Marketers are increasingly using brand placement (a.k.a. product placement), the (paid) inclusion of branded products or brand identifiers through audio and/or visual means within mass media content (television shows, movies, books, songs, etc.) to deliver their commercial messages more persuasively than through traditional advertising. This research proposal extends two basic brand placement frameworks with seminal advertising effectiveness theories (e.g., persuasion knowledge, accessibility-diagnosticity, priming) to develop an integrative framework incorporating relevant brand placement characteristics that, until now, have largely been ignored.
The research proposes a series of 4 studies, including 4 different types of moderators: characteristics of the brand placement (e.g., prominence, plot connection), context effects (e.g., programme perceptions), integrated marketing communication (e.g., interaction with other forms of communication, such as traditional advertising) and disclosure (the explicit revelation that brands in the programme or movie are placed in return for sponsorship or payment). In each of the studies, different dependent variables (brand recall, attitude toward the brand, purchase intention, attitude towards brand placements, consumer activation, etc.) are measured. That way, the proposed research should enable us to develop a comprehensive framework on the effectiveness of brand placement, studied from different perspectives.
In the first study, relevant brand placement characteristics (e.g., length, position on screen, character interaction, etc.) are charted based on a content analysis. Through qualitative research (focus group discussions and in-depth interviews), we assess how viewers process brand placements with varied characteristics. Next, we test how combinations of different characteristics contribute to brand placement effectiveness in a series of field researches and experiments.
A second study investigates to what degree the effectiveness of different brand placement characteristics may be context-dependent. Whether someone likes or dislikes the programme, can influence the reaction tpwards the placements in the programme. The programme genre (thriller, comedy) may also play a role. Through a number of field and lab experiments, we investigate the interaction between characteristics of the placement and characteristics of the context, on relevant effectiveness measures.
In a third study, the interaction of brand placement and other communication formats (e.g., traditional advertising) is researched. How can communication enhance the effect of brand placements, or can communication for competing brands cause confusion? The content (e.g., endorser) and the timing of the communication are also considered.
The fourth study includes a series of related experiments on the effects of disclosure (the explicit revelation that brands are placed in the programme or movie in return for sponsoring or payment) on various outcomes (persuasion knowledge, brand placement effectiveness, programme liking, attitude toward brand placements, etc.). The research will manipulate disclosure in different ways: disclosure vs. no disclosure, timing of disclosure (before, during, after programme), level of disclosure (generic, general product category, brand specific) and disclosure modality (visual, auditory, audiovisual).