Product Placement No Magic Marketing Bullet

Marketers need to be selective when using product placements or risk having their brand messages ignored by consumers altogether, new research by market intelligence firm BIGresearch indicates.

BIGresearch conducted its biannual simultaneous media survey of more than 15,000 respondents in which it inquired about the way media influences their purchasing decisions in order to cull data for marketers around their ROI equation, President/CEO Gary Drenik explains to Marketing Daily.

"We found that in certain categories, like electronics, grocery and clothing, it had greater influences, but overall, product placement is not a magic bullet for marketers," Drenik says. "It needs to be used selectively and incorporated within the content rather than just for product placements' sake."

In the survey, the top category that influenced the purchases of consumers was electronics (12.6%), followed by groceries (12.4%) and apparel (10.3%).

Ethnic groups are more influenced by product placements across the board and across all categories, Drenik says, with the influence rate of product placement on Asians for electronics at 21.6%, the influence on Hispanics for apparel at 13.6% and the influence on African-Americans for groceries at 14.6%.



When compared with other media's ability to influence purchase of electronics, such as TV (32.3%), newspaper inserts (32%), radio (19.6%) or the Internet (22.7%), product placement is a viable option, but not a replacement for traditional media, the survey finds.

"Product placement can be a complement to traditional media, especially if it's used properly," Drenik says. "You need to complement the content so that it fits in with the actual story line as opposed to putting a Coke in a character's hand just because it's a hot show."

Drenik cites Buick as a recent example of a successful product placement on "Desperate Housewives." The plot revolved around Eva Longoria's character trying to get back into modeling, but she could land only jobs at car shows at the local mall, where Buick was the car being featured at the show.

"We've all been to the car show at the mall," Drenik says, "and see the girls who work there. That placement] just fits in with the story line of the show."

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