While watching your favorite TV programs, music videos, or movies, have you ever noticed that many things are intentionally blurred?
If you have, you must have wondered why there are stickers covering laptop or mobile phone logos? Or why are some T-shirts pixelated?
This is not just limited to apparel and gadgets. Even the food items, like crisps and beer cans, etc., are also kept veiled.
There are many technicalities behind this practice, which we will shed light on in complete detail.
Why are some things blurred out in TV shows?
The act of blurring or pixelating certain things on TV is referred to as product displacement, or you can also call it reverse product placement.
Here are all the primary reasons behind product displacement.
1. Precautionary Measure
Did you know that it is completely legal to use brand names or logos of the actual products in TV shows, movies, or other fictional works?
However, there are several ways you can get into legal trouble. Therefore, producers exercise caution by avoiding the display of such things.
Producers are meticulous when the project has a constricted budget because they cannot afford to cause involuntary misdeed to the brand’s name.
Not only these legal clashes can eat up a lot of time, but they can also cause a massive dent in the pocket. That’s why it is one of the major reasons for blurring out stuff on TV.
2. Marketable Interests
The second reason is that it can provide free advertising to the brand. In today’s era, when every other brand happily avails the options of paid digital advertising for their products, it would be absurd and somewhat stupid to provide free-of-cost advertising to any brand.
That’s why programs and shows hide all the logos of known companies to avoid giving them free airtime.
Sometimes, producers reach out to brands to discuss paid promotional opportunities.
While most of the time, the brands refuse to accept such offers, they sometimes concede to them.
This is why some brands are not just shown but specifically focused on throughout the movie/show.
Furthermore, every channel or TV show usually has several sponsors already paying money for ad spots.
If the network starts giving free airtime to other brands, that would be highly unfair to the sponsors.
3. Conflict of Interest with Paid Sponsors
As we just said, every network, production house, or TV show has some specific sponsors. Sometimes, the blurred-out logos or brand names belong to the companies that are arch-rivals of those sponsors.
Therefore, producers must blur out any such detail that could disappoint the sponsors and turn them away.
Imagine a TV show that gets a massive chunk of sponsorship from Mercedes alone. It’s evident that it would avoid showing Mercedes’s rivals at any cost.
4. Copyright Infringement
A lot of content, especially creative and artistic, is usually copyrighted. Such content includes compositions, lyrics, designs, architecture, and more.
While brand names and logos don’t always require the owner’s permission, copyrighted work cannot be used without approval.
In addition, sometimes producers even have to pay for using trademarked work.
If someone still goes ahead and uses someone else’s copyrighted work without seeking consent, it means they are involved in a copyright violation.
Make no mistake, this can have deadly consequences, so it should be taken very seriously.
The content owner could file a lawsuit that could result in losing so much more than what is gained.
That’s why producers either seek proper approval for using copyrighted content or just ditch the idea altogether.
5. Negative Portrayal
Lastly, there is always a possibility that a specific brand name or logo is being perceived by the audience in a negative light.
Even if the show or program doesn’t even intend to portray it negatively, it’s up to the audience how they take it.
For example, a negative character using a specific brand of shoes/clothes, etc., could make people dislike the brand. And quite possibly, it would affect its sales as well.
Therefore, producers prefer blurring out these things on TV because it could result in a major lawsuit.
Why do TV shows use fake brands?
You may have noticed that a lot of movies and TV shows create their own fictional brands that bear a striking resemblance to real ones. But, they come with enough difference to save them from getting sued.
Mimicking is preferred instead of creating entirely new brands because the audience can quickly relate to the original brand.
Why do they blur shirts in music videos?
The reasons for blurring shirts in music videos are the same as described above. Nobody wants legal action against them simply to show a brand’s logo.
Also, producers don’t want to give free exposure to certain brands if they are not getting paid in return.