“By its nature product placement allows marketing to be integrated into programmes, blurring the distinction between advertising and editorial, and is not always recognisable. Studies show that children are particularly susceptible to embedded brand messages and these operate at a subconscious level.”
Their concern was echoed last night by Prof Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners. He said: “As a consumer I’m worried that the quality of drama programmes will suffer because there may be a focus towards selling a product rather than developing a storyline. But as a doctor, I’m really worried that programmes could be selling alcohol and unhealthy foods, especially sweet foods and fatty foods targeted at children.