Has product placement ever been properly done?

The influence of product placement on the consumer behavior of film viewers


1 Introduction
1.1 Research goal
1.2 State of research
1.3 Research questions
1.4 hypotheses

2. theory
2.1 Definitions
2.1.1 Product placement
2.1.2 Buying behavior
2.1.3 Branded goods and brand awareness
2.2 Studies

3. empiricism
3.1 Study design
3.1.1 Study design of the content analysis
3.1.2 Study design of the survey
3.2 Operationalization
3.3 Research Results
3.3.1 Demography
3.3.2 Buying behavior and brand awareness
3.3.3 Perception of Product Placement
3.3.4 Product Placement Reminder
3.3.5 Settings for Product Placement
3.4 Hypothesis verification
3.4.1 Perception
3.4.2 Reminder
3.4.3 Buying behavior

4. Conclusion
4.1 Summary
4.2 Conclusion
4.3 Outlook



1 Introduction

Alternative forms of advertising such as Product placement booming. Because: The number of advertising messages is increasing, but with it the number of advertising-flooded, advertising-fleeing society. “Too much and boring” was the result of the European GfK study on attitudes towards advertising in 2003[1].

With Product placement Advertisers seem to have found a way to integrate products and brands into the film plot as a natural part of social life without disturbing viewers. But: is the message really getting through to the audience? Does product placement offer an incentive to buy?

The research goal, the current state of research, and the research questions and hypotheses are presented below.

1.1 Research goal

The aim of this work is to examine the influence of media templates on consumer behavior using the example of Product placement to discuss. The investigation aims firstly to show whether the conscious placement of branded products in films by the television audience perceived becomes. Second, whether the audience is interested in the products recall. And third, whether Product placement the audience to purchase stimulates.

From the point of view of interdisciplinary communication research, the work should dare to take a small step towards closing a research gap. Because: companies see in the Product placement an instrument to increase sales. Reese's Pieces, for example, reported an increase in sales of 65% after the film "ET", Red Stripe Beer after the film "Die Firma" an increase of 53% and Ray Ban recorded without having followed a classic advertising line at the same time an increase in sales of 25%.[2] In fact, from a scientific point of view, there are no representative studies that confirm the success of Product Placem measure ent systematically and objectively.

The aim of the present work is therefore - albeit unfortunately not on a representative basis - to provide information about the effect that the placement of branded products in feature films has on the audience and whether the purchasing behavior is caused by Product placement can actually be influenced.

1.2 State of research

(A) The investigation is based on the following fields from the Advertising impact research:

- AIDA model by Lewis 1898
- IMPACT model from Steffenhagen 1984
- STAS model from Jones 1995
- IMAGE model from Mazarec 1978

The greatly simplified AIDA model according to Elmo Lewis divides the purchase decision process into four phases: attention, interest, desire and purchase. That's why the Structure of the hypotheses built according to this model.

The IMPACT model according to Steffenhagen states that the more popular the advertising object, the more likely it is to buy a product. The consumer makes his decision based on the brand awareness hierarchy in his memory[3]. This assumption initially served as a hypothesis, but was then only integrated into the survey as a question of attitude due to operationalization problems.

The STAS model according to Jones makes the assumption that advertising can lead to short-term sales. The STAS factor measures the percentage by which the probability of buying a brand through TV advertising contacts increases in the seven days prior to the purchase[4]. According to this model, it would be possible to buy products that are placed in films and arouse personal interest after the film has been shown. Unfortunately, this model could not be used in the present work due to the complex experimental set-up.

The IMAGE model after Mazanec is based on the idea that the highest preference for a brand - and thus the purchase of the brand - is achieved when the product image best matches one's own lifestyle[5]. This model also ultimately failed due to operationalization difficulties, but could be included in the survey as an attitude question.

(B) Furthermore, the present study builds on the following Studies which are presented in more detail in the following chapter:

- "TEAM 9" 1985
- "Harbrücker / Wiedmann study" 1987
- "Auer / Kalweit / Nüssler" 1988
- "Schoch Study" 1998

(C) The main focus of the present work is based on the fundamentals of buyer behavior from marketing research, in particular on Sherif's "INVOLVEMENT" concept Muzafer and Cantril Hadley from 1945. It says that buying behavior depends on the degree of personal involvement. This concept is also explained in more detail in the theory chapter.

In summary, the present work tries to build a bridge between advertising, product placement and marketing research under aspects of communication science in order to finally make statements about the buying behavior of consumers who are interested in Product placement to be confronted in films, to be able to do.

1.3 Research questions

(1) perception Are targeted brands in films perceived by the recipient?
(2) memory Can the recipient remember specifically placed brands?
(3) Buying behavior Can product placement encourage people to buy the products placed?

