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of Product Placement 
in the Mass Media: 
New Strategies 
in Marketing Theory, 
Practice, Trends, and Ethics 

Journal of Promotion Management 
Volume 10, Numbers 1/2 


In Memoriam: Bill Adams of Florida International University 
Richard Alan Nelson 

Introduction: Product Placements in the Mass Media: 
Unholy Marketing Marriages or Realistic Story-Telling 
Portrayals, Unethical Advertising Messages or Useful 
Communication Practices? 

Mary-Lou Galician 


Insinuating the Product into the Message: An Historical Context 
for Product Placement 
Kathleen J. Turner 
The cozy arrangement of marketers embedding their products in mediated mes- 
sages has its antecedents in radio and television, when sponsors often controlled 
the entirety of programs, from writing to casting to pitches for the products within 
the program. This essay sketches the rise and fall of this system as it paved the way 
for contemporary product placement. 

KEYWORDS. History, product placement, quiz shows, radio, television 

The Evolution of Product Placements in Hollywood Cinema: 
Embedding High-Involvement “Heroic” Brand Images 15 
Mary-Lou Galician 
Peter G. Bourdeau 

This content analysis of the 15 top-grossing motion pictures of 1977, 1987, and 1997 
uncovered 546 product placements present in fully one quarter (24%) of the total 
running time of the 45 movies. Product leaders were automobiles (21% of all place- 
ments), beer (14%), and soda (11%), with Coca-Cola the overall brand leader. 
Full-display appearances remained dominant throughout. Most appearances were 
brief: however, “key” placements—lengthier showcases featuring brands in central 
heroic roles and in idealized images resembling TV commercials—increased over the 
20-year period. Other related notable changes were increases in high-involvement 
placements (89%), implied endorsement placements (83%) (coupled with a 9% rise 
in “verbal/hands mentions,” the most valued placement), and “mentioned” place- 
ments (75%) (similarly coupled with a 9% rise in “used” placements), and the num- 
ber of brands placed (32%) along with decreases in liquor placements (60%), 
association with minor characters (40%) and non-stars (36%), and both “signage” 
(24%) and “clutter” (20%) placements, the least valued. 

KEYWORDS. Brand names, brand placement, cinema, Hollywood, marketing, 
motion pictures, movie production, product placement, promotion 

Advertainment: The Evolution of Product Placement as a Mass 
Media Marketing Strategy 37 
Susan B. Kretchmer 

This essay explores the issues implicated by entertainment vehicles created solely to 
spotlight specific advertisers. From the contemporary exemplar of this paradigm in 
the highly successful 1990-1998 “Sophisticated Taste” campaign for Taster’s 
Choice® instant coffee, in which viewers watched the sparks fly between the charac- 
ters of Tony and Sharon in a continuing series of ads that functioned as television 
programming across multiple media platforms, to the most recent incarnation in 
advergames, online computer games that promote brands, this study considers the 
nature and implications of perhaps the ultimate evolution of product placement and 
blurring of the lines between entertainment and commercial persuasion. 

KEYWORDS. Advergames, advertising, commercials, entertainment, Internet, 
product placement, promotion, television 

Merchandising in the Major Motion Picture Industry: 
Creating Brand Synergy and Revenue Streams 55 
Charles A. Lubbers 
William J. Adams 

To help guarantee a profit in a very risky industry, major motion picture studios 
have dramatically increased movie production and marketing budgets. While ad- 


vertising is the traditional emphasis in the movie marketing mix, in recent years the 
budget for promotion has equaled the advertising budgets. This essay discusses 
two areas of movie promotion that studios have increasingly turned to for addi- 
tional revenues: merchandising and promotional/partner tie-ins. These two ele- 
ments of the promotion mix generate billions of dollars in revenue for studios each 
year, but they are generally overlooked by the general population and academic 

KEY WORDS. Brand, economics, films, licensing, merchandising, motion picture 
industry, movies, product placement, promotion 

The Extensions of Synergy: Product Placement 
Through Theming and Environmental Simulacra 65 
Scott Robert Olson 

Building brand identity becomes more difficult in a media-saturated culture, making 
it difficult to get a commercial message through to its audience, and requiring mar- 
keters to develop evermore omnipresent devices for reaching consumers. Corpora- 
tions use synergy as a way of conveying consistent brand messages through multiple 
venues. Those venues have expanded beyond our conventional notions of the mass 
media, however, and increasingly rely on physical environments such as theme 
parks, casinos, and even residential communities to communicate and reinforce 
brand messages. These places, artificially constructed environmental simulacra, ob- 
scure the distinctions normally made between the cinematic world and the real 
world. The transformation of space into a new advertising medium has significant 
cultural implications. 

