TomTom GO LIVE Top Gear edition cancelledEnlarge Photo
Earlier this week, we told you about a new, Top Gear-branded satnav system from TomTom. Unfortunately, someone failed to clear the licensing of Jeremy Clarkson's voice with BBC's editorial staff, and now, TomTom has been forced to cease production of the devices.
It's a classic problem of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing. BBC Worldwide's commercial arm gave TomTom the go-ahead to produce the Top Gear-branded units, but the division failed to check with BBC's editorial team before doing so. If it had, it would've discovered that there's a "conflict of interest" provision that covers all current BBC employees (like Clarkson) and prevents them from endorsing or appearing to endorse "any product or service which could be covered in the programmes on which they work".
Translation: since Top Gear is a car program, it's very reasonable to assume that the show might cover satnav systems like those from TomTom. Even if Clarkson & Co. avoided mentioning TomTom by name, any coverage of other systems might look suspect, given his implicit endorsement of TomTom. Thus ends the very short story of the TomTom GO LIVE Top Gear edition.
But there is an upside -- two, in fact. First, the 54,000 Top Gear units that TomTom has already distributed won't be recalled. If you're lucky enough to find one on the shelves (or, presumably, on eBay), it's yours to keep.
Second, BBC Worldwide has opted to forego any profits it might've seen from the sale of devices and will donate those monies to a charity, BBC Children in Need. TomTom will make a contribution to the organization, too. That's good news to everyone but Clarkson, who won't see a dime.