Product placement in the psychology of advertising

In the present article will be considered by the international experience of using product placement in the film will be produced by the analysis of strengths and weaknesses of product placement, based on the examples of the placement of certain products, as well as in applications to work. You can read some interesting facts about the practice of using this phenomenon.

Product placement is a marketing strategy that has accidentally evolved a few decades ago. Nevertheless, the efficiency of the product placement has been spotted by professionals and since then various companies engage in product placement activities in various levels with varying efficiency. One of the main differences of product placement from other marketing strategies is the significance of factors contributing to it, such as context and environment within which the product is displayed or used. Product placement began in the nineteenth century. By the time Jules Verne published the adventure novel Around the World in Eighty Days, his fame had led transport and shipping companies to lobby to be mentioned in the story. Whether Verne was actually paid to do so, however, remains unknown. Self-advertising: A German countess holds a copy of the magazine Die Woche in her hands. The photo appeared in 1902 in an issue of Die Woche (detail of the actual photograph)With the arrival of photorich periodicals in the late 19th century, publishers found ways of lifting their paper's reputation by placing an actual copy of the magazine in photographs of prominent people. For example, the German magazine Die Woche in 1902 printed an article about a countess in her castle where she, in one of the photographs, held a copy of Die Woche in her hands. Product placement was a common feature of many of the earliest actualities and cinematic attractions that were the first ten years of cinema history. During the next four decades, Harrison's Reports frequently cited cases of on-screen brand-name products He condemned the practice as harmful to movie theaters. Publisher P. S. Harrison’ s editorials reflected his hostility towards product placement in films. An editorial in Harrison’s Reports criticized the collaboration between the Corona Typewriter company and First National Pictures when a Corona typewriter appeared in the film The Lost World. Harrison's Reports criticized several incidents of Corona typewriters appearing in mid- 1920s films.[1]

Recognizable brand names appeared in movies from cinema's earliest history. Before films were even narrative forms in the sense that they are recognized today, industrial concerns funded the making of what film scholar Tom Gunning described as "cinematic attractions", short films of one or two minutes. In the first decade or so of film (1895–1907) audiences attended films as "fairground attractions " interesting for their then- amazing visual effects. This format was better suited to product placement than narrative cinema. Gurevitch argued that early cinematic attractions have more in common with television advertisements in the 1950s than they do with traditional films. Gurevitch suggested that as a result, the relationship between cinema and advertising is intertwined, suggesting that cinema was in part the result of advertising and the economic advantage that it provided early film makers. Segrave detailed the industries that advertised in these early films. In the 1920s, Harrison's Reports published its first denunciation of that practice over Red Crown gasoline appearance in The Garage.

Advertising is all around us. Depending on whom you ask, the average American is exposed to hundreds if not thousands of commercial messages every day. TV advertising is of course one of the best- known forms of advertising, and we’ve all seen more TV ads than we can remember. Modern technology however, in the form of digital video recorders, allows us to skip through TV ads. This is one of the reasons

advertisers rely more and more on embedded marketing, or product placement. Product placement is the practice of embedding products within a TV program or film as a way to

promote those products. Product placement can be very successful, as shown by the 65% increase in Reese’s Pieces sales after its placement in E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, or the 50% increase in Red Stripe sales after its placement in The Firm. These figures show that product placement can have rather powerful effects on viewers, despite its seeming innocuousness. In fact,

product placements can be more powerful than we realize, making us implicitly prefer products even if we don’t explicitly prefer them. In this post I’m going to discuss how product placement influences our implicit cognitions to give you a better appreciation of how it affects us in ways we don’t consciously realize. After reading this, hopefully you’ll start to view placements differently, though to be quite honest it actually might not benefit you. Implicit attitudes are attitudes that unknowingly become associated with other attitude objects. Product placement can directly influence our implicit attitudes, such that our attitude toward a TV program or film becomes unknowingly associated with products placed in that TV program or film. Specifically, the emotions we experience while

watching the program are transferred to products placed in that program, though we’d be unaware of the transfer. If those emotions are positive we’ll implicitly prefer the products more, but if they’re negative we’ll implicitly prefer them less. When placements are less prominent, appearing only in the background of a scene, they may not even affect explicit attitudes (explicit attitudes are the attitudes we report on questionnaires). The reason for this is background placements are less likely to elicit conscious thoughts about the product, conscious thought having the effect of directly influencing explicit attitudes. [2]

In addition to implicit attitudes, product placement can affect what’s called implicit self-identification.

