Product Placement Essay

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With the proliferation of different techniques such as bumpers and iconic images, product placement is fast becoming another strategic tool in the area of advertising. (Coleman 2006) In fact, the growth has become too fast that the research field has been outrun by it. (Hackley et. al. 2005). Phadnis et al. (2004) predicted that in the near future, product placement would take the center stage, effectively capturing even the programming space and causing people to evaluate its true effectiveness.

            According to Husak et. al. (2005), owners of branded products obtain some benefits from product placement. In fact, according to their study, there is an incremental growth in the brand as exposure is increased as marketing move up in the three stages: commercial, product placement and integration. But in this second stage, it was said that the greatest impact on the brand lies in the personality that is promoting it.

The implication of this is that media owners and and agencies could collaborate to develop strategically a marketing program to harness this new tool. Bernard (1991) also agrees with this. He said that the benefits of the program placement extend beyond the brand it also serves the producers as well as the audience. The World Advertising Research Center (2008) even reports that recession in the US media industry can be curtailed by paid product placement.

            Needless to say, the product placement industry is fast evolving. However, the best model to operate this is still an area of research. (Russel & Belch 2005) This literature aims to fill this gap by determining the effectivity of product placement in movies. Hopefully, by adding literature in this area, the industry would be able to better develop product placement in order to derive the best model which would be beneficial, not only to both the advertising and the movie industry, but also to the consumers and film viewers.

            This study proceeds by investigating the current literature on product placement and validate it through a survey of 100 international students who are also movie-goers. The literature review begins with the important role that film has today so as to validate the parameter of this research movies. In other words, although it would touch on television and other forms of product placement, the focus would be on television and the literature review will give the reader of an understanding why this is so.

Next, product placement would be looked at in terms of its benefits before moving on to its history and how it has become to what it is today. Then several views on product placement would be presented including those who oppose it and why. From academic point of view, its type was also reviewed. Finally, the different facets of product placement would be investigated, including the growth of this form of advertising, its functions, its psychological and ethical implication, and its business and marketing value.

            Next, the paper would discuss the methodology of this research which is actually a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research. Emphasis was given to how the qualitative research was done since this serves as the backbone of the entire paper and the basis of the analysis of the survey. After which, the findings would be presented, as well as the analysis before finally presenting the conclusion of this study.

            Film, an important cultural force, is probably the most influential means of communication today. Even though the television is the most widespread form of electronic entertainment, it is certainly not popular and one of the main reasons for this is the general belief that it is addictive and has destructive influences. However, only very few people would say about that on film. Furthermore, film today has become so engrained culturally that non participation would always involve the risk of being out of touch. As Steven Hever observed, the economy now that is emerging is experienced-based. And in this economy physical production plays a less crucial role than cultural production. (Sauer 2004)

            One strength of film is that it is able to reach a wide audience than television programming which is usually contained in just a particular locality. For instance, the movie, Titanic has caused people to go back to movie theatres and view it again something not observable in the movie industry for shows such as Friends. Another strength of television is the universality of the nature of film contents. Unlike televisions, film content need not be translated like television which are sold in particular format. Varying formats sometimes result in poor translation. That is why placing a brand especially if it is global on movie is a great idea. For these reasons, product placement has been soliciting a growing in the recent years. (Sauer 2004)

            As mentioned by Turcotte (1995), there are actually three main benefits of product placement in marketing. First, this technique has a longer life span. Unlike traditional broadcasting which has a very short life span, products placed in film have virtually eternal life span since films are distributed globally and that they are usually shown again on television. Moreover, there is less distractions for viewers in the films shown in the cinema as opposed to television shows being watched by a home viewer. Moreover, there are no other advertisements to compete for the viewers attention. The implication of this is that the audience in cinema films become captive. (Babin et. al. 1999)

            In the last five decades or more, the practice of product placement has been practiced in the industry. For instance, the movie Mildred Pierce featured Joan Crawford quenching her thirst with Jack Daniels (Reed 1989). Initially, using brand names in the movie is just a matter of making it more realistic. However, producers later on became increasingly aware of its economic and commercial value. Consider, for instance, the cause of Cuervo Gold which was used in the movie Tequilla sunrise where a fee of $150,00 was paid.

Exxon, on the other hand, spent $300,000 for its placement in Days of Thunder. (McCarthy 1998) It was also observed by Colford and Magiera (1991) that the top five grossing films in the 1990s placed over 160 products in the films. It is therefore not at all surprising to note that product placement agencies are booming. The role of these agencies is to find film scripts which have potential product placement opportunities for their client. (Gupta and Lord 1998)

            However, just placing a brand in the duration of the film doesnt guarantee great impact. According to Davie Brown, it is not enough that one knows how many people are watching a given advertisement. The reason behind this is the subjectivity of product placement. Thus, it is important that the context of the product usage is known so that its impact to consumers in terms of it being noticed can be determined. Moreover, it also important to note whether or not their perception of the brand was changed or whether or not their decision to buy or not to buy the brand has been altered. (Sauer 2004)

      To illustrate the concept of product placement, consider a movie which uses a soda. Instead of using a can of soda which is simply marked soda, it is possible to use an actual brand of soda. (Neer 2008) This accomplishes two things: First, it promotes the particular brand of soda shown and second it makes the movie more realistic. However, one must be careful so as not to make the movie like a very long commercial. If this happens, then it can be said that there is a bad product placement. This should be differentiated from showing brand-name items in the movie as props. For marketing strategy to be considered clever, the products placed in the movie should be noticed but never the focus.

