Product Placement

TV networks send programs into living rooms that are packed with embedded advertising. Increasingly, such programming resembles infomercials. But TV stations pretend that these are just ordinary programs rather than paid ads. This is an affront to basic honesty.

Product placements are inherently deceptive, because many people do not realize that they are, in fact, advertisements. We’re running a campaign to require disclosure of product placement in all media, including TV, movies, videos, video games, books and “adversongs.”

Key documents:

Commercial Alert's petitions to the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, and the FTC's response. The FCC has not yet responded.

More Information

News Releases

Commercial Alert Submits Reply Comments to the FCC
Robert Weissman | November 24th, 2008

Commercial Alert Comments to the FCC
Robert Weissman | September 22nd, 2008

Commercial Alert Letter on Product Placement in Newscasts
Robert Weissman | July 22nd, 2008

Robert Weissman | June 27th, 2008

Commercial Alert Asks Book Reviewers Not to Review Ad-Laden Children's Series "Mackenzie Blue"
Robert Weissman | March 12th, 2008

Commercial Alert Letter to HarperCollins Children's Books Regarding "Mackenzie Blue"
Robert Weissman | March 12th, 2008

Commercial Alert: Jack Daniels Should Stay Off TV
Robert Weissman | June 13th, 2007

Editorial Memorandum: FCC Should Require Disclosure of Covert Commercial Pitches on TV
Gary Ruskin | May 26th, 2005

Commercial Alert's Statement on Today's FTC Product Placement Decision
Gary Ruskin | February 10th, 2005

Commercial Alert's Statement on Today's FTC Product Placement Decision
Gary Ruskin | February 10th, 2005

Advertisers Attack Honest Disclosure of Stealth Ads on TV
Gary Ruskin | November 15th, 2003

Advertisers Attack Honest Disclosure of Stealth Ads on TV
Gary Ruskin | November 15th, 2003

Commercial Alert Asks FCC, FTC to Require Disclosure of Product Placement on TV
Gary Ruskin | September 30th, 2003

Commercial Alert Asks FCC, FTC to Require Disclosure of Product Placement on TV
Gary Ruskin | September 30th, 2003


FTC Caves in to Advertisers & Broadcasters on Product Placement
Gary Ruskin | February 11th, 2005

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Nielsen: Networks Hit By Big Product Placement Drops
Wayne Friedman | MediaDailyNews | September 16th, 2008

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Richard Tedesco | PROMO Magazine | September 15th, 2008

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Stuart Elliot | The New York Times | September 10th, 2008

Coke Zero Gets Double-O Status for James Bond Tie-in
Emma Hall | Advertising Age | September 9th, 2008

Italy OKs TV product placement
Eric J. Lyman | The Hollywood Reporter | August 28th, 2008

Samsung Product Placement
PPN Staff | Product Placement News | August 27th, 2008

Axe Sponsors, Co-Stars in Web TV Series
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Dell Sponsors A&E Reality Series
Andrew Hampp | Advertising Age | August 7th, 2008

On Ad-Less 'L Word,' Brands Become Part of the Plot
Claude Brodesser-Akner | Advertising Age | August 7th, 2008

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Margaret Lyons | Time Out Chicago | August 7th, 2008

Chew on This: Hit Song Is a Gum Jingle
Ethan Smith and Julie Jargon | The Wall Street Journal | July 28th, 2008

Ad Nauseam
Jennifer Wells | The Globe and Mail (Canada) | July 25th, 2008

Under Armour in Public Eye
Andrea K. Walker | The Baltimore Sun | July 24th, 2008

USA Revs Up Product Integrations for Top Performers
Richard Tedesco | PROMO Magazine | July 23rd, 2008

A Product’s Place Is on the Set
Stephanie Clifford | The New York Times | July 22nd, 2008

Research Firm Nielsen Tallying Product Placement Ads
Alana Semuels | Los Angeles Times | July 22nd, 2008

'Wall-E' Gives Glimpse of Product Placement's Future
Beth Snyder Bulik | Advertising Age | July 17th, 2008

AmEx, 'Project Runway' Forge Integrated Pact
Steve McClellan | AdWeek | July 14th, 2008

Product Placements Acquire a Life of Their Own on Shows
Stephanie Clifford | The New York Times | July 14th, 2008

Geico Integrated Into Wii Games
Andrew Hampp | Advertising Age | July 9th, 2008

Sprint's YouTube Payola: Use Instinct In Your Videos, And We'll Pay You
Matt Kapko | | July 2nd, 2008

