The study finds that 60 percent of those consumers are willing to try the brands advertised, with the percentages a little higher for TV than movies. While product placements have been around since the beginning of television--and have a long history in the cinema as well--what's been lacking is a lot of widespread, strong research on consumers' attitudes toward the media. As the impact of new technology--such as digital video recorders and video on demand--forces the advertising industry to look for alternatives, product placement has come into vogue again. And so have the types of measurement that measure attitudes toward product placement, which the Mediaedge:cia study has attempted to do.
Product placement can't hold a candle to traditional television advertising, which the Mediaedge:cia study said was still the most effective form of advertising. TV advertising bested product placement when measuring consumers' recall of brands and willingness to try products.
Joe Abruzzo, director of the MediaLab/Ohal, said Tuesday afternoon that product placements are really a brand exposure, not a well-constructed message that would come through in traditional advertising.
Product placement does seem to resonate with some demographics, particularly youngsters and women. Fifteen- to 34-year-olds are more likely to look favorably upon product placement in TV or movies. Sixty-two percent of people ages 15-34 say it makes sense to see brands in films, compared to 44 percent of people over 55. Thirty-two percent of people ages 15-34 say they're more inclined to buy brands in a movie they like, compared to 22 percent of adults over 55. Forty percent of consumers ages 15-34 don't want to see brands in films, compared to 59 percent of adults over 55.
The study found that product placement boosted brand recognition by 40 percent to 100 percent. Abruzzo said that product placement isn't as strong when there's just a can of soup on the counter, for instance. It's a different story when the placement becomes part of the script.
"The strongest type of product placement is where the product becomes central to the movie or television program, as opposed to being secondary in the background," Abruzzo said.
He said that Mediaedge:cia's buyers are always actively looking for product placement opportunities, forging relationships with the people who are producing the shows. He also said the study points to consumers' acceptance of product placements, as long as it's in the right environment.
"I think consumers are going to feel OK about it in the future," Abruzzo said. "If it fits naturally, it's going to happen. I think there will be some irritation if it becomes too hard a sell, but to the extent that it's just contained in the story line, I think it's probably going to become the norm in the future."