      Product placement, as can be seen in the above illustration, is a popular type of advertisement wherein branded goods or services are placed in movies, television shows, newscasts, or any other context but not as regular advertisements. (Center for Media Democracy 2008) In fact, product placement of the featured brand is usually concealed as movie, television show etc. is ongoing. As a matter of fact, it was reported by Broadcasting & Cable that 66.7% of advertisers use product placement. From the point of view of the Association of National Advertisers, the reason for this is the stronger emotional connection being established through this specific advertising technique to better fit together relevant content. (Center for Media Democracy 2008)

      Product placement may also be viewed as entwining brands (i.e. products or services) with the story in the movie or television. Other popular terms for product placement are product integration or stealth advertising. The Writers Guild of America voices concern over this as they believe it presents ethical issues in November 2005. The conflict sides of the argument is right of the public viewers to be informed regarding the subliminal advertising they are receiving on the one hand and their artists right to express their creativity when they are involved. (Trosclair 2008)

      According to the proponents of product placing, it is very effective on marketing. For a price negotiated with the producer or scriptwriter, the product placement would proceed by altering the script in order to accommodate the product. Promoters say this is very effective means of marketing the product because just at a fraction of the cost of regular advertising, it is able to promote the product. (Trosclair 2008) A review of history would reveal that the BMW Z3 sales have risen after the showing of James Bond movie. The Slinky and the Etch-a-Sketch sales also improved after the showing of Toy Story. (Sauer 2004)

      However, not everyone favors product placement. John Beyer of Media Watch UK certainly opposes it, saying that its tool by which people are exploited at the subconscious level. Moreover, he doesnt agree to the theory that viewers nowadays are discerning enough to know that if they are being a target market. He even proposed that at the beginning of the show, everything that would be advertised should have to be announced at the start of the program. Ofcom, on the other hand, warned that if such proposal would be pursued, there would be three things that have to be weighed: public interest, editorial independence and conscious knowledge of viewer that they are watching advertisements. (Duffy 2005)

There are actually three types of product placement, according to Monkey Junction Entertainment. The first type is one which the product is simply placed on the scene. The second type is an actor or actress mentioning the product or service. Finally, the third type is one which the product or service as actually used by the actor or actresses. The cost of this is a function of important factors such as the length of time involved in the production as well as the actual time when the product is shown, the visibility of the product and the actors / actresses who would take part in the project (Trosclair 2008)

Theoretically, the expressions of product placement are as follows: First, there is the non-integrated and non-expressed product placement where the brand can be seen on the feature but is neither mentioned nor used. Second, there is integrated and expressed where the brand name has been mentioned in the story but wasnt used. Third, there is integrated and used where in the storyline, it is seen used. And finally, there is embedded where the brand is the essential element in the script and was shown at various times throughout the feature. (Zenith Optimedia 2007)

           Now, in terms of how product placement deals are made, there are again, two types. The first type is called paid placement and so far, this is the most popular means. The second type is cooperative barter agreement. In this second type, the product placement is allowed in exchange for support in terms of media and cross-promotions. This, on the other hand, is what is commonly practiced for those who have limited budgets for marketing. (Black 2007)

There have been product placement firms which have been in business such as Eclipse Worldwide. According to this company, it has already produced over $1,000,000,000 worth of advertising for products placed. However, critics of product placement criticize such company for having claims without actual figures disclosed. Yet both sides agree that a product innocently appearing on screen has considerable value in the market. (Trosclair 2008)

The product placement business has been growing early in the year 2008 and several factors can account for this. First, while viewers can skip advertisement, they would sit and see the feature. Moreover, the proliferation of Tivo and other digital recording utilities encourage companies to use product placement. Second, reality shows have also encouraged the growth of product placement due to the fact that casts in shows such as American Gladiators and American Idol are more open for this than those in the professional show business. Moreover, product placements in these shows are more acceptable to viewers since it is seen less contrived by the viewers. Finally, the writer strike which happened in 2007 and 2008 have cause increased in number of such shows, paving the way for more product and service placement opportunities. (Trosclair 2008)

            Theoretically, the functions of product placement are as follows: First, through product placement, consciousness and acquaintance of the brand is developed. Second, constructive brand links are either created or enhanced through product placement. Third, a new product which is usually under an already popular brand is initiated. Fourth, sales are boosted through cross-promotion in the television program or in the main feature. And fifth, product placement is also a means by which a trend or a fad relating to the product being promoted is created. (Zenith Optimedia 2007)

            In a study in the product placement of automotive products, the following items have been observed: First, a product that is in the background performs not as well as those which are at least integrated in the story. Being in the centre of the story, of course, is the ideal case. Second, showing products is not as effective a having consumers hear and see the product because it increases brand recall.

