MediaPost Publications – Study Finds Ads More Persuasive Than Product Placement

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by: David Polinchock

Interesting research on product placement and its value as an advertising tool. Funny thing is, when it's done right, you really shouldn't notice product placement. When it's done to be noticed, it's usually not believable at all. People know it's just a marketing ploy and it doesn't seem to ring true. Any reader comments?

NEW CONSUMER RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT branded entertainment still has a long way to go to compete with the 30-second spot–especially when it comes to influencing people to buy products.

Researcher FIND/SVP says that consumers would be twice as likely to buy a product as a result of seeing a TV commercial than they would after seeing a product in a branded entertainment scenario. Fifty-two percent of viewers would buy a product after being exposed to a TV commercial, while 23% would do the same from a branded entertainment experience.

"No one has really delved into how consumers feel about branded entertainment," says Frank Dudley, vp of marketing for FIND/SVP. "The major takeaway is that, from our perspective, the 30-second commercial is not going away. It's going to find a place in an integrated approach."

In August, FIND/SVP asked 1,000 consumers their opinions on traditional TV advertising compared to branded entertainment and product placement.

In the last few years, there has been a simultaneous rise of reality shows and branded entertainment deals. Reality shows have been one of the primary launching pads for branded entertainment.

But consumers don't perceive that connection to be that valuable. The FIND/SVP survey showed that consumers were much more likely to accept product placement in scripted shows–and in particular sitcoms–than reality shows. Those numbers showed a 47% preference for sitcoms, 36% for dramas, and 25% for reality shows.

Consumers were asked questions about one of the biggest branded entertainment efforts–Pontiac's car giveaway to the entire audience of a particular episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" early this year. The survey showed that only 36 percent actually recalled seeing the episode. The show also seem less memorable for those who watched it–only 44 percent who saw the episode recalled the car she gave away.

Strangely, more males–51%–recalled the car's model than females, of which 40% recalled the brand. Men aren't the dominant viewers of "Oprah"–women 25-54 are–although car companies typically placed a strong emphasis on targeting male consumers in their overall media plans.

Other results focused on digital video recorders. For consumers, the benefits are obvious: Sixty-two percent say that one benefit is not watching commercials; 55% say another benefit is watching their programs faster by eliminating commercials. 

Link: MediaPost Publications – Study Finds Ads More Persuasive Than Product Placement – 08/22/2005.

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