Lorraine show fashion guru accused of plugging Debenhams on air does NOT favour brand in his segments, department store says
Mark Heyes accused of favouritism towards department store who pay him as brand ambassador
Source suggested he uses too much of store's clothing in his weekly slotBut department store says Heyes uses Debenhams entirely in line with other big brands on the show
10:39 GMT, 28 June 2012
Debenhams has come out to defend a freelance television stylist accused of plugging their brand on air.
Reports in the Mirror suggested that Mark Heyes, a fashion expert on ITV's Lorraine who is also employed as a brand ambassador for Debenhams, seemed to show favouritism towards the department store over other brands during his weekly slot.
They also noted that Heyes sits on a judging panel for Lorraine's annual High Street Fashion Awards, which for the past two years has crowned Debenhams Best Department Store.
But Debenhams outright deny the claims of favouritism, saying in a statement that Mark uses Debenhams' products 'entirely in line with the other big brands he uses on the show.'
They also point out that the Best Department Store award is decided by public vote and that Heyes' role with Debenhams outside the show does not affect editorial decisions.
Mark Heyes, a fashion expert on ITV's Lorraine who is also employed as a brand ambassador for Debenhams has been warned about product placement
A source at the Mirror said that producers had warned Heyes that continual mentions of particular brands represents a potential conflict of interest.
They said: 'Mark has used Debenhams on screen in the past but
one of the executives raised the issue with regards to his relationship
with the brand and his on-screen job.
'After that there were some serious conversations and Mark has been reminded about what he can and cannot do.'
But Debenhams said today that their relationship with Mark is something that has always been out in the open, and something that has never crossed any editorial lines.
'We have a professional relationship with Mark that ITV have always been aware of,' a spokesman told MailOnline.
'It is wrong to suggest that this positively influences his decisions and the Lorraine Show came to the same conclusion.'
'We remain proud of our Department Store of the Year win especially as this award was voted directly by Lorraine viewers.'
Screen stylist: Mark with models showcasing some of his high street ensembles
ITV bosses are reported to have said that it is important that there is no favouritism for any brand on the show and products should be selected on the way they look, not on which label they come from.
They highlighted that since 2010 rules had become stricter as Ofcom altered its guidelines for product placement on TV.
Any matters regarding prohibited references to products and services must now be discussed and resolved with the talent and their agent.
The spokesperson added: 'ITV ensures that all of its talent are aware of and comply with the Ofcom code on product placement and undue prominence. This is an ongoing dialogue.'
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