The BBC News channel has got a roasting from the corporation’s editorial standards board for giving what amounted to free advertising for Starbucks’ olive oil coffee drink.
The BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) upheld a complaint from a viewer who said that a February 23 report on Oleato coffee was “blatant promotion.”
The BBC has strict rules prohibiting advertising and promotion because it is funded by the British public through the license fee. The BBC does carry editorial content on new commercial products but it must be careful not to stray into promoting the goods.
The BBC News channel failed in this regard because of “lingering or repetitious” references to Starbucks’ branding and the positive tone of the reporting, the ECU said.
The complaints unit said: “In the ECU’s judgement, the frequent appearances on screen of the Starbucks’ name and logo were beyond what was editorially justifiable in the context and, in combination with commentary from the reporter which tended to cast the product in a favourable light, went too far towards creating the impression of endorsement or promotion the Guidelines caution against.”
The Starbucks report was raised with BBC management and discussed with the journalists concerned.