Readers will likely remember just a few days ago when I commented on product placement by Kellogg's on CBC Kids' morning shows with Yamma Mamma talking about healthy breakfasts while the camera provided multiple plate and product shots of an Eggo Waffle.
Comments on the blog were mixed. Some thought I was out to lunch, some thought I was bang on, while one person demonstrated incredible ignorance by invoking Godwin's Law by suggesting that my depiction of product placement was at a level comparable to how I might complain about Nazi propaganda.
The CBC wrote me back and while they didn't suggest I was on a Nazi witch hunt, they certainly didn't agree that the Eggo shots were in fact product placement,
"At no time are brand-name products promoted. In the example cited, we focus on the importance of a complete, balanced breakfast even within the time, cost or other constraints faced by many people.But isn't that what product placement is? Not mentioning a product by name but placing it in the show - in this case a round, commercially produced, breakfast waffle product into a show that explicitly suggests it's a healthy choice?
In other words, a waffle matched with fresh fruit, nuts, yogurt and/or milk and juice represents a nutritious, enticing choice for kids."
A new and interesting twist to all of this came by way of Dr. Brain Cook.
Brian's a researcher for Toronto Public Health and his area of expertise is advertising to children. When he read my blog piece he wrote to inform me of Kellogg's commitment to the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative.
The initiative very clearly states,
"Kellogg will implement the Product Placement principle by not paying for or seeking out promotional product placement (i.e., embedding our products within program/editorial content, as distinguished from sponsorship of programming) for our products in any medium directed primarily to children under 12. Kellogg does not currently engage in this type of marketing directed to children under 12."I've written to Johanne Trudeau, the Director of Nutrition Marketing for Kellogg's Canada for comment and will keep you posted.
The whole thing seems pretty clear to me.
1. Kellogg's paid for segments involving Yamma Mamma and healthy breakfasts on CBC Kids.
2. The segments included Eggo product placement (and perhaps other Kellogg's products, I'm only aware of the one example).
3. According to Kellogg's, product placement in kids shows is an advertising modality that they themselves report voluntarily avoiding.
4. The CBC disagrees with Kellogg's in that according to the CBC who report explicitly banning advertising on Kids shows, product placement isn't an advertising modality.
Can't wait to hear what Kellogg's has to say.