its petition to the FCC.

“To prevent stealth advertising, and ensure that viewers are fully aware of the efforts of advertisers to embed ads in programming, the Commission should require TV networks and stations to prominently disclose to viewers that their product placements are ads. In addition, product placements should be identified when they occur.”

The FCC and FTC documents are available here

Commercial Alert is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy.

Commercial Alert has more than 2000 members, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit our website at
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