1.4 hypotheses

(1) perception The more pronounced the recipients' brand awareness, the more they perceive branded products presented in films.

Theoretical background: Study by Harbrücker / Wiedmann 1987 and Häring 2001

The authors emphasize that the use of product placement requires a minimum of brand awareness in order to be recognized successfully[6]. Lesser-known brands were remembered more poorly in the study than well-known ones. HÄRING takes the same position in 2001: "Only established branded products with a high recognition value can be noticed in 20 seconds, spread over a 90-minute film. "[7] Another study - “TEAM 9” from 1985 - was based on the assumption that a high level of awareness before the film would result in higher recognition after the film.

From these approaches it can be inferred for the hypothesis that a more pronounced brand awareness - i.e. greater knowledge and engagement with brands - has a higher recognition value than a less pronounced one and thus branded products can be better perceived in films.

(2) memory The higher the appreciation, the higher the memory of products in films - that is Purchase risk - is classified in the associated product category.

Theoretical background: "Involvement“Concept by Muzafer / Hadley 1945 and Kroeber-Riel / Weinberg 1999

Muzafer and Hadley introduced the term “involvement” in attitude research. This describes the “totality of motives, feelings and attitudes”, speaks of the “I-participation” of a person and is based on the concept of “I-content”.

"These I-contents, these things, people, behavior, different norms create for the individual his judgment standards or reference systems, which determine his social behavior and reactions to a considerable extent. And when the individual consciously or unconsciously adds any stimulus or a situation relates, then there is probably 'I-participation'."[8]

The degree of involvement is determined by what is perceived subjectively Purchase risk marked[9].

A high purchase risk means a higher appreciation and a higher purchase value of the product.

From this concept it can be concluded for the hypothesis that a highly estimated purchase risk results in a higher interest in certain product groups and a higher readiness for information and thus has a better memory performance for brands in the product group.

(3) Buying behavior The more pronounced that Brand awareness of recipients, the more likely they are to make a purchase through Product placement animated.

Theoretical background: "Emotional Branding" concept

The focus of the consideration is not the function of the brand, but the emotion that stands behind it. Feelings should be staged and conveyed. Product placement, which is supposed to convey feelings to the audience, is seen as a suitable staging channel.

The following conclusion can be drawn for the hypothesis: People who are brand-conscious are more approachable for product placement in films and are more likely to be encouraged to buy by the brands presented in films.

2. theory

In this chapter, relevant terms such as product placement, purchase decision process, brand and brand awareness are explained in more detail. Furthermore, the studies already mentioned above regarding the topic will be briefly presented.

2.1 Definitions

2.1.1 Product placement

Product placement is one of the alternative forms of advertising, so-called “below-the-line” advertising activities. According to SCHWEIGER / SCHRATTENECKER, product placement is referred to as the "targeted placement of branded articles in the action of cinema films and television programs for a fee"[10]. HARBRÜCKER and WIEDMANN extend this definition to radio plays, editorial contributions on television, literary works and public events[11]. Branded articles are thus integrated acoustically or visually into the film story.

American Hollywood in the 1930s with the silent film "The Torrent" is counted as a historic early start. The film “The Maturity Exam” is a prime example of product placement.

The most important goals of product placement are the targeted advertising addressing of the recipients, image transfer from the actor to the product and mission statement function. Image transfer means the transfer of an image from the actor to a product.

The role model function means the fact that recipients want to get closer to the performers by buying products.

2.1.2 Buying behavior

Marketing research divides the purchase decision process into five phases:

- problem detection
- Information search and evaluation
- purchase decision
- Purchase
- Post-purchase evaluation

However, because not all purchase decisions are made identically, a distinction is made between high and low involvement decisions - as described in detail for the hypothesis presentation. According to this concept, the higher the "intellectual engagement", the more likely the purchase is.

With extensive buying behavior, the consumer searches and evaluates the purchase of a product for a long time and intensively.

In the case of limited buying behavior, the consumer does not necessarily search and evaluate for a long time, but nevertheless acts more rationally than spontaneously. The purchase is more likely to be driven by the experience with the product. Positive experiences usually prevent the search and evaluation of alternative offers.

In the case of habitual purchasing behavior, the consumer usually has preconceived purchasing decisions and tends to be brand loyalty.

In the case of purchasing behavior looking for variety, the consumer tends to try out new products despite the low level of involvement. This group can easily be persuaded to try out products, so they tend to change brands.

With impulsive buying behavior, the consumer tends to make spontaneous, unplanned purchases.