Third, the length of appearance of the product, though vital, is not the only determinant of its successful marketing. Fourth, product placement and advertisements positive synergy works in both ways. Fifth, additional support of advertisement airing for the product being placed in the film increases recall of the product. And finally, there is an increase probability that a particular brand advertised through regular means would be noticed even weeks after if it had first been integrated in the movie or show. (Zack 2006)

            Moreover, recent researches has revealed that the cinema opens a unique opportunity for products to be naturally noticed a very profitable investment of just below 3,000 euros. There is less clutter in films as only an average of five to ten brands can be found in films. The brands likeability is also significantly increased as there is already a trust relationship between the viewer and the film they are watching. Furthermore, the audience the members of the audience who feel a connection to the actors or actresses by extension connect to the brands as well. Thus, the brand is practically carried through all distribution channels. (Bradley 2006)

            Findings on recent researches also suggest that product placement on films positively affects enjoyment ratings. In the context of program formats, respondents claimed that for different brands, their enjoyment has been slightly enhanced. Furthermore, they believe that product placement on films could not have a negative effect on the product in terms of their propensity to purchase it. On the contrary, it potentially could increase the likelihood of them purchasing it. Thus, in general, it can be said that viewers are at least neutral about product placement to favourable as can be derived from 22% of the respondents saying that they are open to it and 56% of the respondents who are still weighing two sides.

            In terms of product recall, the findings are more overwhelming. In a stud of four brands placed on movies, results indicate that spontaneous awareness of the product has been increased by 16% compared to the traditional 30-second advertisements. When compared to commercial exposure, product placement has better spontaneous awareness at 24%. In the context of the United Kingdom, spontaneous brand recall due to product placement has been increased by 5% while integration boosts it to 12%. In Canada, the same results were found. (Bradley 2006)

            Data also suggests that global product placement is now becoming a trend in advertising. It has been reported on the PQ Global Forecast 2006 that paid product placement has increased by 42.2% in 2005 and is expected to continue to grow by at least 10%. This 42.2% increase is equivalent to $2.21 billion in 2005. By 2010, spending on product placement is expected to hit $7.55 billion. For the unpaid product placement, on the other hand, the value based on barter exposure has risen by 27.9% or $5.99 in the year 2005 as opposed to the $450 billion spent of advertisement in the world. This figure is expected to reach $13.96 billion in the year 2010. (World Advertising Research Center 2008e)

            From the perspective of a media company, International Digital Sales (2006) made some suggestions on how product placement should be done. They say that that the goal must be to integrate the advertisement naturally in the movie. This means that care must be taken until the final cut. Therefore, he cautioned producers that since it is the director who has this final say, producers must never rely on brand placement for funding. Furthermore, he even suggests that product placement should be carefully reviewed as there should be clear visibility.

            Sauer (2004) proposed the following rules on placing products in movies and he gave these rules some name. First is the hands-on rule. According to this rule, it is better to use the product on film than just to advertise it. Second is lightening up the rule: The product does not always have to be used by the good guys. Even the bad guys could use it and it could also have a good effect on marketing. The third rule: brandsploitation rule. The logo of the brand must be seen. The fourth: Budget Indie Rule. According to this rule, if relationships are exploited properly, then a product could be placed in movies at very low cost. The key here, therefore, is relationships and not advertising agencies.

            Currently, the National Consumer Council has already disapproved product placement in TV. (Pinsent Masons 2006) This is a serious issue that has to be considered because it could also later on be extended to include movies. According to reports, product placement has been banned in all European nations with the exception of Austria. According to Sue Dibb the one who authored the NCCs ruling product placement is a stealth advertising tactic too far. Moreover, she also said that the 1% savings on advertising based on the experience of the United States on product placement is immaterial.

She also claims that the public hardly supports the proposal to allow more than the unpaid props which supposedly add realism to the show. In fact, Waxman (2005) reports that there are business unions which supports this. The report also said that different Writers Guild of America both from the east and west coast, and the Screen Actors Guild would hold a press conference to push authorities to create and implement a governing code of conduct for this. According to the Associated Press (2006), even the producers are worried about advertisers dictating the plot of the story.

With the advancement of digital technology, the more advertisers insist that their advertisements be integrated in the storyline in several directions because they are anxious that consumers might just fast-forward the commercials of the story they recorded.  Wood (2004) argued that this proposal would threaten the freedom of speech, affect adversely the entertainment industry and would put an end to product placement on television. Pardun, et. al. (2003), supported this idea in their study, showing that practioners of product placement believe that there would always be trade off between creative and financial considerations in the production.

            Going back to product placement in the film, attitudinal study by Dr. Israel Nebenzahl and Eugene Secunda (1993) showed that consumers have no objections regarding this practice in motion pictures. In fact, they even prefer this than the traditional promotional display since it doesnt interfere with what they are watching. Moreover, he explained that that those who are objecting to product placement in movies only do so for moral reasons.

