Handbook of Product Placement in the Mass Media: New Strategies in Marketing Theory, Practice, Trends, and Ethics

Journal of Promotion Management Volume 10, Numbers 1/2


In Memoriam: Bill Adams of Florida International University Richard Alan Nelson

Introduction: Product Placements in the Mass Media: Unholy Marketing Marriages or Realistic Story-Telling Portrayals, Unethical Advertising Messages or Useful Communication Practices?

Mary-Lou Galician


Insinuating the Product into the Message: An Historical Context for Product Placement Kathleen J. Turner The cozy arrangement of marketers embedding their products in mediated mes- sages has its antecedents in radio and television, when sponsors often controlled the entirety of programs, from writing to casting to pitches for the products within the program. This essay sketches the rise and fall of this system as it paved the way for contemporary product placement.

KEYWORDS. History, product placement, quiz shows, radio, television

The Evolution of Product Placements in Hollywood Cinema: Embedding High-Involvement “Heroic” Brand Images 15 Mary-Lou Galician Peter G. Bourdeau

This content analysis of the 15 top-grossing motion pictures of 1977, 1987, and 1997 uncovered 546 product placements present in fully one quarter (24%) of the total running time of the 45 movies. Product leaders were automobiles (21% of all place- ments), beer (14%), and soda (11%), with Coca-Cola the overall brand leader. Full-display appearances remained dominant throughout. Most appearances were brief: however, “key” placements—lengthier showcases featuring brands in central heroic roles and in idealized images resembling TV commercials—increased over the 20-year period. Other related notable changes were increases in high-involvement placements (89%), implied endorsement placements (83%) (coupled with a 9% rise in “verbal/hands mentions,” the most valued placement), and “mentioned” place- ments (75%) (similarly coupled with a 9% rise in “used” placements), and the num- ber of brands placed (32%) along with decreases in liquor placements (60%), association with minor characters (40%) and non-stars (36%), and both “signage” (24%) and “clutter” (20%) placements, the least valued.

KEYWORDS. Brand names, brand placement, cinema, Hollywood, marketing, motion pictures, movie production, product placement, promotion

Advertainment: The Evolution of Product Placement as a Mass Media Marketing Strategy 37 Susan B. Kretchmer

This essay explores the issues implicated by entertainment vehicles created solely to spotlight specific advertisers. From the contemporary exemplar of this paradigm in the highly successful 1990-1998 “Sophisticated Taste” campaign for Taster’s Choice® instant coffee, in which viewers watched the sparks fly between the charac- ters of Tony and Sharon in a continuing series of ads that functioned as television programming across multiple media platforms, to the most recent incarnation in advergames, online computer games that promote brands, this study considers the nature and implications of perhaps the ultimate evolution of product placement and blurring of the lines between entertainment and commercial persuasion.

KEYWORDS. Advergames, advertising, commercials, entertainment, Internet, product placement, promotion, television

Merchandising in the Major Motion Picture Industry: Creating Brand Synergy and Revenue Streams 55 Charles A. Lubbers William J. Adams

To help guarantee a profit in a very risky industry, major motion picture studios have dramatically increased movie production and marketing budgets. While ad-


vertising is the traditional emphasis in the movie marketing mix, in recent years the budget for promotion has equaled the advertising budgets. This essay discusses two areas of movie promotion that studios have increasingly turned to for addi- tional revenues: merchandising and promotional/partner tie-ins. These two ele- ments of the promotion mix generate billions of dollars in revenue for studios each year, but they are generally overlooked by the general population and academic researchers.

KEY WORDS. Brand, economics, films, licensing, merchandising, motion picture industry, movies, product placement, promotion

The Extensions of Synergy: Product Placement Through Theming and Environmental Simulacra 65 Scott Robert Olson

Building brand identity becomes more difficult in a media-saturated culture, making it difficult to get a commercial message through to its audience, and requiring mar- keters to develop evermore omnipresent devices for reaching consumers. Corpora- tions use synergy as a way of conveying consistent brand messages through multiple venues. Those venues have expanded beyond our conventional notions of the mass media, however, and increasingly rely on physical environments such as theme parks, casinos, and even residential communities to communicate and reinforce brand messages. These places, artificially constructed environmental simulacra, ob- scure the distinctions normally made between the cinematic world and the real world. The transformation of space into a new advertising medium has significant cultural implications.

