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  2. 2. Product placement is a type of advertising, in which promotional advertisements placed by marketers using real commercial products and services in media, where the presence of a particular brand is the result of an economic exchange. When featuring a product is not part of an economic exchange, it is called a product plug. Product placement appears in plays, film, television series, music videos, video games and books. It became more common starting in the 1980s, but can be traced back to at least 1949. Product placement occurs with the inclusion of a brand's logo in shot, or a favorable mention or appearance of a product in shot. This is done without disclosure, and under the premise that it is a natural part of the work. Most major movie releases today contain product placements. The most common form is movie and television placements and more recently computer and video games. Recently, websites have experimented with in-site product placement as a revenue model. In early media, e.g. radio in the 1930s and 1940s and early television in the 1950s, programs were often underwritten by companies. "Soap operas" are called such because they were initially underwritten by consumer packaged goods companies such as Procter & Gamble or Unilever. WHY PRODUCT PLACEMENT? Product placement has evolved from a novel marketing tactic to a key marketing strategy on a global scale, as brand marketers seek more effective methods to make important emotional connections with consumers. The benefits of product placement are :- Benefits to the Brand:-  Implied Endorsements: - One significant advantage of product placements is that these implied endorsements are often made by major actors or actresses which frequently do not appear in television commercials. For although we may never see Amitabh Bachchan drinking a soft drink but in a movie when he drinks it makes a significant impression. Global Reach and Long Life: - Another advantage of product placement is its far reach. The vast reach of product placement can be attributed to the ever expanding global distribution channels for feature films. When a film is released, a few months later, it is followed by numerous ancillary markets including home video, pay per view, premium cable channels, and finally broadcast television. Each of these distribution channels are further opportunities for the film to be seen and for the product placement to be observed which, in turn, increases both its reach and frequency. Also, unlike a TV commercial which appears only during a particular program and then vanishes unless another fee is paid, product placement is embedded within the film and travels with it. The actual life of a placement, therefore, is extremely long and as long as people continue to view the film, the placement continues to receive exposure. Product placement, as a result, is basically forever.  Low Cost: - The actual cost of product placement is extremely low relative to other forms of promotions or advertising. The 'cost per thousand' of product placement versus TV or print is pennies versus dollars. It is very economical and sought after.
  3. 3.  Low Clutter: - A frequent and ever-increasing problem in traditional advertising is the overabundance of advertisements which fill the airwaves, cable channels and pages of traditional media. This phenomenon is known as "clutter." A lack of clutter is one of the key advantages of product placement. Product placement does not interrupt the flow of the film and is therefore less obtrusive than other forms of advertising. The artistic sensibilities of most directors and their concerns about over commercializing their films help to keep the total amount of placement within any given film to a minimum. Hence, most films are not cluttered with product placement.  Optimum Viewing Environment and A Captive Audience: - Although the extensive reach of a feature film product placement is a result of the many and ever-increasing distribution channels for feature films, the theatrical movie-going experience offers both filmmakers and corporate marketers the ultimate opportunity to expose their respective products. The resolution, size, and aspect ratio achieved through motion picture projection allow the images to convey a depth, brilliance, and power which is simply unachievable through even the best picture tube or projection technology. Such high quality image and sound reproduction systems offer corporate marketers an environment which can depict their products and services in the best possible light. Another advantage of feature film product placement is ability of this medium to deliver a captive and more accurately measurable audience. Movies, particularly in the theater, grab the attention of an audience more so than most other forms of entertainment. TV and radio are frequently used as a type of companion or ambiance which are left on while other activities, like cooking, cleaning or homework, are taking place. The movie-viewing experience, even at home, is thought as of more an event, which is thus better able to capture the viewer or audience's attention. The investment of additional time and money required to view a movie in any of the early stages of distribution prior to broadcast television, such as theatrical, premium cable, pay- per-view, or videotape require an additional expenditure, such as the ticket price, rental cost, pay per view fee, or premium cable channel surcharge. This translates into a higher value being placed on the activity and thus a greater likelihood the consumer will watch the entire film and be exposed to the placement contained within it. This increases the exposure of brand and this helps in its better marketing. Benefits to Film-makers:  Cost Reduction and Revenues: - The most frequent quantitative benefit for the filmmakers and studios derived from product placement involves associated cost- reductions. These cost-savings are realized in the props, set decorations, and locations which are provided for free and which ultimately end up on-screen. Airlines and hotels often provide free or reduced rate services in return for placement. Food and beverages companies provide food and drinks for crew in return of their placement. As everything is