            White (2006) gave three practical considerations in assessing product placement: First is salience/publicity. He quoted the arguments of Andrew Enrenberg and his colleagues, saying that advertisement does nothing to persuade people to buy the product and that it is just mere publicity. Second are emotional associations. With advances in neuroscience, it has been determined that emotion has a key role in decision-making process of the consumers. Finally, the third consideration is low-attention processing. He argued that recent findings such as that of Schachter and Heath show that active processing is not required for a product shown on the screen to have an impact.

            Sources used in collecting information for this research is of two types: primary or secondary. Bell (1999) said that those references which came into being during the research period is called primary sources while secondary sources are the interpretations of those events based on the primary sources. Therefore, in this research, one would note that primary sources is in the form of survey results while secondary sources, on the other hand, come from literature based findings of other researchers, given their data. These are found in the review of related literature in Section 2.0. Furthermore, the data analysis and conclusion that would result from the survey done is also said to be a form of secondary source for future studies.

            The use of questionnaire is necessary for the primary research aspect of this study. This is due to the fact that higher and greater response rate is obtained from such method. Moreover, it is also a means by which the suitability of respondents is determined and a broader selection of answers required from the respondents are established. The following survey was given randomly to 100 international students:

1.Have you seen the movie Transformers?  [ ] Yes [ ] No (If yes, proceed to item 3 immediately. If no, answer the next question.)

2.If you havent seen Transformers, to what extent are you familiar with it? (1=Not Familiar, 2= Somewhat familiar, 3=Familiar, 4=Very Familiar)

3.What type of car is autobot bumblebee?

a.[] Mazda6 Sedan

b.[] Volkswagen Beatle

c.[] Chevrolet Camaro

d.[] Ferrari F430

e.[] Mercedes Benz

f.[] Mustang

4.What type of car was the evil decepticon  police car?

a.[] Mazda6 Sedan

b.[] Volkswagen Beatle

c.[] Chevrolet Camaro

d.[] Ferrari F430

e.[] Mercedes Benz

f.[] Mustang

5.Suppose you have no financial restrictions (i.e., you can buy any car  you want), rate the probability of you choosing the following car? (1=Not Probable; 2=Somewhat Probable; 3=Probable; 4=Very Probable)

a.[1      2          3          4] Mazda6 Sedan

b.[1      2          3          4] Volkswagen Beatle

c.[1      2          3          4] Chevrolet Camaro

d.[1     2          3          4] Ferrari F430

e.[1      2          3          4] Mercedes Benz

f.[1      2          3          4] Mustang

6.Name a brand you have seen in the movies recently. Describe how it was shown. (e.g. worn by a villain, advertised on film, actually used on film, you saw the logo)

7.How vividly can you remember the details of this brand? [] Not Vivid   [] Vivid

8.How did this brand appear in the movie?

[] a.The simple placement of the product in a TV or movie scene.

[] b. Mention of the product or service by one of the shows actors or actresses.

[] c.Use of the product or service by one of the shows actors or actresses.

9.Was this brand at the center of the story? []Yes    [] No

10.Was there audio and visuals associated with this brand? [] Yes []No

11.How long was its duration on screen?

[] 30 seconds or less   [] 31 seconds 2 minutes          [] More than 2 minutes

12.Did you actually purchase the brand? [ ] Yes      [] No

What could be the possible reason for not purchasing the brand which you purchased?

                        [] I dont have the financial resources to purchase it.

                        [] Its just not for me. (e.g. dress and make-up for men)

                        [] Im not convinced of the product.

                        [] Others: (Please specify.)

13.Did you notice anything new product from this brand after  you have watched the movie in the billboards and TV commercials?             [] Yes              [] No

14.Do you think you would have notice it if you hadnt watched the movie? [] Yes         [] No

15.How much did you enjoy the movie? (1=did not enjoy, 2=somewhat enjoyed, 3=enjoyed, 4=enjoyed)

a.With product placement?                [1         2          3          4]

b.Without product placement?                      [1         2          3          4]

16.Do you think advertising using product placement works? [] Yes                     [] No

Please elaborate your answer.

            Bell (1993) says that surveys generally gives the answers to what, where, when and how. Its aim, according to Priest (1996), is to gather empirical data which would become the basis of findings of systematic observation. Combining this empirical data with those obtained from secondary sources makes the study more comprehensive.

            Data collected from this study would be filtered out through a case study of advertisement of Transformers. By doing this, not only would the research be more focused and limited but as Yin (1989) added, it would be able to use different sources of evidence within its context and also from real life. This is due to the fact that there is clarity in the boundary between the context and the phenomenon.

            Both qualitative and quantitative methods were employed in the study. The qualitative method was used for testing theory, establishing facts, showing relationships and with the help of statistical tools, describing them. A can be seen later, the results of the survey would be processed using statistical tools.

            The quantitative method, on the other hand, was a means of gaining grounded theory, describing the different relationships and catching behaviors which are occurring naturally. In the survey, this aspect can be seen in open ended questions such as in  items  12 and 18.