KEYWORDS. Advertising, brand, marketing, movies, product placement, simulacra, 
synergy, television 


Product Placement and the Law 89 
Paul Siegel 

Consumer activists who propose regulations either banning certain product place- 
ments or requiring their affirmative disclosure in motion picture closing credits 
generally assert that such regulations would not violate the First Amendment be- 
cause product placements are commercial speech, which receive far less constitu- 
tional protection than core political speech. This essay reviews the evolution of the 
Supreme Court's commercial speech doctrine and concludes that product place- 
ments would likely not be considered commercial speech at all; moreover, the es- 
say argues, even if they were found to be commercial speech, the Court’s evolving 
doctrine would likely protect the placements from regulation. 

KEYWORDS. Advertising, commercial speech, First Amendment, motion pic- 
tures, product placement 

On the Ethics of Product Placement in Media Entertainment 101 
Lawrence A. Wenner 

This study examines the ethical propriety of current trends in product placement in 
television and film entertainment. Historical background for the product place- 
ment concept and practice is provided. Changes in the marketing climate that have 
provided a push for product placement are outlined. A characterization of the 
product placement industry as it stands today, and the ethical issues raised by the 
practice frame the analysis. Three distinct “genres” of contemporary product 
placement are analyzed: (1) Product Placement, (2) Product Integration, and 
(3) Video Insertion. First, the rise of Product Placement, strategic changes in use, 
and increased dependence on revenues in production will be discussed. The sec- 
ond section examines a newly mounted form of Product Integration, whereby 
product placement plays a key role in content development and support of produc- 
tion in television and film. Third, the origins of Video Insertion will be traced to the 
Princeton Video Image invention of its proprietary L-VIS product. The ethical effi- 
cacy of placing “virtual advertisements” in space and times that do not naturally 
exist will be examined. The article closes with summary assessments and consider- 
ation of recommendations for action. Ethical issues focused on in the assessment 
include deception, artists’ rights, and excess commercialism. Recommendations 
consider the climate for full and advance disclosure of product placements in me- 
dia entertainment, the prospects for a voluntary rating system, and the threat of re- 
classifying product placement infused media entertainment as commercial speech. 
KEYWORDS. Commercial speech, ethics, media, movies, Princeton Video Im- 
age, product integration, product placement, television programming, video inser- 
tion, virtual advertising 

The Role and Ethics of Community Building for Consumer 
Products and Services | 
Dean Kruckeberg 
Kenneth Starck 


Kruckeberg and Starck (1988) argue that public relations is the active attempt to 
restore and maintain the sense of community that has been lost in contemporary 
society. Many manufacturers and service providers seek “communities” of con- 
sumers. However, what is the social ethic of such consumer communities? Do they 
provide an authentic “sense of community” as advocated by Kruckeberg and 
Starck? This article examines these and related questions and offers suggestions 
regarding the creation and maintenance of consumer “communities.”” Consumer 
communities—when appropriately formed and nurtured—can have impact on indi- 
viduals and society at large that are best considered from a public relations, not 
marketing, viewpoint. 

KEYWORDS. Chicago School of Social Thought, communitarian, community, 
community-building, consumer community, culture, ethics norms, public rela- 
tions, social capital, social ethic, society, values 



A Comparison of Product Placements 
in Movies and Television Programs: 
An Online Research Study | 147 
Beng Soo Ong 

Product placement has expanded as a promotional tactic, aided by technological 
innovations which present new openings for, and challenges to, branded messages 
via television. Product placements in television shows differ from placements in 
movies in terms of (1) federal regulations, (2) greater vehicle choices, and (3) abil- 
ity to embed brands into TV shows that have proven to be successful. In light of 
these differences, an online survey was conducted with the purpose of examining 
attitudinal differences, if any, between product placement in movies and in TV pro- 
grams. The study found that although three-fourths of the sample were aware of 
product placements in both media, respondents appeared to have less exposure to 
brand placements in television shows than in movies. That may have led to a weak 
impact of television placements on respondents’ brand attitudes. 

KEYWORDS. Brand, films, movies, product placements, television 

Product Placement of Medical Products: Issues and Concerns 159 
Christopher R. Turner 

Product placement is a well-established marketing technique that nevertheless con- 
tinues to provoke considerable criticism and debate. Likewise, direct-to-patient 
marketing of pharmaceuticals is legally acceptable but is controversial among 
ethicists and medical professionals. Little has been published regarding the ethical 
challenges and pitfalls involved in medical marketing, including the issues of 
whether medical products should be treated differently from consumer products and 
whether pharmaceuticals are distinct from medical devices. Discussed are examples 
of pharmaceutical marketing as well as an episode from the Chicago Hope television 
program in which a medical device was touted as a solution for a problem for which 
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the use of the device. 
Legal and ethical considerations for product placement of medical products as they 
influence patient demand are also analyzed, as well as some of the pitfalls that may 
accompany direct marketing of medical products. 

