Product Placement Theories
Buying Association Theory: No more Information Search
If the product placement will be place then, it will indicate that the decision making process will begin once the consumer is exposed to the product in the ad. Despite little research on the effect of brand placement in television, Frazen and Bouwman (2001) make the closest idea on the brand effecting purchasing behaviour. According to the theorists, the consumer begins his/her process by having no experience with the brand, which will mean that they’ll have to engage in an external search (Schiffman & Kanuk 2004:556).The process will commence with the consumer having a passive awareness or weak associations as well as developing familiarity with the brand name, sign and meanings in order to influence the purchasing behaviour.
The new regulation of the product placement in theUKwill change the way in which the decision-making is processed. The influence of the consumer’s purchase will be based on the consumers’ exposure to the brand or product. These products will become the triggering stimuli to the consumer and this will determine whether the consumer will develop interest into the product. If interested, the only brand awareness available will be the TV show that has been exposed to them. Arguably, the real affect of the product placement is whether the consumer a) acquires more information about it and b) whether they’ll purchase. It’s easy to assume that visual exposure will lead to the first purchase. But unfortunately, there’s limited research of this impact at present. There’s a great possibility that we will be seeing more of these product placements either incidentally included in a subtle manner (implicit product placement) e.g. The Nescafe Coffee Machine on This Morning and/or prominently exposed with the use of camera close-ups (integrated product placement) e.g. Britney Spears Music Video ‘Hold It against me’.
Brand Association Theory: Placing Products into real life contexts.
Frazen and Bouwman suggest that that the familiarity of the brand will be increased by the individual brand associations that the consumers have with that brand i.e. whether the goals and values of the brand are relative to them (Frazen & Bouwman 2004:316). It’s important that the consumer must evaluate implicitly of whether these initial brand meanings are relevant. Through these associations, the brand will be successfully bought by the consumer. Brand managers are limited in their promotional strategy because they begin to associate the brand with a particular mood or feeling (Ardvisson 2006:78), whilst changing the way in which consumer use and think about their products also (Ardvisson 2006:78b).
In relation to product placement consumers will develop brand associations according to where the product or brand has been placed in the TV show, whether it has been verbally incorporated in the script or being used as a prop (screen placement, script placement and plot placement). We can predict, in respective of British TV shows such as soaps, reality and entertainment shows like X Factor more of integrated explicit product placements (D’ Astous & Seguin 1999) will be used whereby the product (and brand) attributes are ‘formally expressed in some way so that it’s attributes are explicitly demonstrated’ (Hackley 2005:145b). These integrated placements will be relative to real life contexts and through explicitly relating these products to certain moods or feelings felt in a scene, it will allow the consumer to relate with the product with a particular meaning or experience.
Similarly, television viewers can associate a variety of positive qualities to characters such as stars in a soap or primetime presenters. These associated qualities can linked to a product/brand by incorporating a link between the two. A successful example would be when Ray Bans placed their Wayfarer glasses in the Tom Cruise blockbuster Risky Business. Following the film the sales for that particular model increased by 50%, (Erik, www.brandsandfilms.com, 2010). By linking a product/brand to a character you already have a positive affiliation with, the consumer can differentiate the product and build a personal attachment with the product.
Brand Salience and Recall
Before a brand can infiltrate the marketplace, they have to infiltrate the mind of the consumer. Although extensive research has not yet been done in relation to product placement and brand salience, there is evidence to suggest that brand repetition, brand association and brand presence will all increase it’s awareness in the mind of the consumer and result in a increase in recall/salience. Research also suggests if the viewer is obtaining information in his/hers native language, the message is more memorable, which is why many advertisers seek professional translation services.
Unlike a conventional ad campaign which has a fixed message and structure, using brands in product placement has the potential to diversify its associations and messages. ‘Romaniuk and Sharp argue that the quality of Brand Salience is a function of the strength of the association and the attribute relevance’, (R. Beard, www.brandingstrategyinsider.com, 2011). A brand/product that is being used in product placement has the advantage to make numerous associations in a short space of time, communicated to the viewer. This will in theory increase the brands chance to be recalled in many different situations.
Specifically brand Salience depends on what brand name is stored in the memory of the consumer at the time of purchase. It is said that repetition increases the chance of memory storage. So in the example of ‘This Morning’ showing the Nescafe coffee machine every morning for three months, this again should increase Brand Salience according to the theory.