            Each of these two methods describe has also its own weaknesses. The quantitative method is time-consuming and more often than not, very expensive. The researcher would have to go to the cinema and look for film enthusiasts to answer the survey questions. This problem was resolved by carefully planning the data gathering phase of the research. Time and resource allocation was prioritized so as to make sure this wouldnt be an issue. The qualitative method, on the other hand, is leaning towards subjectivity. Therefore, the researcher tried, whenever possible, to show different sides to an argument to address this issue.

            McCracken (1996) explained that the nature of the case study is quantitative so that categories may be set apart and defined accurately at the onset. Then, the relationship between them later can be defined precisely later on.

            Moreover, so that there would be a more thorough study of product placement, the initial stages of the research was used in browsing and collecting information from secondary sources. Secondary Sources came from various printed media such as databases, catalogues, online indexes and various websites which were consulted in order to come up with essential theoretical framework and support for the study.

            Secondary sources were gathered using the principles of library research promoted by Badke (1990). At the start, the library was searched through catalog so that potential sources in the library may be considered. The general reference section was the first one to be explored in order to ensure that basic preliminary data needed in order to produce a general outline are obtained.

The idea here, as Badke emphasized, is to be able to solidify the theme. For this particular paper, however, the theme is already expressed in the title: Product Placement in Movieshow effective the product placement is?. Afterwards, the key words or topics in the theme were initially researched: product placement and film respectively. These were also the important words used in searching for general references. After formulation of these general headings, the ideas under them were ordered sequentially in a logical fashion.

            In browsing the catalogues, the following principles were employed: If a particular author has written a substantial material on the topic of interest in this case, product placement other his other works are also consulted. This is due to the high probability that such author has written other materials on the same or on allied fields as well. Thus, such searches are in order so as to obtain additional materials.

            The second principle is to prefer information rather than title. Sometimes, it is possible for authors tend to give creative titles which really have nothing to do with the topic. For example, we have the title Dying to Self. At first glance, one might suppose that it could be a book about death. Upon further investigation through the Bibliographical description it would be revealed that it is really a book on self-sacrifice in travelling to another culture. Knowing this, one can now evaluate whether that source is relevant to the topic or not.

            The third principle has something to do with the examination of publication information. This is important because publishers are usually involved with a particular type of material. That is why a book published by Zondervan, for example, may be readily inferred to be in the line of Christian Living. By knowing this, it becomes easier to filter out references especially when any slant towards any religion is unallowed. For this case, however, references from different sources are welcomed, as long as they fall under the general topic of product placement. For this reason, one could find a number of materials published online.

            The fourth principle is concerning date. As much as possible, only recent materials are considered so as to make sure that this research is very much relevant. However, for general concepts, an exception is in order. It is always recommended to also consult older books and records since the information found in them is not bounded by time.

            The fifth principle is regarding collation. Usually, thicker materials would have more in depth study on the subject such as books. Also, illustrations as indicated by ill., illus. or illustrated were given preference over non-illustrated ones because these materials are easier to understand due to its visuals.

            The sixth principle is to carefully examine the series title. For example, if a particular book is just part of a series for the sake of just being part of it, it is expected that it would be less authoritative. Furthermore, it is also probable that it is just a profit-making project.

On the other side, however,  it is also probable that it was made in such way that the subject may be treated very extensively.  In any case, the date should be consulted as this would be one of the indicators if the material is suitable for the research. A second book of a trilogy published in 2008, for example, would mean that the third part of the series is still unfinished so all the materials obtained from that book are in the first two books only. Thus, in using such book, one have to proceed with caution.

            The seventh principle is regarding the use of subject tracing. The bottom of the catalogue entry was used in order for the source to be placed in perspective. For instance, an article has the following key words:

III. National Values

            Such information mean that there are at least three angles by where one could view the article and two of these are acceptable in the case of this research advertising and product placement. Therefore, this book can be considered as a source.

            The eight principle is about using call numbers. When the researcher found a material, he should take note of the call number and check out the books shelved together with it since those books that have very similar call numbers are usually very related to one another.

            Finally, the bibliographical entries of each reference were visited to search for other possible books. As Badke (1990) would emphasize, the reference section is a list of suggested books and articles used by the author and using these has three advantages: First, the bibliography can potentially reveal the most important works on the topic. Second, it would be possible to see a book that has a completely different subject classification which could prove useful eventually. Finally, the citations especially those which are done in-text show the relative position of the material in the entire work.

            As application of these principles, those materials published in the last five years were considered first. Then, the reference sections of these materials were opened to examine the entries in the light of the principles just discussed. This should lead to more obscure work which has great potential. This process would be iterated till some references which are quite old are found. In this case, one of these two cases can follow: First, there would no longer be any references available or second, there would only have repeat citations. In the case of the latter, the material was examined to determine if such phenomenon was an effect of the author being locked into just one approach or if a very important work on the topic has just been found.

            The periodical index was another tool used for this research. Just like in the case of book, its various sections also provided valuable information. The following principle was followed:

            First, the authors name was noted. By knowing this, other articles written by the author becomes a consideration and is translated to additional references. Second, the abstract was examined as it gives very useful information about what the article would be all about. By doing this, it became easier for the researcher to determine whether or not a particular material has the materials he/she needs. Moreover, it is also a help for the researcher in understanding the main arguments of the work that may be difficult to follow in the full text.

