Recognition Of Product Placements In Broadcast Programs Marketing Essay

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Moster et al. explains that broadcast mediums offer product exposure to millions of customers, making product placements a rapidly growing marketing communication medium. By cleverly integrating a product into a scene, marketers hope audiences will connect their brand with the stars or story they see on the screen. As stated by the MD of GroupM, Mr. Perwani stated that product placement is a relatively new and emerging phenomenon in Pakistan that has tons of growth potential.

A study by Russell (2002: 307) indicates that prominence plays an important role in the recognition and recall of product placements in films because firms spent more than US$14.5 billion on product placements during 2010 (Morgan, 2011). The advancement of new technological devices as communication vehicles will cause traditional advertising to become less significant (Hornick, 2006: 1). The biggest advantage of product placements is the fact that the message has a wide reach and a long life with declining cost per exposure (Wiles & Danielova, 2006: 3).

According to Berglund and Spets (2003) placing products and brands on both the screen and in the conversation, increases the probability that the viewer recognizes the product or brand. It is therefore anticipated that potential customers absorb information about products and brands from many sources. Although product placements have grown into a popular form of advertising, deficiencies in the research of product placements commonly exist. As a result, a number of important issues remain unexplored and in need of further validation (Gupta et al., 2000).

Furthermore, bypassing regulations is another advantage of product placements in broadcast mediums. Product placements allow for cigarettes and alcohol manufacturers to expose their products, circumventing these restrictions. However, according to DeLorme & Reid (1999: 2), the disadvantages of product placements are that marketers and advertisers have limited control over the product placement process. It includes the inability to guarantee the release date or the success of a particular broadcast, the risk of negative or unclear product portrayal in the production setting, the difficulty in measuring effectiveness, and the lack of audience selectivity in the broadcast medium.

Problem Statement

It is very difficult to measure the effectiveness of content integration and till this date, not one universal method is used to measure the effectiveness of content integration. Lamb et al (2004) stated in his research that effectiveness of advertisements can only be measured by recognition. Various organizations use their own models to rationalize the effectiveness of content integration which is why we intend to bridge the gap by ascertaining the consumer recall generated by product placements in the Pakistani Broadcasted Programs.

This research will be restricted to Product Placements in the Pakistani Broadcasted Programs only and respondents of the research will be the students from Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) Karachi. The reasons for these limitations are explained further.

Purpose of Study

Gupta et al (2000) stated in his work that a few studies exist on this field of interest. Secondly, some of the findings conflict with each other which results in unexplored issues and the need of further validation and generalization arises thus a need for further research on product placements exists which might be able to benefit the marketers globally as well as domestically.

Hence, the basic purpose of our study is to find out the consumer recall for different brands which were used in product placements. Not a lot of researches have been conducted regarding product placements in Pakistan. Very little consumer reactions to product placements have been tested in Pakistan using various models.

Also, another purpose of this study is to find out whether product placements in the Pakistani broadcasted programs contribute to the brand recall a customer/viewer has and whether he/she was able to recognize the branded product names placed in the programs.

Literature Review:

Considerable research indicates that firms' advertising and marketing communication decisions have strong influences on firms' brand recall.

Product Placements have received renewed attention within the developing context in Africa (Van der Waldt, 2005; Du Toit and Redelinghuys, 2004; Du Preez and Williams, 2004; Nunes and Stroebel, 2004)

IN order to counter television commercials zipping and zapping, audience fragmentation due to the rise in the number of cable channels, commercial clutter driven by increasing time allocated to advertisement and a simultaneous decrease in commercial length. Several factors caused marketers to develop innovative placement techniques (Gupta and Lord, 1998).

Due to the proliferation of advertisement and the consequent difficulty in getting commercial messages to reach and influence potential customers, products placement appears to be an interesting alternative to traditional marketing communication tools (D'Astrous and Chartier, 2000)

Product placement proves to be a very important marketing tool; which in turn is used to compliment the various tools or marketing and advertising. Marketers hope to establish a brand name or to reinforce the brand through product placement. Further product placement is further divided into Real placements and Virtual placements. Real placements require the participation of film actors and actresses and are created as an integral part of film production whereas Virtual placements are those that are inserted via digital technology using an independent audio - visual segment process (Balasubramanian, 1994). According to Beglund and Spets (2003), product and brand placements on screen and in conversations increase the probability of product and brand recognition therefore leading to the observation that customers absorb information from many sources. Product placement has evolved into a popular form of advertising but still deficiencies in product research exist. Therefore a number of issues remain which require exploration and further validation (Gupta et al, 2000).

The nature of product placements in media recognition depends significantly on subjectivity (D'Astous and Chartier, 2000). Brand recognition by the customer can be increased by using an effective marketing and communication tool (Beglund and Spets, 2003). To measure the effectiveness of advertising recognition tests are commonly used.

Customer awareness and brand attitudes can be increased by product placement as supported by ample evidences (D'Astous and Chartier, 2000); (Gupta and Lord,1998).

In film placements can create strong loyalty and also affect style and trends for years after the films releases (Yorks 1989).

The main advantage of product placements is the lasting life and the wide reach of the message with a decreasing cost per exposure. Product placements in films in other words are paid but hidden messages including the product name, the product itself or the firm's name aimed at the audience through product identifiers through audio or visual means of promotion (Balsubramanian 1994).