KEYWORDS. Ethics, medical products, product placement 

Cast Away and the Contradictions of Product Placement 171 
Ted Friedman 

This essay looks at implications of product placement in Cast Away, the 2000 film in 
which Tom Hanks plays a Federal Express executive who is stranded on a desert is- 
land before making his way back home. It argues that Cast Away is a particularly 

valuable case study because of the conflict between its relentless product placement 
and its dark vision of contemporary global capitalism. The article investigates four 
aspects of global capitalism addressed by Cast Away: the compression of time, the 
compression of space, the rising influence of multinational corporations, and the 
dominance of consumer culture. 

KEYWORDS. Capitalism, Cast Away, Federal Express, globalism, motion pic- 
tures, movies, product placement, time, space 

Brand Placement Recognition: The Influence of Presentation 
Mode and Brand Familiarity 185 
lan Brennan 
Laurie A. Babin 

This study examines the impact of adding an audible reference to a visually promi- 
nent brand placement on recognition of the brand placed. Facilitated recognition 
scores were used to control for the effects of brand familiarity on brand placement 
recognition. Subjects exposed to one of two complete movies were asked to indi- 
cate recognition of brands that were er were not placed in their movie. Results in- 
dicate that brand placement recognition levels achieved by audio-visual 
prominent placements exceed the recognition rates achieved by visual-only promi- 
nent placements. Additionally, familiar brands achieve higher levels of recogni- 
tion than unfamiliar brands, even when the recognition scores for familiar brands 
are adjusted for the guessing and constructive recognition that may result from in- 
ferences associated with familiar brands. 

KEYWORDS. Audio cues, brand placement, movies, on-set placements, product 
placement, recognition 

The Bulgari Connection: A Novel Form of Product Placement 203 
Richard Alan Nelson 

Product placement is the business process that seamlessly inserts an advertiser's 
commercial message into various entertainment and informational media vehicles 
(movies, videos, television programs, radio shows, newsletters, books, etc.) as an 
indigenous part of the story line. This paper presents an analysis of the controversy 
surrounding British novelist Fay Weldon’s decision to accept financing from the 
famed Italian jewelry company Bulgari to prominently mention the firm and its 
products in her 2001 book, a fast-paced social comedy. The contract specified at 
least 12 mentions. However, in an interesting twist, Weldon decided to feature 
Bulgari prominently in the plot and incorporate the company name in the title. The 
Bulgari Connection (U.S. distributor, Grove/Atlantic) is believed by many to be 
“the first major novel containing paid product placement,” although other books 
with commercial tie-ins predate it. 

KEYWORDS. Advertising, book industry, branding, credibility, product place- 
ment, promotions 


} 2 
we When Product Placement Is NOT Product Placement: 
Reflections of a Movie Junkie 213 
ie. David Natharius 

The development of product placement in films and television shows can be readily 

observed by anyone who has devoted a significant part of their lives going to the 

movies. The first product placements were generic and fictitious and were hardly 
35 noticed by the movie-going public. But, as the placement of real products became 
more prevalent, it became apparent to the serious film buff that the presence of a fic- 
titious or clearly disguised product became more of a distraction than the use of ac- 
tual products. The attempt to make serious realistic films is sometimes sidetracked 
by a clearly fake product that strikes at the suspension of disbelief of movie goers, 
particularly when they have some familiarity with the product NOT being placed. 


on KEYWORDS. Cinema, films, logo, motion pictures, movies, product placement 



al A Leading Cultural Critic Argues Against Product Placement: 

1l- ° ° +e ° 

i. An Interview with Mark Crispin Miller 219 
ds Mary-Lou Galician 


A Rising Independent Filmmaker Argues for Product 
ct Placement: An Interview with Samuel A. Turcotte 223 
Mary-Lou Galician 

3 Harry Potter, Coca-Cola, and the Center for Science 
in the Public Interest: An Interview with Michael F. Jacobson 227 
Mary-Lou Galician 
s A Pulitzer Prize-Winning Media Critic Discusses Product 
: Placement: An Interview with Howard Rosenberg 233 
- Mary-Lou Galician 
C Screening MEF’s Behind the Screens: Hollywood 
d Goes Hypercommercial (2000) 237 

Mary-Lou Galician 

This review offers a summary of a Media Education Foundation video about prod- 
uct placement and related media marketing practices and makes recommenda- 

tions for using it with school and college-age audiences as well as at professional 
and academic meetings. University of Massachusetts Communication Professor 
Sut Jhally established The Media Education Foundation in 1991 “as an indepen- 
dent non-profit organization to produce and disseminate educational videotapes 
as well as conduct research on timely media issues” with a stellar Board of Advi- 
sors that today includes cultural critics Noam Chomsky, Susan Douglas, Susan 
Faludi, George Gerbner, Todd Gitlin, Stuart Hall, bell hooks, Robert W. 
McChesney, and Naomi Wolf. 

KEYWORDS. Product placement, media education, videotape, cross promotion, 
tie-ins, hypercommercialism, Hollywood film, media conglomerates, cultural crit- 


Product Placement in the 21st Century 
Edited by Mary-Lou Galician 


A Product Placement Resource Guide: Recommended 
Publications and Websites 
Richard Alan Nelson