Third, the availability and format of the material was examined so that proper measures may be undertaken for its retrieval. For instance, if a particular article has been preserved in microfilm and this has been indicated in the biographical entry, then the researcher could plan his/her day so as to visit this section of the library taking into account his breaks as well as the standard procedures for borrowing copy of the article.

            Mann (1987) also suggested making use of the computer since it could easily and quickly generate bibliography on various topics. Search tools such as Google and Yahoo were employed for this purpose. In considering materials offered in the web, the same principles described above were applied. In addition, reliability and validity of the information found on the website was scrutinized.

            Primary sources, on the other hand, were used to build upon the findings and information gathered from secondary sources. Primary sources in this study are the information supplied by  the respondents in the questionnaire. The questionnaires, in turn, were used in order to increase response rate, thereby establishing the initial findings based on secondary research.

            In spite of all the advantages of using this approach,  there are still several limitations of this methodology. For secondary research, there has been massive publication of digital materials in the World Wide Web which lacks in-depth, extensive, and detailed study of the topic. Furthermore, there is no assurance that the information presented are not fabrication. That is why time could be significantly wasted in filtering the numerous websites available. As for primary research, on the other hand, respondents could give insufficient or inaccurate data in their hastiness. Moreover, there is also the perennial problem of uncooperative respondents.

            Therefore, to assure that study is valid and the findings are accurate, reliability and validity of the data was checked at all times. By definition, reliability is obtained when a study is having constant or similar results to repeated measurements or experiments. (Priest 1996) This was assured by having a sample of 100 respondents or thrice the minimum recommended no. of samples for any controlled experiment.

In the case of qualitative research, on the other hand, maintaining reliability is also a challenge. Thus, in browsing through the Internet, for instance, official web pages were given preference over non-official ones. Moreover, information was carefully selected from various sources so two sides of the arguments may be established. Moreover, official textbooks and journals were also used to provide a holistic approach to the study.

            Validity, on the other hand, refers to the measurement or observation of a particular entity the researcher intends to measure. Thus, it is very important that, for the survey for instance, the questions were phrased in such a way that it says exactly what the researcher was trying to say  so that the answers that would be obtained are answers to the questions in the mind of the researcher. If this is assured, then validity is increased. That is why for item 15 of the survey, for instance, the meaning attached to particular number was specified (i.e., 1=did not enjoy, 2=somewhat enjoyed, 3=enjoyed, 4=enjoyed).

            Finally, integrity refers to intellectual honesty, among others. Therefore, ideas from other people were properly acknowledged through both citations within the text and also in the bibliography. However, since all ideas borrowed from the different authors were used as part of a library research,  obtaining a written permission from them was no longer necessary.

4.1 Results of the Survey

            The following shows the summary of the answers of the respondents to the questions asked in the survey:

Table 4-1. Have you seen the movie Transformers?

As seen in Table 4-1, most of the respondents have seen the movie, Transformers. In fact, those who havent seen the movie are familiar with it. The average familiarity of those people who havent seen the movie is 3.6 (i.e. the average score of the ratings given by five people. The sixth person didnt give an answer regarding his/her familiarity with the movie.) The frequency of ratings is shown in Table 4-2 below:

Table 4- 2. If you havent seen Transformers, to what extent are you familiar with it? (1=Not Familiar, 2= Somewhat familiar, 3=Familiar, 4=Very Familiar)

Table 4-3. What type of car is autobot bumblebee?

Based on Table 4-3, a great majority of those who watched the film know the type of vehicle the main character Bumble Bee is. The answer, of course, is Chevrolet Camaro. For the evil decepticon police car, on the other hand, table 4-4 below shows that those who have seen the film were also aware of what type of car is the villain.

Table 4-4. What type of car was the evil decepticon police car?

Table 4-5. Suppose you have no financial restrictions (i.e., you can buy any car  you want), rate the probability of you choosing the following car?

According to Table 4-5, people would want a Chevrolet Camaro and a Ferrari if money were not an issue.

Table4- 6. Name a brand you have seen in the movies recently. Describe how it was shown. (e.g. worn by a villain, advertised on film, actually used on film, you saw the logo)          

            Of those brands placed in the movies seen recently by the respondents, most of the people who can recall it are those who have seen the logo. Those who have seen it actually used on film make up a good 46.8. Moreover, majority of the people who have seen such brand can remember its detail quite vividly. However, there is still a good 31.9% who dont remember details clearly.

Table 4-7. How vividly can you remember the details of this brand?

Table 4-8. How did this brand appear in the movie?

            Most of the product brands the respondents recall were just simply placed in the movie as can be seen in Table 4-8. Furthermore, this brand was not the center of the story as attested by 70.2% of the sample population as seen in Table 4-9.

Table 4-9. Was this brand at the center of the story?

Table 4-10. Was there audio and visuals associated with this brand?

Apparently, there were audio and visuals when the product presented as seen in Table 4-10. According to Table 4-11, most of the products (42.6%) appeared for less than 30 seconds and some more extended to about 2 minutes, making majority of the products to appear in 2 minutes or less (i.e., 78.7% of the sample).