KEYWORDS. Advertising, brand, marketing, movies, product placement, simulacra, synergy, television


Product Placement and the Law 89 Paul Siegel

Consumer activists who propose regulations either banning certain product place- ments or requiring their affirmative disclosure in motion picture closing credits generally assert that such regulations would not violate the First Amendment be- cause product placements are commercial speech, which receive far less constitu- tional protection than core political speech. This essay reviews the evolution of the Supreme Court's commercial speech doctrine and concludes that product place- ments would likely not be considered commercial speech at all; moreover, the es- say argues, even if they were found to be commercial speech, the Court’s evolving doctrine would likely protect the placements from regulation.

KEYWORDS. Advertising, commercial speech, First Amendment, motion pic- tures, product placement

On the Ethics of Product Placement in Media Entertainment 101 Lawrence A. Wenner

This study examines the ethical propriety of current trends in product placement in television and film entertainment. Historical background for the product place- ment concept and practice is provided. Changes in the marketing climate that have provided a push for product placement are outlined. A characterization of the product placement industry as it stands today, and the ethical issues raised by the practice frame the analysis. Three distinct “genres” of contemporary product placement are analyzed: (1) Product Placement, (2) Product Integration, and (3) Video Insertion. First, the rise of Product Placement, strategic changes in use, and increased dependence on revenues in production will be discussed. The sec- ond section examines a newly mounted form of Product Integration, whereby product placement plays a key role in content development and support of produc- tion in television and film. Third, the origins of Video Insertion will be traced to the Princeton Video Image invention of its proprietary L-VIS product. The ethical effi- cacy of placing “virtual advertisements” in space and times that do not naturally exist will be examined. The article closes with summary assessments and consider- ation of recommendations for action. Ethical issues focused on in the assessment include deception, artists’ rights, and excess commercialism. Recommendations consider the climate for full and advance disclosure of product placements in me- dia entertainment, the prospects for a voluntary rating system, and the threat of re- classifying product placement infused media entertainment as commercial speech. KEYWORDS. Commercial speech, ethics, media, movies, Princeton Video Im- age, product integration, product placement, television programming, video inser- tion, virtual advertising

The Role and Ethics of Community Building for Consumer Products and Services | Dean Kruckeberg Kenneth Starck

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Kruckeberg and Starck (1988) argue that public relations is the active attempt to restore and maintain the sense of community that has been lost in contemporary society. Many manufacturers and service providers seek “communities” of con- sumers. However, what is the social ethic of such consumer communities? Do they provide an authentic “sense of community” as advocated by Kruckeberg and Starck? This article examines these and related questions and offers suggestions regarding the creation and maintenance of consumer “communities.”” Consumer communities—when appropriately formed and nurtured—can have impact on indi- viduals and society at large that are best considered from a public relations, not marketing, viewpoint.

KEYWORDS. Chicago School of Social Thought, communitarian, community, community-building, consumer community, culture, ethics norms, public rela- tions, social capital, social ethic, society, values



A Comparison of Product Placements in Movies and Television Programs: An Online Research Study | 147 Beng Soo Ong

Product placement has expanded as a promotional tactic, aided by technological innovations which present new openings for, and challenges to, branded messages via television. Product placements in television shows differ from placements in movies in terms of (1) federal regulations, (2) greater vehicle choices, and (3) abil- ity to embed brands into TV shows that have proven to be successful. In light of these differences, an online survey was conducted with the purpose of examining attitudinal differences, if any, between product placement in movies and in TV pro- grams. The study found that although three-fourths of the sample were aware of product placements in both media, respondents appeared to have less exposure to brand placements in television shows than in movies. That may have led to a weak impact of television placements on respondents’ brand attitudes.

KEYWORDS. Brand, films, movies, product placements, television

Product Placement of Medical Products: Issues and Concerns 159 Christopher R. Turner

Product placement is a well-established marketing technique that nevertheless con- tinues to provoke considerable criticism and debate. Likewise, direct-to-patient marketing of pharmaceuticals is legally acceptable but is controversial among ethicists and medical professionals. Little has been published regarding the ethical challenges and pitfalls involved in medical marketing, including the issues of whether medical products should be treated differently from consumer products and whether pharmaceuticals are distinct from medical devices. Discussed are examples of pharmaceutical marketing as well as an episode from the Chicago Hope television program in which a medical device was touted as a solution for a problem for which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the use of the device. Legal and ethical considerations for product placement of medical products as they influence patient demand are also analyzed, as well as some of the pitfalls that may accompany direct marketing of medical products.

KEYWORDS. Ethics, medical products, product placement

Cast Away and the Contradictions of Product Placement 171 Ted Friedman

This essay looks at implications of product placement in Cast Away, the 2000 film in which Tom Hanks plays a Federal Express executive who is stranded on a desert is- land before making his way back home. It argues that Cast Away is a particularly

valuable case study because of the conflict between its relentless product placement and its dark vision of contemporary global capitalism. The article investigates four aspects of global capitalism addressed by Cast Away: the compression of time, the compression of space, the rising influence of multinational corporations, and the dominance of consumer culture.