Ford Flex Finds Novela Way To Reach Latino Consumers
Della de Lafuente | BrandWeek | June 29th, 2008

Product Placement On TV Targeted
Cecilia Kang | The Washington Post | June 27th, 2008

Ads in TV Shows Come Under Microscope
Kate Barrett | ABC News | June 27th, 2008

Writers Guild Urges FCC to Disclose Product Integration
Claude Brodesser-Akner | Advertising Age | June 25th, 2008

Product Placements Get FCC Scrutiny
Amy Schatz and Suzanne Vranica | The Wall Street Journal | June 23rd, 2008

Coalition Urges FCC to Adopt Product Placement Rules
Steve Miller | BrandWeek | June 19th, 2008

'Chloe, it's Jack. Who does our phones?'
Ravi Somaiya | The Guardian (UK) | June 16th, 2008

Carmakers are Kings of Product Placement Deals
Ken Bensinger | Los Angeles Times | June 14th, 2008

U.K. Shuts Out Product Placement
Steve Clarke | Variety | June 11th, 2008

Alltel, State Farm, Sonic in Triple Play for TBS Integrations
Richard Tedesco | PROMO Magazine | June 11th, 2008

Entering Virtual Worlds for Real-Life Pitches
Eric Pfanner | The New York Times | May 29th, 2008

Viral Video: Cashing In or Selling Out?
Jennifer Hollett | Globe and Mail (Canada) | May 27th, 2008

Vespa Mixes It Up With 'Get Smart,' Subway For Promo
Karl Greenberg | Marketing Daily | May 22nd, 2008

Advertainment: More than Sex and the City Cosmos
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Klondike Mixes Placement, Ad Spots to Promote Contest
Karlene Lukovitz | Marketing Daily | May 21st, 2008

ABC Bets ‘Motherhood’ Can Make a Leap from the Computer Screen
Brian Stelter | The New York Times | May 19th, 2008

NBC and GM Form Cross-Platform Marketing and Programming Partnership
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MTV Plans to Increase Its Blending of Ads and Shows
Bill Carter | The New York Times | May 8th, 2008

Does Drug Product Placement on TV Require New Regulations?
Enrique Rivero | UCLA | May 7th, 2008

Sprint, Nissan Make Big Branded-Entertainment Plays With Soccer Shows
Laurel Wentz | Advertising Age | May 5th, 2008

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The Brands That Became Movie Stars
The Independent (UK) | April 6th, 2008

North Coast Wine Gets Screen Time
Kevin McCallum | The Press Democrat | March 30th, 2008

Mercedes Gets All Dolled Up
Jean Halliday | Advertising Age | March 20th, 2008

Apple teams with 'American Idol'
Michael Schneider | Variety | March 18th, 2008

‘Sex and the City’ and Its Lasting Female Appeal
Stuart Elliot | The New York Times | March 17th, 2008

Smallville Product Placement Hits New Low
Mark Wilson | | March 16th, 2008

Are books for kids where little ideas - or big brands - grow?
John Mangan | The Age (Australia) | March 16th, 2008

MTV, Doritos Partner for Reality Series
Amy Johannes | Promo | March 14th, 2008

Product Placement in Songs More Intentional Than We Know
Adam Bemma | Exclaim News (Canada) | March 13th, 2008

Branded Entertainment Momentum Healthy: Report
Richard Tedesco | Brandweek | February 12th, 2008

Children's Playtime Now Fun Time for Big-Time Advertisers
Lena Sin | Vancouver Province (Canada) | February 11th, 2008

NBC Ramps up Reality Programming with Ad Tie-Ins
Scott Collins | Los Angeles Times | February 11th, 2008

Time to Stop Undermining Children with Ads
Dr. Melissa Perrin, Psy.D | Pioneer Press (Chicago Sun-Times Suburban News) | February 7th, 2008

Microsoft Shows Off Web Ad Prototypes
Jessica Mintz | Associated Press | February 6th, 2008

Product Placement Scrutinized
Ira Teinowitz | TV Week | February 3rd, 2008

Portrait of a Young Consumer
Jessica Vosgerchian | Michigan Daily | January 30th, 2008

Tyson benefits in Makeover giveaway
David Irvin | Arkansas Democrat Gazette | December 29th, 2007

Facebook challenged by ad-free rival
Mark Sweney | Guardian Unlimited (UK) | December 24th, 2007

Ad plans for Web run into privacy issues
Byron Acohido | USA Today | December 23rd, 2007

Blog it but don't flog it: ad man's new mantra
Stuart Elliot | The Sunday Scotsman | December 23rd, 2007