Table 4-11. How long was its duration on screen?

Table 4-12-1. Did you actually purchase the brand?

Most of the respondents purchased the brand they as seen in Table 4-12-1. According to Table 14-12-2, most of them believe that the lack of financial resources is the major reason for not buying the brand advertised. Only a few respondents (7.4%) say that they wouldnt be convinced of the product placed on the movie.

Table 4-12-2. What could be the possible reason for not purchasing the brand which you purchased?

Table 4-13. Did you notice anything new product from this brand after  you have watched the movie in the billboards and TV commercials?                 

            After watching the TV commercial, most (65.8%) of the respondents saw other forms of advertisement from the brand they saw such as billboards and TV commercials as can be seen in Table 4-13. Most of them believe they wouldnt have noticed these other forms of advertisement if they didnt see the it first in the movie. (See Table 4-14).

Table 4-14. Do you think you would have noticed it if you hadnt watched the movie?

Table 4-15. How much did you enjoy the movie?

            According to Table 4-15, they would enjoy the movie with or without product placement. However, there would enjoy it a little bit more because of product placement. Table 4-16 says most of the respondents (86%) believe product placement works.

Table 4-16. Do you think advertising using product placement works?


4.2 Discussions

            To determine the effectivity of product placement in movie, the case of the film, Transformers was studied. The type of product placement deal whether it is paid placement or cooperative barter agreement (Black 2007) was not explored. In any case, the selection of transformers as a case study is appropriate since it used product placement of different cars, especially on the main character, Bumble Bee and it is pressumed that many would see the film. Both young and old people alike would be able to relate to this film since it even before the movie, Transformers was a popular television series in the 80s. Therefore, even international students in their masters and doctoral would be able to relate to it.

            Results of the survey validated this assumption. Of the 100 students who were surveyed, only 6% havent seen the movie. Those who havent seen it, on the other hand, are at least familiar with it (i.e., they have an average familiarity score of 3.6). The implication of that the respondents would start on the same page. This also supports the claim of Sauer (2004) that film is an intercultural force today and it has, in fact, have gained so much ground that to ignore it could mean being left out in the trend.

Another factor which migh have helped Transformers to be this popular is included in Turcottes (1995) discussion on the three main benefits of product placement which includes longer life span. Even those who havent seen the movie on the silver screen could have done so right into their very homes by just watching DVDs or VCDs or whatever format is available in their nation.

            Those who have seen the movie were asked if they can identify what robot Bumblebee is?  This question was asked because Sauer (2004) and Neer (2008) cautioned that just because a particular brand appear on the screen doesnt mean its product placement is effective. Of course, as it is found out by Trosclair (2008), any product appearing innocently on the screen has considerable market value. But even so, the effectiveness varies. A billboard of Alcatel seen as the main character drives on the expressway, for instance, would have an effect different from the same main character being seen to use his/her Alcatel phone.

Therefore, it was necessary to test the effectivity of the product placement of the Chervolet Camaro in the movie. In making this question, some of those who have been previously exposed to the animation, Transformers, are expected to commit error on this question since Bumblebee was a Volkswagen in the animated series. The fact that only 6.4% have this answer is astonishing! What is even more amazing is that most of the respondents an overwhelming 74.5% got it right: Bumblebee in the moview is a Chevrolet Camaro! Considering that Chevrolet Camaro was not consciously promoted in the movie is already a good indicator that the placement of the product, Chevrolet, in the movie, Transformer, is very effective.

            Respondents were asked again another question, this time about an obscure villain the evil decepticon police car who tried to kill the humans Bumblebee was trying to protect. Again, there was not even a dialogue like, Look! Theres a Mustang police car! where the name of the brand was mentioned. Nevertheless, 45% of the respondents got it right! This suggest that there is some truth to Sauers (2004) first two rules the hands on rule and the lighten up rule.

In terms of effectivity, however, the hands on rule seem to be more effective. What is consistent with this result is that which was reported by Zack (2006). According to him, those products in the background do not perform as well as those in the foreground. Since Bumblebee is the main character, he is given the spot light. The evil decepticon mustang police car, on the other hand, is in the background by virtue of it being one of the antagonists.

            In question no. 5, respondents were asked what type of car they would want to buy if money were not an issue. It is expected that most people would choose the more popular Ferrari F430 and the results reveal the same thing. What is interesting, however, is that the Chevrolet Camaros mean ios the same as the Ferrari F430 which means to a certain extent, it had made the competition better for the Chevrolet. The Mustang, on the other hand, is at no. 4, suggesting again that the lighten up rule of Sauer (2004) is less effective than the hands on rule. If one would review the movie, he/she would find that bumblebee is indeed central in the story causing the Chevrolet Camaro to also be in the spotlight.

            Item six is an open question. This time, the study went beyond the movie, Transformers, to a higher level in the abtraction ladder product placement itself. In general, respondents were able to name a brand in a movie he/she has recently seen such as that which was worn by a particular movie character or a billboard of a particular product which appeared as a particular character is riding downtown. Majority of the respondent (48.9%) saw the logo of the particular product.

