PRODUCT PLACEMENT IN MOVIES
Chitra K (08AA04)
Kirthiga T (08AA18)
Kirthiga Sekar (08AA19)
Nivetha Grace R (08AA28)
Sneha N Doss (08AA37)
PSG INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT
1.1. WHAT IS PRODUCT PLACEMENT?
A product placement is the inclusion of a product, brand name or the name of the firm in
a movie for increasing memorability of the brand and instant recognition at the point of
purchase. It is an advertising technique in which the companies pay a fee or provide
service in exchange for a prominent display of their product.
Product placement appears in plays, film, television series, music videos, video games
and books. 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.
1.2. BRIEF HISTORY
The first film to feature product placement was Wings (released in 1927), the first film to
win the Oscar for Best Picture. It contained a plug for Hershey's chocolate. In other 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. Sponsorship still exists today with programs being sponsored by major
vendors such as Hallmark. Incorporation of products into the actual plot of a TV show is
generally called "brand integration".
The earliest example of product placement in a computer or video game occurs in the
1984 game Action Biker for KP's Skips crisps. Video games, such as Crazy Taxi feature
real retail stores as game destinations. However, sometimes the economics are reversed
and video game makers pay for the rights to use real sports teams and players. Today,
product placement in online-video is also becoming common. Online agencies are
specializing in connecting online-video producers, which are usually individuals, with
brands and advertisers.
Certain products are featured more than others. Commonly seen are automobiles,
consumer electronics and computers, and tobacco products.
The most common products to be promoted in this way are automobiles.. For example,
The X-Files used Fords, as do leading characters on 24. The James Bond films pioneered
such placement. The 1974 film The Man with the Golden Gun featured extensive use of
AMC cars, even in scenes in Thailand, where AMC cars weren't sold. The last two Bond
films had used vehicles from Ford or its subsidiaries. In Bad Boys 2 and The Matrix
Reloaded, almost every car was made by General Motors, the only exception being the
Ferrari in Bad Boys 2.
Nissan cars also feature prominently in the 'Heroes' TV show, the logos often zoomed
in/out of or whole cars shown for a few seconds at the beginning of a new scene. In The
Matrix Reloaded, a key chase scene is conducted between a brand new Cadillac CTS and
a Cadillac Escalade EXT. The chase scene also features a Ducati motorcycle in the
getaway. Three of the James Bond films starring Pierce Brosnan featured a BMW car
before fan outcry pressured the producers to return to using the traditional Aston Martin,
which was owned by Ford Motor Company at the time and thus brought in more product
placement. In addition, a Shelby GT500 is used extensively at the beginning of I Am
Legend. In the 2008 movie Taken Liam Neeson drives AUDI cars, first an A3 and a S8.
Consumer electronics and computers
The 2006 film Casino Royale features many Sony product placements throughout, all
characters use VAIO laptops, Sony Ericsson cell phones and GPSs, BRAVIA televisions,
and Bond uses a Cyber-shot to take photos.
Apple's products frequently appear in films and on television. In video games, products
that most often appear are placements for processors or graphics cards. For example in
EA's Battlefield 2142, ads for Intel Core 2 processors appear on map billboards.
In the video game F.E.A.R all of the laptops have a dell screensaver on them.
The James Bond film License to Kill featured use of the Lark brand of cigarette and the
producers accepted payment for that product placement. The studio's executives
apparently believed that the placement triggered the American warning notice
requirement for cigarette advertisements and thus the movie carried the Surgeon
General's Warning at the end credits of the film.
Quantification methods track brand integrations, with both basic quantitative and more
demonstrative qualitative systems used to determine the cost and effective media value of
a placement. Rating systems measure the type of placement and on-screen exposure is
gauged by audience recall rates. Products might be featured but hardly identifiable,
clearly identifiable, long or recurrent in exposure, associated with a main character,
verbally mentioned and/or they may play a key role in the storyline. Media values are
also weighed over time, depending on a specific product's degree of presence in the
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1. As a form of covert marketing communication tool, the practice of placing
branded products within films for commercial purposes has gained popularity
among marketers and brand managers. At the same time, the popularity of this
practice increases concerns and discussions of public well-being from various
groups such as public policy makers, consumer interest groups, regulatory
agencies, and consumers. By employing a survey with a sample of 3,340 non-
students, the current study provides a more accurate picture of attitudes towards
product placement in films. Overall findings suggest that consumers are overall
positively disposed toward product placement, do not see a need for regulation,
and have a tendency towards neutrality regarding several of the practice’s facets.
-Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
2.2 "One of the most important benefits a corporation can gain is by having a
star imply endorsement of their product by using it in a film. Most specifically,
big name stars almost never appear in U.S. television advertisements but if they
are seen using a company's product in a "reality like" situation in a film,
Turcotte notes that it has been shown that the audience is more likely to believe
that this action might imply the star's endorsement of the product than if the star
were to do a paid advertisement."
- Benefits to corporate America
3.1 RESEARCH DESIGN
3.1.1 Purpose of the study
The research purpose indicates that this study is primarily descriptive. A descriptive
study is undertaken in order to ascertain and be able to describe the characteristics of the
variables of interest in a situation. The research draws some conclusions from the data
collected which makes it descriptive.
3.1.2 Extent of researcher interference
The extent of researcher interference is minimal in this study. Respondents were made
aware of the topic “product placement”. Oral examples like the brand Nokia which is
displayed on Tom Cruise's phone in the movie Minority Report, the use of Cadillac cars
in the movie Matrix Reloaded and the brand Motorola used by Kamal Hasan in the movie
Vettaiyadu Villayadu. The events were studied as they normally occur.
3.1.3 Data collection method
Since the respondents were English speakers, the statements were set only in English in a
simplified style. The questionnaire was primarily adopted and based on the works by
students from Sheffield Hallam University, UK and some questions were framed by the
researchers through brainstorming. A five point Likert-type scale was used, with
‘strongly agree’ at point one; ‘agree’ at point two; ‘neither agree nor disagree’ at point
three; ‘disagree’ at point four; and ‘strongly disagree’ at point five. Another five point
scale with points like “always, mostly, sometimes, rarely and never” was used. Certain
direct questions were given only two options “yes” or “no”
3.1.4 Time horizon
Data were collected from students for a period of two days. The data has been collected
just once and will not be collected again from them for this research. This makes the
study purely cross sectional.
3.1.5 Data analysis
This data was entered into SPSS, and the required computations had been completed in
SPSS itself. Descriptive statistics like mean, median and standard deviation. Also
graphical representations like pie charts, bar graphs and histograms were used. Cross
tabulation was executed.
3.1.6 Study setting
The research was carried out in a natural environment with minimal interference of the
researcher which shows that it is a field study in a noncontrived setting.
3.2 SAMPLING TECHNIQUE
Our population consists of graduates from PSGIM and PSG College of Technology .For
the purpose of this research, the sampling method used was a non-probability convenient
sampling approach. The elements in the population do not have any probabilities attached
to their being chosen as the sample subjects. The findings from the study of the sample
alone cannot be generalized to the population.
Our sample consists of 50 students, 25 male and 25 female students from PSGIM and
PSG College of Technology. The motivation for this selection was that respondents were
thought to be an appropriate sample since young adults (18 to 24 years of age) are avid
film attendees. Respondents also possess the disposable income to attend films. Product
placement in films is therefore an effective way to target young, affluent and well-
The data thus collected is primary in nature. It was entered into SPSS, and the required
computations were completed in SPSS itself. But prior to this a secondary research was
done through available online resources.
5.1 DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS
Item N Maximum Minimum Mean Standard
Noticing product 50 4(rarely) 1(always) 2.58(sometimes) 0.906
Knowing product 50 2(mostly) 1(always) 1.16(always) 0.370
placement as a
Disruption in the 50 5(never) 1(always) 3.8(rarely) 1.043
flow of movie
Ability to recall 50 5(never) 1(always) 3.34(sometimes) 0.939
Preference for 50 5(never) 1(always) 2.40(mostly) 1.278
Influence against 50 4(strongly 1(strongly 2.64(disagree) 0.722
will disagree) agree)
Attention 50 6(others) 1(electronic 2.50(FMCG) 1.165
Curiosity in 50 5(never) 1(always) 3.12(sometimes) 0.982
Discussion with 50 5(never) 1(always) 3(sometimes) 1.161
Probability of 50 5(never) 1(always) 3.72(sometimes) 1.179
Products 50 5(others) 1(electronic 3.18(FMCG) 1.57
After product 50 3(revert to 1(continue 1.88(switch brands 0.689
trial original using it) after sometime)
Sympathy 50 5(never) 2(mostly) 3.28(sometimes) 0.991
Item – questions surveyed
N – number of respondents
Maximum – mostly opted choice
Minimum – least opted choice
Mean – average choice
Standard deviation – measure of dispersion for interval
5.2 GRAPHICAL STATISTICS
Maximum respondents are of the age 21.
