Scandal as BBC gives £1m worth of advertising to chemical multinational for free
The BBC has had to move cameras in the London 2012 Olympic Park Studio after it became apparent that a billboard advertising Dow Chemicals could be seen during filming.
The blunder breaches BBC editorial standards and the exposure given to the company has been valued at around £1million, although one media executive has said that appearing during the Olympics broadcasting was equivalent to spending £2million on television advertising.
The media executive went on to say: “This is a coup, I think you could say it is invaluable given the nature of the event and the fact it was the opening ceremony of a once-in-a-lifetime event not available on commercial TV.”
The BBC allows for no sponsorship of live events since the BBC Trust ruled in 2008 that it was compromising its independence by doing so.
Production staff moved the cameras following the Olympics Opening Ceremony, during which the billboard – attached to the side of Westfield Shopping Centre – could be clearly seen. It was moved in time for the Olympics Breakfast programme that followed at 6am the next day.
Dow Chemicals struck a ten-year deal with the International Olympic Committee in 2010, for which it paid $100million. The deal was controversial, as some claim that Dow has links to the 1984 Bhopal disaster – a gas leak that killed over 15,000 people in India – and many called for the deal to be broken.