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YouGov has today released findings from a study into acceptable subjects for TV advertising.

In response to calls from The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons for the advertising of cosmetic surgery procedures to be banned, the research company polled 1693 adults in the UK via an online survey.

Unsurprisingly, cosmetic surgery procedures, cigarettes, gambling, payday loans, abortion providers, prescription drugs and debt finance solutions were placed clearly in the ‘shouldn’t allowed to be advertised on television’ category. 

While alcoholic drinks (50% would allow), political parties (58% allow, 36% disallow), fast food (61% allow, 33% disallow) and laser surgery providers (54% would allows) split opinion, with a marginally larger proportion of people saying they should be allowed to run TV ads.  

Most accepted in the TV advert stakes were children's toys, which just 15% would ban from TV advertising compared to 79% who would allow it, and 11% who think Universities shouldn't be allowed to have TV advertising, compared to 84% who think they should.

Though it’s interesting to see the difference of opinion in relation to different subjects, how will this change over time as 'TV' isn't just a box in the corner anymore?

Marketing and social media consultant Gemma Went said that with the rapid rise in second screen engagement - it's worth considering wider advertising such as promoted tweets across Twitter and Facebook ads that run when certain shows are on.

More people engage through tablets, smart phones and laptops while watching television than ever before and this data is making it far easier for advertisers to target these people in more innovative, and perhaps less expensive, ways. I'd like to see how people feel about this more targeted advertising through their social profiles compared to television advertising as time goes on."

As channels merge, will it become more acceptable to see an advert related to a controversial topic on a connected TV with unbiased, subject-related tweets and articles placed alongside them?

It's unlikely that any of the streaming and on-demand services are likely to create this environment any time soon. Advertisers probably aren't keen to open that door to brand-damaging feedback, especially in the areas mentioned above. But it's an interesting thought all the same.

The social media feeds that link into Zeebox and Red Bee Media's offerings aren't moderated, and show negative feedback in relation to TV shows. Isn't it only fair that advertisers should be put under the same scrutiny?

Vikki Chowney

Published 6 February, 2012 by Vikki Chowney

Vikki is head of community at TMW. You can follow her on Twitter or Google+

249 more posts from this author

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