Do you notice products placed in a movie?
Frequen Valid Cumulativ
cy Percent Percent e Percent
Valid Always 5 10.0 10.0 10.0
Mostly 20 40.0 40.0 50.0
16 32.0 32.0 82.0
Rarely 9 18.0 18.0 100.0
Total 50 100.0 100.0
Most of the respondents notice the products placed in the movie.
Most of the respondents feel that product placement rarely hinders the flow of the movie.
Almost all respondents are aware of product placement as a method of advertising.
The respondents have ranked talk shows to be the most influencing medium. The next
influential media are movies and music videos. Soaps and theatre plays are the least
It is inferred that 83.3% females always discuss products after watching movies which is
very high compared to 16.7% males who rarely discuss the products.
The respondents give primary importance to the product and then the brand followed by
It is seen that females mostly have purchased FMCG products whereas men have
purchased electronic goods.
6. FINDINGS AND SUGGESTIONS
• All most all the respondents notice the products placed in the movie.
• Most of the respondents feel that product placement rarely hinders the flow of the
• Almost all respondents are aware of product placement as a method of
• The respondents have ranked talk shows to be the most influencing medium. The
next influential media are movies and music videos. Soaps and theatre plays are
the least influential.
• It is inferred that 83.3% females always discuss products after watching movies
which is very high compared to 16.7% males who rarely discuss the products.
• The respondents give primary importance to the product and then the brand
followed by the celebrity.
• It is seen that females mostly have purchased FMCG products whereas men have
purchased electronic goods.
This research has only investigated a small part of this area of research. Investigating a
large sample through a quantitative research could shed a better light on some of the
points revealed through this research. With regards to strategic action that needs to be
taken in the future, the following recommendations are put forward:
• Further in-depth studies can be conducted into the nature of consumers’
recognition of product placements.
• It can be analyzed in future whether the cost associated with product placements
should be determined prior to the implementation thereof to establish the
feasibility with regard to the cost per viewer and the reach of the target market
• Like other promotion tools, managers must actively assess product placement
opportunities to ensure the product’s appearance works in synergy with its image
and competitive positioning in the market.
• In future it should also be attempted to recreate an authentic cinema experience in
order to see whether consumers remember product placements to the same extent
when they are in a normal cinema-viewing environment.
• Research in future should examine audience attitudes towards, or interest, in
brands and branded goods to gain a more thorough understanding of an
individual’s tendency to be influenced by branded images.
• In order to avoid the bias introduced by individual recognition, future research
should investigate utilizing a research design where association between
placement exposure and reported behavior is framed more definitely (for example
by the time period and event).
• The placements on Mobile Communication Media (MCM), with its physical
small size and clear images, reception of undistorted visuals, marketers and
advertisers should ensure prominently placed brand names.
Finally, product placement’s growing importance as a component of integrated marketing
communication requires that marketers strive to better understand its potential. This
knowledge is expected to help marketers better define their strategies for marketing and
The research results indicate that consumers are aware about product placement being a
method of advertising. They are influenced by the placements and have bought products
that had been placed in movies and other media. Thus product placement seems to have
gained acceptance as a form of advertisement and can be continued to be used. Also,
most do not feel that product placements are irritating and interrupting the flow of the
movie. People are generally expressing a positive attitude toward product placement and
are influenced by it.
A conclusion drawn from the research was that products placed prominently in films
were better recognized than those placements placed subtly within the context of the film.
Another aspect closely considered in this research was the effect product placements have
on the realism of the film.
The research shows that product placements in films are a viable alternative to traditional
forms of advertising. The reason for this is that product placement (especially prominent
product placements) is readily recognized by viewers. Product placements therefore offer
numerous benefits to the marketer in terms of reach and diminishing cost per viewer.
Product placement is an immense field of research within which much is yet to be
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