Apparently without thinking twice about the regulatory implications, French speaking Belgian channel Club RTL devoted a day to “The Real Thing.”
Who: RTL-TVI of Belgium and the Conseil Superieur de l’audiovisuel ("CSA")
When: April 2000
Apparently without thinking twice about the regulatory implications, French speaking Belgian channel Club RTL devoted a day to "The Real Thing." The channel’s logo was tweaked to look like that of Coca Cola, a new male presenter appeared to have been dressed and paid by Coca Cola, the look of the main studio was changed and a programme about Coca Cola in Atlanta was broadcast. The regulatory arm of the CSA fined RTL over £60,000 for breaking sponsorship rules forbidding sponsors’ interference with editorial and the appearance of their logos in programming. The fine was especially large, it was said, because of the surreptitious nature of the advertising, although some might say this was the last thing to be said for it.
Why this matters:
TV sponsorship in Europe is governed by a Directive and this level of brand prominence would clearly have been contrary to the rules in most if not all EU states. However, RTL plans to appeal, and since appeal processing takes from 3 to 6 years, the saga may not be over just yet.