The most important factors influencing consumer behavior are external factors (business cycle, marketing), culture (preferences, classes), social factors (reference groups, roles), personal factors (demographics) and psychological criteria (motivation, perception, attitudes). This list shows how complex the purchase decision process really is in reality and how difficult it is to make general statements.

Figure not included in this excerpt

Tab. 1: Involvement concept (source: www.br-online.de)

2.1.3 Branded goods and brand awareness

Since product placement is mainly carried out with branded articles, this term needs to be clarified first.

BÖCKER defines branded articles as products that are characterized by "are identified by a well-known brand, have a high and consistent level of quality and are generally available "[12].

Brands are characterized by special properties and have increasingly changed functionally to represent their own personality.

According to the brand specialist Kevin Lane KELLER is a brand "a bundle of benefits with specific characteristics that ensure that this bundle of benefits is differentiated from other bundles of benefits that meet the same basic needs from the perspective of relevant target groups "[13].

The Infratest 1988 asked German consumers what the term brand means to them. The top three answers were quality, manufacturer reference and product awareness[14].

From the consumer's point of view, a brand offers orientation aid, guarantees quality, sets trends and offers identification and group membership.

On the expert platform www.marke.at, the brand is seen less from a functional than from an emotional point of view. The focus is on "Emotional Branding". Brands are "staged in a tangible way" and should "radiate feelings".

Brand awareness is understood to be the subjective awareness of customers for the importance of brands. For example, it can be measured in terms of brand loyalty and brand trust.

2.2 Studies

- "TEAM 9" 1985[15]

The focus of this study was the level of awareness of products and their recognition after a film showing.

The result of the study was a high recognition value after the film, if brand awareness goes hand in hand with it before the film. However, the study also provided results that differed from this finding. Products were also recognized that did not appear in the film - due to the likelihood of confusing similar products.

- "Harbrücker / Wiedmann study" 1987

The focus of this study was on recognizing, remembering and accepting placed products in the film. The test series was divided into two parts: one group was informed about the aim of the study, the second remained unexplained.

As a result, the study delivered a high recall value by 80% of the respondents. Building on this, the authors provided recommendations for effective product placement. The following statement is most relevant for this context: a certain degree of awareness is a prerequisite for the successful placement of products.

- "Auer / Kalweit / Nüssler" 1988

The focus of this study was to determine whether product placement can change attitudes. The participants remained unexplained about the purpose. Three test films were shown and the settings were measured on a seven-digit scale.

As a result of the study, the dependency of the attitude on the action reference of the placed products as well as the recognition.

- "Russell Study" 2002

The focus of this Swiss study was on the level of awareness and image of product placement as well as the attitude towards this topic. Two test films were shown.

The result of the study was a perception and recall value of 53% of the respondents. The attitude towards product placement was mostly rated as unobtrusive and original.

3. empiricism

3.1 Study design

In this chapter the subject, the methods and the structure of the investigation are presented.

3.1.1 Study design of the content analysis

The subject of the investigation was the influence of Product placement in films on the consumer behavior of the audience.

First a suitable selection of films had to be made that Product placement contained. The box office database was used as an aid, providing a list of the world's most successful cinema films - calculated from the income from the cinema film during the cinema showing time[16]. The Germany-wide box office index was used as a comparison[17], because unfortunately there are no comparable Austrian data. On the basis of this data, a total of 1566 films were determined as a population for the years 2000 and 2002 to 2006. The random sample was finally selected using the random procedure, excluding animated or cartoons, and resulted in ten top cinema films for further analysis of the content.Ten films were therefore selected in order to ensure the greatest possible likelihood of completing and remembering the questionnaire. The following figure is intended to summarize the study design:

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Tab. 2: Own representation: Selection of the top 100 films in Germany and worldwide

After the films had been selected, a content analysis (of the DVDs) was carried out from April 16 to 29, 2007. Due to the large number of films, a detailed film sequence analysis was dispensed with. Some of the selected feature films had a lot of product placement. It was therefore necessary to make a selection of placed branded products that could actually find their way into the questionnaire. The following selection criteria were therefore chosen:

- Verbal product placement
- placed products that are integrated as part of the storyline
- placed products that are directly related to the performers
- placed products that are symbolically drawn across the entire film

Together with another student, an individual list of perceived product placement according to the criteria mentioned was carried out independently of one another as part of the parallel test procedure. This should guarantee the reliability of the investigation. The following table gives an overview of the consistent perceived products placed in the selected films (Tab. 3: Own representation: overview of the films and brands).

Example film sequence analysis:

Movie DVD: The Italian Job

sequence: 06:31 to 06:33

content: Two men with diving equipment try to break into a safe. One man marks the safe with chalk, the other man sets the stopwatch on his watch.