This holiday tradition is brought to you by ...
Jeff Martin | USA Today | December 20th, 2007

FCC Postpones Decision on Embedded Ads
Brooks Boliek and Gail Schiller | Hollywood Reporter | December 19th, 2007

Widget syndicator Clearspring launches ad network
Eric Auchard | Reuters | December 11th, 2007

Seinfeld, McD's, Brach's Help Build 'Bee Movie' Buzz
T.L. Stanley | Brandweek | November 22nd, 2007

Ad firm gives to Muni measure, gets S.F. contract
Robert Selna | San Francisco Chronicle | October 31st, 2007

Sony Launches In-Game Ad Unit
Kamau High | AdWeek | October 10th, 2007

A Drug Company Joins the March Of Penguin Tie-Ins
Pat H. Broeske | The New York Times | November 6th, 2006

The Newest Characters on TV Shows: Product Plugs
Gary Levin | USA Today | September 20th, 2006

More Ad Pitches Could Get Embedded
David Lieberman | USA Today | May 17th, 2006

In Risky Move, Newscasts Adopt Product Placements
Gail Schiller | Reuters | March 15th, 2006

Product Placement Brokers Succeed in Morning Shows
Marc Graser | Advertising Age | January 30th, 2006

Plot Line: Drink Pepsi!
John Furia Jr. | Los Angeles Times | October 23rd, 2005

Product Placements Infiltrate TV Shows
Frazier Moore | Associated Press | July 19th, 2005

Probe of Stealth TV Ads Sought
Meg James | Los Angeles Times | May 26th, 2005

F.T.C. Rejects Rule On Product Placement
Stuart Elliott | The New York Times | February 11th, 2005

FTC Rejects Ad Labeling on TV
Caroline E. Mayer | Washington Post | February 11th, 2005

FTC Rejects Ad Labeling on TV
Caroline E. Mayer | Washington Post | February 11th, 2005

That Abundance of Volkswagens on TV Shows Will Be Product Placement, Not Coincidence
Nat Ives | The New York Times | January 13th, 2005

Dubbing In Product Plugs; How Spider-Man 2 Made Dr Pepper a Star in the U.S. And Mirinda a Star Overseas
Charles Goldsmith | Wall Street Journal | December 6th, 2004

Products Are Stars in New Ad Strategy
Meg James | Los Angeles Times | December 2nd, 2004

Products Are Stars in New Ad Strategy
Meg James | Los Angeles Times | December 2nd, 2004

In Another Conquest for Product Placement, the New Comedy Central Cartoon for Adults Joins the Trend
Stuart Elliott | The New York Times | October 21st, 2004

Also Starring (Your Product Name Here)
Michael McCarthy | USA Today | August 12th, 2004

Also Starring (Your Product Name Here)
Michael McCarthy | USA Today | August 12th, 2004

Five Key Issues Could Alter The Ad Industry
Brian Steinberg and Suzanne Vranica | Wall Street Journal | January 4th, 2004

Product-placement complaint fails to result in new rules
Wall Street Journal | December 31st, 2003

Nielsen to Follow Popularity of Product Placement on Prime-Time Television
Meg James | Los Angeles Times | December 5th, 2003

Nielsen to Follow Popularity of Product Placement on Prime-Time Television
Meg James | Los Angeles Times | December 5th, 2003

On ABC, Sears Pays to Be Star Of New Series
Stuart Elliott | The New York Times | December 3rd, 2003

Publication Image
Brian Steinberg and Emily Nelson | Wall Street Journal | November 30th, 2003

Industry Fights Back On Product Placement
Bill Carter | The New York Times | November 14th, 2003

Commercial Alert Response: Placement Comes Under FTC Review
Claire Atkinson | Advertising Age | October 27th, 2003

Media & Marketing -- Advertising: AOL Aims to Break Out of the Box; Fresh Ad Funds Target Ways to Reach TV Viewers Tuning Out Commercials
Suzanne Vranica and Julia Angwin | Wall Street Journal | October 22nd, 2003

Group Criticizes Product Placement
Stuart Elliott | The New York Times | September 30th, 2003

Placements Push to Front; Wide Range of Advertisers Play More Sophisticated Product
Janet Stilson | Advertising Age | June 9th, 2003

Going Hollywood: Beverage Companies are Dealing with Advertising Overload with Less Traditional Tie-
Mark R. Greer | Beverage Industry | April 30th, 2003

Altered Reality
Stuart Elliott | The New York Times | March 12th, 2003

Digitally Inserted Ads Pop Up in World Series
Michael McCarthy | USA Today | October 18th, 2002

