In Monday's MediaPost, one of the Featured Product Placements of the Week was a placement for > Thomasville Furniture.
What Research Tells Us From viewer research, we know that TV watching is not necessarily linear or continuous. Our lives are filled with distractions that tend to break our concentration and interrupt our awareness. In cases like Thomasville Furniture, where brands are not obviously identified during the continuity phase of the placement, there is a danger that viewers will miss the brand identification. Thus, the association of the product and the brand is weakened or destroyed. It would be like missing the opening act of a play or musical. While you could still understand (and perhaps even enjoy) the show to some degree, a large part of its impact and meaning would be lost.
Most viewers can't tell the difference between 'top-of-the-line' and 'run-of-the-mill' without a brand name association. Because of this, one powerful way to combat the breakdown in continuity is the regular and strategic re-establishment of the brand connection between the unlabeled product and the manufacturer - this is vital. An end-credit expressing where the product came from is useful. Commercial reinforcement during the programming is very helpful, and "as seen on" promotions by the manufacturer can help transform product placement opportunities into potential consideration and in-store sales. At the end of the day, everyone loves a good story, and to people for whom furniture is a generic commodity, such a regular reestablishment of the brand can differentiate the product where distinctive design or quality may not make an impact.
There is currently no definitive research that establishes the direct linkage of placements to sales. Contemporary techniques for trying to do this are missing the point by asking TV viewers directly if viewing the placement motivates them to go buy the product. Most people in this case will give the socially desirable answer, which is no! When people think about that question, they don't want to consider themselves as influenced from placements they see on TV.
But there is a double-edged sword here. Products, particularly non-branded ones, do have to regularly re-establish their association in the context of the story or symbolic form of beginning, middle, and end in the placement. Then, memory impressions can be established and the emotional power of the placement can take its effect. The message is clear: lather, rinse, repeat. Only then can the more subtle impacts of the placement's quality begin to work.