  4. 4. profit driven, the producers always look for product placements in their films. Who does not want to make it „bigger‟ if he is making just „big‟?  Promotion: - The primary method of promoting feature films is through movie trailers, traditional advertising and publicity. However, other types of promotions are used by the studios as a creative way of reaching potential movie patrons, such as sponsoring movie tickets giveaways on a radio station. A particularly potent type of movie promotion is known as a cross-promotion (also referred to as a back-end promotion). A cross-promotion occurs when a studio enlists the support of a corporate marketer to promote a film to its customers via traditional advertising, in-store displays or other means. For example, Burger King did a large cross-promotion for "Batman" which included TV commercials, in-store displays and giveaways. In the past McDonalds has been also associated with movies. According to Musette Buckley of Warner Bros, "A placement along with a promotion is like icing on the cake. In the past, promotions have been done without it, but they're starting to realize that with it, it makes even more sense." One advantage of linking the placement to the promotion is that the placement will have a better chance of properly occurring. "The success rate for product placement is higher when promotions are attached, because filmmakers are more involved in and aware of promotions and the potential ramifications if the placement does not occur," says Tony Grana of Universal Studios. Discussion:- Qualitative Analysis:- Product placement in the media has been viewed as a hybrid of advertising and publicity. However, Gupta and Gold (1997) discovered that viewers can react positively and negatively to product placements depending on the type of product featured, suggesting that positive or negative publicity will affect consumers differently. Gupta and Lord (1998) reasoned that characteristics that render a product placement prominent are similar to those in advertising, such as increasing the size of a print ad or of an image within an ad, which increases the likelihood that it will attract attention. The study categorized product placement into two dimensions. One dimension was presentation (senses activated by the stimulus), and the other was level of prominence (the extent to which the product placement possesses characteristics designed to make it a central focus of audience attention). Gupta and Lord categorize product placement strategies into three modes: visual only (VIS); audio only (AUD); and combined audio-visual (AV). The first mode (VIS) is showing the product or any other type of brand identifier without any relevant message or sounds in the audio track drawing attention to the product. The second mode (AUD) involves the mention of a brand name or product by a character without visual aid. The third mode (AV) involves showing a brand name while simultaneously mentioning the brand name or conveying a brand-relevant message in audio form. Each of the modes can vary in degree of prominence or subtlety. A prominent placement is that in which the product is made highly visible by virtue of size and/or position on the screen or its
  5. 5. centrality to the action in the scene. Subtle placements are those in which the brand is or is not small in size, used as a background prop, or given low exposure time. The Product Placement Audience:- Four themes as to how brand props were interpreted and experienced by viewers arose from the cross-section of moviegoers in a study by Delorme and Reid (1999). The viewers appreciated realism, noticed the familiar, and related to characters. Concerning realism, viewers stated that they enjoyed the subtle use of brand placement because they considered the movie to be more realistic, but they disliked excessive and obvious product placement because it distracted from the realism of the movie. The themes of consumption-specific relevance that DeLorme & Reid (1999) determined are tools for purchasing decisions, tools for identity and aspiration, change and discomfort, and belonging and security among viewers. Each of these themes can potentially raise ethical concerns. Product placement becomes an influence on a person as he or she compares product placement to personal purchasing and consumption decisions, thereby confirming or disconfirming past or planned brand-related behavior. Identity and lifestyles are confirmed or disconfirmed when viewers associate brand pops in relation to their own self- impressions as consumers. Change and discomfort can possibly be caused when viewers encounter brand props and then consider those products/services threats and/or interruptions to the normalcy of their own lives. In doing so, encountered props produce negative thoughts and feelings about social trends and patterns. DeLorme & Reid (1999) determined that belonging and security in terms of product placement is generated from brand props encountered in a particular movie from which viewers gain emotional security and social connectivity. As such, encountered props produce positive thought and feelings about social bonds and interactional experiences. The security and social connectivity could be considered manipulative, raising questions about the ethics of the practice of product placement. The emergence of these themes from the study suggested that moviegoers have “interpretive experiences with encountered brand props that extend beyond movie-specific experiences and contexts to consumption-specific situations” (DeLorme & Reid, 1999, p. 84). These four themes can be used to question deceptive practices of product placement in movies, television, etc. In the viewing experience, moviegoers are active participants. “They learned by viewing brand props and related that learning to movies (including characters and plots), to the movie-viewing experience, and to aspects of their own everyday lives as consumers” (DeLorme & Reid, 1999, p. 85). DeLorme and Reid (1999) determined that regardless of age or movie-going frequency, the informants were active participants in the viewing experience and actively interpreted brands encountered in movies. According to a study conducted by DeLorme and Reid both frequent and infrequent moviegoers ranging in age from 21 to 45 were aware of the persuasive intent of brand props, even when they judged them to be excessive, inappropriate, or unrealistic. The study discovered the following noteworthy findings: respondents noticed familiar products; brand props that were familiar enhanced movie enjoyment; products can be recognized with or without a logo, commercial advertising, or slogan merely from a company‟s past advertising. DeLorme and Reid (1999) reported that informants indicated that the relationship with characters strengthened, and the involvement in and enjoyment of the movie increased, when they noticed „their brands‟ being used by a movie character, or even featured in a scene.