Product Placements Go Interactive in Video Games
Matt Richtel | The New York Times | September 17th, 2002

A Word From Our Sponsor? He's Here Now
Stuart Elliott | The New York Times | June 30th, 2002

Celebrities Help `Educate' Public On New Drugs
David P. Hamilton | Wall Street Journal | April 22nd, 2002

Coming: Jay Leno and the Lincolns --- In Return for Big Ad Dollars, Talk Show Will Work Cars From Fo
Suzanne Vrancia | Wall Street Journal | March 31st, 2002

'All My Children' Gets Revlon Twist
Joe Flint and Emily Nelson | Wall Street Journal | March 15th, 2002

Ads Are Here, There, Everywhere
Michael McCarthy | USA Today | June 19th, 2001

Coke Leads Push to Place Products in Movies, TV
Scott Leith | Atlanta Journal and Constitution | October 29th, 2000

On CBS News, Some of What You See Isn't There
Alex Kuczynski | The New York Times | January 12th, 2000

Real or Virtual? You Call It; Digital Sleight of Hand Can Put Ads Almost Anywhere
Stuart Elliott | The New York Times | September 30th, 1999

External Links

Hiding a Television Commercial in Plain View
Stuart Elliott, The New York Times | May 24, 2002

A Video Process Allows the Insertion of Brand-name Products in TV Shows Already on Film
Stuart Elliott, The New York Times | March 29, 1999

A TV Series Supported by Product Placements Falls through for Lack of a Second Sponsor
Stuart Elliott , The New York Times | March 14, 2003

Reruns May Become a Testing Ground for Digital Insertion of Sponsor's Products and Images
Stuart Elliott, The New York Times | May 23, 2001

Here's Reality: 'Idol' Feeds Hopefuls to a Shaky Music Business
Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times | January 23, 2003

Group Criticizes Product Placement
The New York Times | October 1, 2003

Madison + Vine: Product Integrators Tackle Learning Curve; Marriages of Marketers, Media are Hot, but Risks are Still Plenty
Wayne Friedman, Advertising Age | October 21, 2002

NBC Casts Vegas Casino in a Starring Role
Binkley & Nelson, The Wall Street Journal | August 5, 2003

Incorporating Consumer Promotion is Key in Maximizing Product Integration
Entertainment Marketing Letter | April 15, 2003

Fox Sports Specialty: Product 'Immersion'; Net Inks Tie-ins with Snapple, Labatt, Lincoln
Richard Linnett, Advertising Age | January 20, 2003

This Space Available: On 'The Runner,' ABC's Upcoming Reality TV Show, Advertisers Can Shape the Plot
Johnnie L. Roberts, Newsweek | May 7, 2001

WB Yet Again Leans on the 'Young' and Cliched
Eric Mink, Daily News (New York) | July 12, 2000

TV's New Teen Drama Gives Starring Role to Coke --- What $6 Million Can Buy: Soft Drink Is Everywhere In WB's Prep-School Saga
Joe Flint, The Wall Street Journal | July 12, 2000

Embedded Ads in TV Stories
The Christian Science Monitor | October 1, 2003

Not-so-hidden Persuaders; A Word from Your Sponsor is Now a Part of the Show Itself
Douglas Durden, Richmond Times Dispatch | August 17, 2002

'Passions' Product Pitch ; NBC, Avon Weave New Cosmetics Line Into Soap Opera's Story
Leslie Ryan, Television Week | July 28, 2003

Sci-Fi Pioneers Placement Deal; In 'Unique Model' OMD Buys All Time on Cable Channel's Spring 2004 'Six Days' Miniseries
Louis Chunovic, Television Week | June 9, 2003

Ruben's Big Night on Idol Plays Small
Vinay Menon, Toronto Star | May 23, 2003

Facing the Music; American Idol Wraps up with Two-hour Finale
Bill Brioux, Winnipeg Sun (Manitoba, Canada)

Disney Sells a $1-Billion Ad Package; Multi-network, Multi-advertiser Deal Involves All of its Units and May be the Largest Ever in the Industry
Meg James, Los Angeles Times | June 11, 2002

Coors Tap Flows Freely on TV Show
Bill Husted, The Denver Post | July 27, 2003

Advertisers Reject Consumer Group's Claim That More Regulation Is Needed
Marla Matzer Rose, The Hollywood Reporter | April 20, 2004

Advertisers Reject Consumer Group's Claim That More Regulation Is Needed
Marla Matzer Rose, The Hollywood Reporter | April 20, 2004