BBC defends apparent 'plugging' of BlackBerry phones in latest Apprentice task

The Apprentice 2011 candidates

The BBC has defended the apparent 'plugging' on BlackBerry smart phones in the latest episode of Te Apprentice 2011. The second task in this year's show saw the candidates challenged with creating and pitching a new mobile app, but the program has caused complaints from some.

"Is The Apprentice sponsored by BlackBerry?" read one complaint while another said: "I thought the BBC couldn't do product placement? BlackBerry to the max?"

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While product placement was allowed on UK telly for the first time from March this year, the license-fee funded BBC is banned from taking payment for placement of brands and products

A BBC spokesman confirmed to the Daily Mail that there was no product placement deal with BlackBerry, but dismissed the complaints from some viewers.

"The task was to develop a mobile phone application so the use of phone brands was necessary to demonstrate the product and was therefore editorially justified," the spokesperson said.

He added: "A number of different types of mobile devices were used within the programme and this was in line with the BBC's editorial guidelines."

The episode saw the girls Venture team, led by Edna, win the task with 10,000 downloads of their Ampi Apps application.

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