Those who have seen it actually used by a character in the film are not too far behind at 46.8%. However, those who have seen it worn by a villain is just 4.3% This suggest that on the one hand, the light it up rule is not commonly practiced and may be further explored. In any case, the majority of the respondents (68.1%) say that they can still remember quite clearly the details of the appearance of the product while only 31.9% say they cannot vividly remember the details. Taking this results one step further, these findings show that at least for products actually used on film or whose logo has been shown, most of the viewers would remember it vividly.

            Moreover, the survey also shows that product placement usually employes simple placement. Very few films mentioned the product or use the product. Based on these results, it can therefore be said that there are not too many films like Transformers where the product is used, at least as far as the respondents are concerned. In fact, Table 4-9 further validates this as most of the respondents 70.2% in particular said that the brand they remember is not the center of the story. If this is the case, then, it can also be said that product placement though not as effective as in the case of transformers where the product is placed in the center of the story works.

            Table 4-10 shows that audio and visuals do help to help enhance product recall as most of the people surveyed remember it. Audio and visuals add more association and experience to the brand, making it more memorable through emotional association. It is actually for this reason that emotional associations, according to White (2006), are a practical consideration in assessing product placement.

            In Table 4-11, it can be seen that 78.7% of the products placed in movie which respondents remember last for at most two minutes. The implication of this is that product placement on the silver screen doesnt have to be long for it to be effective. The use of chevrolet as Bumblebee is ideal but not all movies can be fashioned in such a way that the storyline would revolved around a certain product. Most of the time, only short opportunities can be explored in the story line allow for product placement. Despite this limitation, however, it can still be made effective if

            Whatever brand was it that the respondents recalled, they also recalled purchasing it. As seen in Table 4-12-1. That means, at the end of the day, product placement still do convert to money. If ever they didnt buy this item they remembered, it is not because they do not believe in the product as only 7.4% of the respondents say that. The greater reason for not buying it is financial as seen in Table 4-12-2. Therefore, if they would have the opportunity to buy it, would do so and again, this is another point in favor of product placement.

            Now, looking at Table 4-13, it can be said that product placement also builds product awareness to the people. In fact, 63.8% of the respondents say that they wouldnt have noticed these new advertisements. Of course, if they hadnt noticed it, then these normal forms of advertisement would have less impact. Therefore, as product placement builds awareness of the product to the people, it inevitably enhances other forms of advertisement.

            As it is shown in Table 4-15, there is not much difference in the means of scores of programs with or without product placement, the variable with product placement has a higher mean score. This result is in agreement with those of Nebenzahl and Secunda (1993) that product placement do not negatively affect the flow of the film. If anything, it enhances it. One possible reason for this is the realism product placement offer as suggested by Neer (1993)

            Up to this point, it seems that product placement in movies is indeed the cutting edge method in advertising and can potentially have a huge effect even on other forms of advertisement. Furthermore, the current status of product placement as reported by Bradley (2006) i.e., it being uncluttered further increases the effectivity of product placement.

However, the debate going on now with regards to its legality does not help at all. According to Pinsent Masons (2006), the National Consumer Council has already disapproved in television and the public seem to not care at all. Wood (2004), on the other hand, defended product placement, arguing that if the current proposal by the National Consumer Council would be pursued, not only would it threaten the peoples freedom but may also end product placement altogether.

           As seen in this paper, product placement is an effective form of advertising regardless of its form. Moreover, since the movie has longer life span than other types of advertisements, this makes product placement more desireable and more effective. Just in the case of this paper, a study of the movie transformers reveals that indeed, many of those who were surveyed have seen the movie.

Perhaps they have seen it in movie theatres. But even if its already not yet showing, some were still able to see it since it is available in other forms such as DVD and VCD. Most of the respondents were still able to recall one of the main characters in the movie Bumblebee suggesting that it is able to increase brand recall. When most of them say they would buy the brand they recalled and only very few said they wouldnt because they dont trust the brand, it can therefore be said that indeed, product placement is very effective.

           However, this is being limited by the arguments going on regarding ethical issues surrounding this field. If these issues can be resolved, then its effectivity can be maximized. For no matter how effective this advertising technique is, if its forbidden by law, then it is still of not much use. It is therefore recommended that the legislation again review the policy of governing bodies such as National Consumer Council and rethink their position on these issues. Further studies are also recommended to explore the ethics side of this topic as this is a main point of contention.

           Also, it is recommended that future improvement on this topic cover a more extensive testing of product placement based on multiple popular movies done commercially. If there would be a larger budget, several short films could also be made with products placed on the movie so that this could be the controlled variable.

           Also, it is recommended that instead of asking for the respondents perception such as Did the brand used visuals? a test be given in its place. Of course, to be able to do that, the researchers must also make the film a controlled variable, thereby necessitating the use of more films. An example of probing question would be, When bumble bee appeared, was there any sound? Describe his entrance? What was bumblebees color? etc. By pursuing this, one could validate if what they are saying is actually true. Moreover, it can also be a measure of the recall that they have.

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