  6. 6. Placement Effects on Audience:- Viewers are active interpreters, not passive receptors of product placement. DeLorme and Reid‟s (1999) study determined that influence of brand placement is not able to be typified, thereby suggesting that factors such as perceived needs, self-image, past experiences, contests, and demographics are all very important. Additionally, viewers are very aware of the persuasive intent of product placement, leading to skepticism and resistance of persuasive attempts. Clearly, then, viewers are not manipulated and deceived into buying every product they see in a movie. DeLorme and Reid (1999) learned that the majority of the participants in the study were able to recognize and recall brand placements, describing many examples and experiences without aids to recall. Based on this finding, DeLorme and Reid suggested that the potential long-term nature of product placement effects on memory should be acknowledged. Memory of product placements in movies seems to endure, which in turn can act as long-term reminder advertising. In fact, many of the participants willingly reported that brand name recognition and long-term influence are effects of product placement. As attitudes toward brands develop over time, Product placement seems to contribute in valuable ways to strengthening and reinforcing pre- conceived attitudes towards brands. Through product placement, associations that build a brand‟s image can be significant, especially in the context of positive and negative portrayals, the treatment of the brand within a movie, the significance of the movie itself, and the nature of the featured brand, as well. Babin and Carder (1996) sampled 108 college students, using Rocky III to assess the effects of 39 brands placed in the movie. The study concluded that brand recognition was significantly greater for those who viewed the movie in comparison to a control group for more than 25% of the 39 brands that made an appearance in the movie. Also in the 1996 study, Babin and Carder found that viewers were able to recognize and recall brands that had been placed in the movies they viewed. They were also able to distinguish between brands they viewed in the movies and brands that did not appear in the movies. DeLorme, Reid, and Zimmer (1994) conducted focus groups of college students who were frequent moviegoers. It was concluded that participants like subtle use of brands in movies because it contributes to the realism, where generic products lessened the artistic values. The participants also felt that products in movies brought the movie characters closer because the viewers identified with characters that used the same products they did. Some research has suggested that product placement can have greater impact with program audiences than is typically found with comparable advertising exposures. As product placement continues to be a growing trend in the media market, research has demonstrated that viewers do actually recognize and recall brand/product placement. Because many studies have demonstrated that there is not a change in affect or immediate preference for products once they have been placed in the media, and because most viewers are in favor of product placement because it contributes to realistic settings of scenes, product
  7. 7. placement is merely one effect of many upon consumers‟ attitudes. Therefore, regulation and/or restriction of the practice of product placement is not a necessary procedure. However, it seems product placement can go too far and negate its own intended outcomes. Stuart Fischoff, a media psychologist at California State University, Los Angeles, went as far as describing a screening audience‟s response to the mall scene of Steven Spielberg‟s “Minority Report” (which contained extreme and blatant product placement) as “a wave of outrage and finally a tsunami of dismissive hilarity”. To viewers, products, brands, and activities have come to signify or perform social roles. Products are used as a means of gaining status and avoiding stigmatization. Final Word: The best examples of product placement are seamlessly woven into the narrative. However, when it is not done well, product placement can seem forced and obvious, detracting from the credibility and quality of the experience. Poor product placement can result in viewer fatigue and if it happens then the audience might feel cheated as if he/she is watching is a long commercial. In that case both the product and the film suffer. With the increase in use of product placement, analysts fear that consumers will develop ad- blindness, becoming so accustomed to ads that they stop noticing them. When an ad is repeated too often, people adapt to their presence and filter them out of their vision. There is ad resentment among the viewers. To combat this, advertisers are going for product placement and that too innovatively. At the same time there has been a recent trend among the advertisers to make regular ads shown in print and electronic media more interesting and precise. This can be seen in ads which try to entertain through their gags or high emotional quotient. With growing popularity of cinema, serials and video games, advertisers get more opportunities to promote their brand through product placement as these are the prime source of entertainment and viewers never skip them. Just imagine how many days can you leave without your favorite serial or can you avoid going to films of your favorite actor. Even kids are highly addicted to video games. So the probability of brand noticing there becomes high. Also with increase in purchasing power of Indians and their craze for brand-savvy life all thanks to stars whom the youth blindly follow and copy there is a more chance that if Aamir Khan uses a certain brand in his film his fans will have a pleasant connection with that brand. Star power really sells! This is just a happy start for advertisers. Perhaps one day we would have Oscars for the best product placement in a film!