Showdown in Berlin: DLA Piper successfully defends “Germany's Next Topmodel” for ProSieben before the Administrative Court
DLA Piper has successfully represented Seven.One Entertainment GmbH in two proceedings before the Administrative Court of Berlin. Specifically, the case concerned three product placements of the brands Maybelline and Gillette, which were shown as part of two seasons of the German TV show and modeling contest "Germany's Next Topmodel" broadcast in 2014 and 2015. The media authority Berlin-Brandenburg (mabb) had objected to the excessive prominence of the product placements, which has now been overruled by the court with legal effect.
While the product placements were permissible in principle (especially formally), the mabb objected that the products were highlighted too strongly, especially through scenes that appeared staged. In the court's view, however, storylines can be designed in a way that products take place in them organically. Only when the sequence is out of context and does not follow the editorial concept, a prohibition of excessive measures can take effect and lead to a ban. Despite the clear placement of the products, the chamber finds that the products are embedded in a suitable context (preparations of the models for shoots), in which they are the focus of the scene e.g. through close shots of the products, but not excessively. Further, the scenes did not appear out of context from the editorial concept.
The courts continue to enforce this clear line of the Federal Administrative Court from the Hasseröder case against the supervisory authorities, which for their part only want to permit product placements in exceptional cases. However, the view of the supervisory authority is disputable: product placements are - also according to legislation - an independent and in principle a lawful form of advertising.
The DLA Piper team comprised partners Prof Dr Stefan Engels (Advertising and Competition Law) and Dr Michael Stulz-Herrnstadt as well as senior associate Fabian Jeschke (both Public Commercial Law/Media Law, all Hamburg). In-house, the dispute was handled by Jürgen Harling.