Product placement: The "G-Shock" watch can be clearly seen in a close-up.

category: placed products that are directly related to the performers.

Figure not included in this excerpt

The following illustration is intended to provide an overview of the content analysis procedure.

Figure not included in this excerpt

3.1.2 Study design of the survey

In order to be able to measure the influence of product placement in films on the consumer behavior of the audience, the written survey was chosen as an empirical research tool. 32,589 students admitted to the Vienna University of Economics and Business were selected as the population[18]. A pretest on June 2, 2007 with five students of journalism and communication science served as internal support to ensure the validity of the questionnaire. After the re-modeling of the questionnaire, a small sample of 45 students was then interviewed in writing at random on the main building of the business university on June 4, 2007. The following presentation is intended to give an overview of the empirical approach to the survey.

Figure not included in this excerpt

The questionnaire is divided into the following research-relevant categories:

- Buying behavior and brand awareness (part 1: complex of questions 1 to 4)
- Perception and unsupported memory (part 2: complex of questions 5 and 6)
- Aided memory (part 3: complex of questions 7)
- Attitudes towards product placement and demographics (part 4: complex of questions 8 to 10)

The first part relates to the involvement theory. The aim is to classify the respondents in the group of high or low buying types involved and to gradually grasp their brand awareness. Furthermore, the part is intended to provide information on whether and in which consumer group the respondents have ever been encouraged to buy through product placement. The questions are closed. Questions 1 and 2 are interval scaled from 1 to 5. Questions 3 and 4 are nominally scaled.

The second part is intended to measure the respondents' perception and long-term memory performance of the products placed in the selected films. Question set 5 consists of closed, nominally scaled questions. Question set 6 consists of open questions.

The third part is intended to measure the respondents' aided recall performance. The brand products determined by content analysis were used as parameters, which - if remembered - should be assigned to the ten selected feature films. The aim is to empirically relate memory performance to the theoretical image model.

The fourth part is intended to measure attitudes towards product placement, especially the personal assessment of product placement as an alternative form of advertising. The questions are closed. Question 8 is nominally scaled and question 9 is interval scaled.

Finally, the fifth part is intended to provide information on the demographic distribution of the respondents.

3.2 Operationalization

This chapter deals with the procedure for making the hypotheses made measurable in the written questionnaire. The different types of buying behavior were operationalized as follows, based on the theory:

- Limited buying behavior: If I have had good experiences with a product, I will buy it again.
- Buying behavior seeking variety: I like to buy new products.
- Impulsive buying behavior: I mostly buy spontaneously and unplanned.
- Habitual buying behavior: I am used to mostly buying the same products.
- Extensive buying behavior: I think long and hard and gather information before I buy a product.
- After determining the purchasing behavior, the purchase animation is measured in the eleven consumer groups, e.g. Have you ever bought a product in the "Sports goods" category because you saw it in a film?


[1] Source: http://www.presseportal.de/story.htx?nr=486662

[2] Source: http://www.product-placement.com/4690/index.html?*session*id*key*=*session*id*val*

[3] Source: http://www.kress.de/medialexikon/fml.php?id=2564

[4] Source: http://www.wu-wien.ac.at/werbung/download/Forschungsbericht05/Werbewirkungsforschung.pdf

[5] Source: http://www.voellm.ch/PVW-Werbung.pdf

[6] Harbrücker / Wiedmann (1985): Product Placement. Mannheim. Pp. 50-69

[7] HÄRING 2001, p. 40 quoted from http://www.wu-wien.ac.at/werbung/download/Diplomarbeiten_Dissertationen/Product_Placement_in_Osterreich_Koller_Pemp_2003.pdf

[8] Source: http://relaunch.medialine.de/PM1D/PM1DB/PM1DBF/pm1dbf_koop.htm?snr=2752

[9] Kroeber-Riel, Werner / Weinberg, Peter (1999): Consumer behavior. 7th edition, Munich: Verlag Vahlen. P. 360ff.

[10] Schweiger, Günther / Schrattenecker, Gertraud (1995): Advertising. Stuttgart: p. 20.

[11] Harbrücker / Wiedmann quoted from Reisinger, Claudia (2001)

[12] Böcker, Franz (1996): Marketing. Stuttgart, 6th edition: p. 197.

[13] Source: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markenartikel

[14] Source: http://www.marcuswertz.de/MA_MarcusWertz.pdf (p. 17)

[15] Source: http://www.wu-wien.ac.at/werbung/download/Diplomarbeiten_Dissertationen/Product_Placement_in_Osterreich_Koller_Pemp_2003.pdf

[16] www.worldwideboxoffice.com

[17] www.insidekino.com

[18] Source: https://learn.wu-wien.ac.at/

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