Product placements make a significant contribution to the story line of the film, adding realism and credibility thus facilitating memory (Russell, 2002: 308). The three ways in which a product can be featured in a film are the product itself, a logo or an advertisement (Smith 1985).

(DeLorme & Reid 1999:2), (Blech & Belch 2001:459-460) and Fill (2002:1724) put forward a number of advantages of product placements: product exposure, life span of the film placement and frequency. When film attendees see their favorite actors using the product the impact of this exposure is very high.

Cues such as product categories, a purchase or use of a product or scenes from a film may create the recall of the product stored within (Dodd and Jonstone , 2000;143). Three advantages of product placement are firstly provides product with a sense of familiarity, secondly salience of the product and thirdly product awareness (Aaker 1996; 174).

Research Questions

The two significant questions which will rotate around the entire study and will also be answered are mention below:

Do the viewers recognize product placements in Pakistani Broadcasted Programs?

Is the probability of recognizing a product placement by the viewer depended on the placement's prominence?


The methodology requires collecting relevant data from the population in order to analyze the level of recognition that arises from Product Placement in Pakistani broadcast programs. This entails a detailed study to be carried out on a wider and local context.

The research population will consist of 200-250 students belonging from 18-24 years of age; both male and female, since this segment holds the largest population in Pakistan.

Research Approach and Design

The sources for data collection will be Primary Data and to facilitate our research, we will also be using Secondary Data. A quantitative approach will be followed. Burns and Grove (1993:777) define quantitative research as a formal, objective, systematic process to describe and test relationships and examine cause and effect interactions among variables.

The design methods and procedures will be taken from the study conducted by D.L.R van der Waldt, Du Preez and S. Williams (2008); the researchers used non-probability convenience sampling to select 18-24 years old students, at a territory institution in Pretoria, South Africa. A sample size of 223 students was selected and were exposed to 11 film clips. Once these clips had been viewed, they were asked to fill a questionnaire.

Since our research is focused on analyzing the level of recognition of university students that arises from Product Placement in Pakistani broadcast programs, our total research population will consist of 200-250 students. Since the research methodology is based on non-probability convenience sampling, we will be conducting our research at SZABIST. A convenient sample consists of subjects included in the study because they happen to be in the right place at the right time (Polit & Hungler 1993:176).

The respondents will be those who attend regular lectures on predetermined dates and will not be informed about the study. The total research population will be divided into groups according to the attendance of lecture and the study will be conducted on various days. The respondents will be shown 7 clips of different Pakistani broadcast programs, each of less than 60 seconds. Once the clips have been viewed, respondents will be request to fill in the questionnaire. The researchers will be present throughout the data collection process. Fake products will also be placed in the questionnaire to test the respondents' ability to recognition the products present in the clips.


A sample size of approximately 200-250 students from 18-24 years of age bracket will be selected based on non-probability convenience sampling method. Since the sampling method is convenience sampling, the exact number of males and females cannot be determined and will depend on the attendance of the lecture. Further, the total population will be divided into smaller groups of approximately 30 students depending on the number of students present in a lecture.


Primary Data Tools

Primary data tools will be used to conduct the study which is exploratory in nature since our objective is to analyze the level of recognition of university students that arises from Product Placement in Pakistani broadcast programs. For each research question, a specific and consistent research method will be applied to collect relevant data needed to draw valid and comprehensive conclusions.


Questionnaires will be designed without disclosing the purpose of study. It will be based on the film observed and will include fake questions initially and will move towards relevant questions later. The questionnaire will consist of 7-10 questions. Both open ended and close ended questions will be drafted in the questionnaire.

Secondary Data Tools

The research, however, is not limited to primary data collection. Therefore to gather secondary information we intend to use the following tools:

Video clips will be used as stimulus material and will be selected where branded products were featured. Video clips will be classified as:

Prominent audio and visual

Prominent audio

Prominent visual

Subtle audio and visual

Subtle audio

Subtle visual


Published research journals

Online articles and magazines

Research papers and case studies

Relevant books

Preliminary Limitations/Delimitations

The study will only be conducted at Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, (SZABIST), Karachi

The sample size will be restricted to 200-250 students depending on the attendence of lecture

The experiments being executed in lectures will depend primarily on the approval from the Management

The methodolgy of research is derived from the study conducted by D.L.R van der Waldt, Du Preez and S. Williams (2008)'

Material on Product Placement is not widely availble

It is important to note that the researchers are students of undergraduate program, therefore they do not possess the skills of professional researchers

Significance of the Study

The significance of the study lies in the fact that it will make us understand the consumer recall of the students of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science & Technology Karachi (Szabist) regarding product placements in the broadcast programs of Pakistan. After studying different researches, journals and articles along with the work done by DLR van der Waldt, we decided to test his models amongst the students of SZABIST in order to understand recall in their minds through product placements. Also this study will be able to guide advertising and media students to recognize the importance of product placements in Pakistan.

This study will also help us recognize the importance of product placements in the Pakistani Broadcasted Programs and whether different brands should opt for product placements in Pakistan or not.

This study will also assist different media agencies by understanding what type of product placements they should conduct in order to achieve the maximum consumer recall which eventually benefits the brand.