The public TV program The Aviators has come under increased scrutiny from its distributor after Current revealed apparent product placement in the show’s on-air segments. Executive Producer Anthony Nalli removed a sponsorship page from the program’s website earlier this month after Current inquired about promises that sponsors could “expertly integrate their brands directly into the content of the show in a subtle, non-invasive and very effective manner.” Other pages on the site made similar offers. Nalli said the matter was a misunderstanding over wording. “I used the language of advertising, not of public television,” Nalli said.
Producers of The Aviators, a public TV series distributed by the National Educational Telecommunications Association, devoted a page of the program website to videos depicting opportunities for product placements by sponsors. The web page was removed after Current inquired about the unusual sponsorship marketing. Screenshots from the page are presented here. In an email to Current, Executive Producer Anthony Nalli explained the marketing strategies behind the descriptions and how FourPoints Television Productions worked with sponsors. Nalli writes: “Any time aviation gives back to the community, that’s the kind of positive message we feel is important to convey as part of the core mission of The Aviators.”
Nalli: This example referred “not so much a marketing point as it was a concern was that we would sensationalize their aircraft’s accident history.