Implicit self-identification is automatically associating yourself with an object, for example a consumer brand. When we watch a liked character use a brand, we can start to automatically identify with the brand as a way to vicariously experience that character’s life. This has happened in experiments even when people were prompted to perceive placements as advertisements and reacted by explicitly liking the placed brand less! That finding is important, for a few reasons. First, psychologists have actually found we’re more likely to buy something we identify with than something we like. Second, it shows that even when we view placements skeptically they can still give us a favorable inclination toward placed brands. Taken together, this means that we might buy products we’ve seen placed in TV or films even if we view the placements as an attempt at manipulation.[3]

Many researches have been undertaken in order to find out the mechanisms of product placement that is to identify reasons behind the fact why product placement has been so efficient to make the audience to buy brands that have been advertised through product placement. One of the explanations offered was the influence of product placement to the viewers through mental models. Since that discovery further researches have focused on the various aspects of mental models like how the information is sent from the source, how it is perceived by the receiving individual, what possible noises do affect on that information, and how to minimise those noises in order to increase the efficiency of the message.[4]

Television programme, movies and other media viewers all of them have their mental models. It means that each of them comprehend the information being passed in a way that is unique to him/her due to a range of factors. In his study on mental models Garnham (1997) concludes that mental models represent following components:

  1. Situation in real or imaginary worlds; space and time;
  2. Entities found within situations and the conditions of those objects;
  3. Casual and intentional relations-hips between entities and situation;

d)Events that take place within those situations.

As Zwaan and Radvansky (1998) explain, mental models allow audience to understand information send through television shows.

Gentner& Stevens summarise their work on mental models on following points:

Firstly, mental models are incomplete. They always go through the process of transformation due to the vast range of factors affecting them.

Secondly, people have limited control over their mental models. The formation of a mental model of an individual has taken all his lifetime influenced by the conditions he was surrounded and many other factors, therefore they have a very limited control over their mental models whatsoever.

Thirdly, mental models are unstable. An individual’s mental model can be transformed by the influence of external factors like crises, loss of a close person, personal injury etc.

Fourthly, there are no boundaries in mental models, meaning that individual mental models can comprehend according to its characteristics, and analyse any kind of information received.

Fifthly, mental models are obscure. Mental models cannot be formulated specifically but only can be perceived in an obscure manner.

Sixthly, mental models are miserly.

In their major work on connection between mental models and brand placement Yang et al came to following conclusions:

Landscape model specifies the degree to which the brand placement is recalled by viewer during a later period of time.

Mental model analysis helps researchers to evaluate the effects of brand placement on an individual.

The brand placement does not influence the attitude of viewers towards the brand. [5]

These days, pretty much every branded product in TV programs and films was intentionally placed there for a fee. Product placement is big business, quite simply because it works. Research has shown its indirect effects may be more potent, in that they’re apparently more resistant to suspicion. This raises the question: How do we as members of the viewing public protect ourselves from this form of advertising? The best suggestion I have at this time is stop watching TV and films. We all know that’s an unrealistic suggestion though, which makes the issue of resisting product placements quite the quandary. If I become aware of any useful information I’ll blog about it, but until then remember the products you see on TV aren’t just part of a narrative world, they’re carefully designed advertisements intended for the purposes of commercial promotion. Product placement is a dynamic marketing tool, therefore new trends will be evolving within product placement at all times, as well as, new forms of product placement. Product placement is a dynamic marketing tool, therefore new trends will be evolving within product placement at all times, as well as, new forms of product placement. Bannan pinpoints to the tendency of product placements beginning to be used in video games as well. ―Spending on in-game product placement was estimated at $300 million this year, with projections of $1 billion in spending by 2010.Gutnik et alinform about clothing retailer American Apparel which launched its jeans in online virtual world Second Life, prior to launching them in real- world stores, and Aloft, new brand from Starwood Hotels and Resorts launched in Second Life before being launched in the real world. This form of product placement, known as the reverse product placement is becoming more popular now. Another trend within product placement is product linking or ―plinking‖ which is ―adding a link to a product to visible object within a video‖. Plinking provides the viewer’s ability to stop the video and tag an area where a product is placed to get more information about the product and to buy it.[6]


Scientific director:

  1.  Avery, RJ & Ferraro.R, 2000, Verisimilitude or Advertising? Brand Appearance on Prime-Time Television, The Journal of Consumer Affairs, pp. 217-244. Babin, L.A., & Carder, S.T,
  2. 1996a, Advertising via the box office: Is product placement effective? Journal of Promotion Management, 31–51.
  3.  Babin, L.A., & Carder, S.T,
  4. 996b, Viewers’ recognition of brands placed within a film. International Journal of Advertising, 140–151.
Year: 2016
City: Almaty
Category: Economy