KEYWORDS. Capitalism, Cast Away, Federal Express, globalism, motion pic- tures, movies, product placement, time, space

Brand Placement Recognition: The Influence of Presentation Mode and Brand Familiarity 185 lan Brennan Laurie A. Babin

This study examines the impact of adding an audible reference to a visually promi- nent brand placement on recognition of the brand placed. Facilitated recognition scores were used to control for the effects of brand familiarity on brand placement recognition. Subjects exposed to one of two complete movies were asked to indi- cate recognition of brands that were er were not placed in their movie. Results in- dicate that brand placement recognition levels achieved by audio-visual prominent placements exceed the recognition rates achieved by visual-only promi- nent placements. Additionally, familiar brands achieve higher levels of recogni- tion than unfamiliar brands, even when the recognition scores for familiar brands are adjusted for the guessing and constructive recognition that may result from in- ferences associated with familiar brands.

KEYWORDS. Audio cues, brand placement, movies, on-set placements, product placement, recognition

The Bulgari Connection: A Novel Form of Product Placement 203 Richard Alan Nelson

Product placement is the business process that seamlessly inserts an advertiser's commercial message into various entertainment and informational media vehicles (movies, videos, television programs, radio shows, newsletters, books, etc.) as an indigenous part of the story line. This paper presents an analysis of the controversy surrounding British novelist Fay Weldon’s decision to accept financing from the famed Italian jewelry company Bulgari to prominently mention the firm and its products in her 2001 book, a fast-paced social comedy. The contract specified at least 12 mentions. However, in an interesting twist, Weldon decided to feature Bulgari prominently in the plot and incorporate the company name in the title. The Bulgari Connection (U.S. distributor, Grove/Atlantic) is believed by many to be “the first major novel containing paid product placement,” although other books with commercial tie-ins predate it.

KEYWORDS. Advertising, book industry, branding, credibility, product place- ment, promotions


Our } 2 we When Product Placement Is NOT Product Placement: Reflections of a Movie Junkie 213 ie. David Natharius

The development of product placement in films and television shows can be readily

observed by anyone who has devoted a significant part of their lives going to the

movies. The first product placements were generic and fictitious and were hardly 35 noticed by the movie-going public. But, as the placement of real products became more prevalent, it became apparent to the serious film buff that the presence of a fic- titious or clearly disguised product became more of a distraction than the use of ac- tual products. The attempt to make serious realistic films is sometimes sidetracked by a clearly fake product that strikes at the suspension of disbelief of movie goers, particularly when they have some familiarity with the product NOT being placed.


on KEYWORDS. Cinema, films, logo, motion pictures, movies, product placement nit



al A Leading Cultural Critic Argues Against Product Placement:

1l- ° ° +e °

i. An Interview with Mark Crispin Miller 219 ds Mary-Lou Galician


A Rising Independent Filmmaker Argues for Product ct Placement: An Interview with Samuel A. Turcotte 223 Mary-Lou Galician

3 Harry Potter, Coca-Cola, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest: An Interview with Michael F. Jacobson 227 Mary-Lou Galician 's s A Pulitzer Prize-Winning Media Critic Discusses Product : Placement: An Interview with Howard Rosenberg 233 - Mary-Lou Galician 'S 1 MEDIA REVIEW . C Screening MEF’s Behind the Screens: Hollywood d Goes Hypercommercial (2000) 237 AY

Mary-Lou Galician

This review offers a summary of a Media Education Foundation video about prod- uct placement and related media marketing practices and makes recommenda-

tions for using it with school and college-age audiences as well as at professional and academic meetings. University of Massachusetts Communication Professor Sut Jhally established The Media Education Foundation in 1991 “as an indepen- dent non-profit organization to produce and disseminate educational videotapes as well as conduct research on timely media issues” with a stellar Board of Advi- sors that today includes cultural critics Noam Chomsky, Susan Douglas, Susan Faludi, George Gerbner, Todd Gitlin, Stuart Hall, bell hooks, Robert W. McChesney, and Naomi Wolf.

KEYWORDS. Product placement, media education, videotape, cross promotion, tie-ins, hypercommercialism, Hollywood film, media conglomerates, cultural crit- icism


Product Placement in the 21st Century Edited by Mary-Lou Galician


A Product Placement Resource Guide: Recommended Publications and Websites Richard Alan Nelson