Party leaders taking part in the first of the historic televised election debates tonight have been warned against using product placement as a means of securing extra campaign funds.
The debate, which will see the main party leaders going head-to-head from 8.30pm in a Manchester studio, is the first chance voters have had to see the the three candidates in action against each other.
However, ITV bosses have taken steps to warn Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg that any attempt to use product placement will see candidates ejected from the studio.
A spokesperson for Coca-Cola said: “Obviously, this is extremely unwelcome news. We had signed a lucrative deal with the Lib Dems which would have seen Nick Clegg take a sip out of a Coke bottle after each question and proclaim: ‘it’s the real thing'”.
Meanwhile, sources inside the Conservative Party labelled rumours that David Cameron had agreed a deal to brush his teeth with Colgate halfway through the transmission as “ridiculous”.
Alistair Stewart, who will chair this evening’s policy insisted: “It’s not that we’re against product placement – if anything, we welcome recent legislation that makes it possible, and in particular, the fat wedges of cash it will bring us by being able advertise during our programmes.
“That said, we do think it might detract from the gravitas of the debate if the Prime Minister struggles to convey his policy on the NHS because he has a mouthful of Fruit Pastilles.”
Gordon Brown was quick to refute any such suggestions upon meeting the press at Downing Street this morning.
“The idea that we would Nissan cars our principles for the sake of campaign money, is quite frankly a little bit Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut.
“We’ve taken extra Wrigley’s Juicy Fruits to ensure that we have a strong, robust and viable argument to make. Indeed, if I had to compare our policy on education to anything, it would be the strong, delicious aroma of Bisto gravy.
“Aaah! Bisto!” concluded the Prime Minister.