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Product Placement Dr. Niann-Chung Tsai Professor and Director, Digital AV & Web Learning Center Shih Hsin University Definition of Product Placement Product Placements in Television and Film Product Placement VS. Concept Placement

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Product Placement

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Product Placement

Dr. Niann-Chung Tsai

Professor and Director,

Digital AV & Web Learning Center

Shih Hsin University

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Definition of Product Placement

Product Placements in Television and Film

Product Placement VS. Concept Placement

What kind of communication effect does product (concept) placement have?

What do viewers really think about product (concept) placement?

Topic & Issues

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Definition of Product Placement

  • Product placement is a promotional tactic used by marketers in which characters in a fictional play, movie, television series, or book use a real commercial product. Typically either the product or logo is shown or favourable qualities of the product are mentioned.

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Generally, product placement involves placing a product in highly visible situations. The most common form is movie and television placements.

Fedex in “Cast Away”

Apple PowerBook in “24 Hours”

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Product Placements in Television and Film

While watching television, do you often ignore your television or zap the commercials during commercial breaks to avoid advertisements? If you are one of the millions of viewers who purposely avoid advertisements. The placement designers are catching on to you!

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Observations from TV and Film

  • You are being influenced by advertisements that are so carefully integrated into television shows and movies that you are unaware that their presence is a form of advertising.

民視電視公司 美鳳有約

Formosa Television

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  • Rather than advertising a product in a commercial, advertising owners have their products incorporated into television programs and films

  • Advertising owners hope that by placing their product within a program or film, they will effectively increase the overall awareness of their product with the audience targeted by the filmmakers and television producers.

三立電視公司 鳥來伯與十三姨

Sanlih E-Television

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Types of product placement

There are three main types of product placements that are used today which are visual placement,auditory placement, andplot connection.

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Visual Placement (螢幕畫面置入):

This occurs when a product, service, or logo can be simply observed within the setting of a television show or film. For example, during a television program you may notice that a can of Coca-Cola is sitting on a table.

Coke-Cola American Idol

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Effects of Visual Placement

  • The effect that the placement has on consumer’s brand attitudes cannot be measured to this day but research has shown that the number of appearances on the screen may increase recognition.

  • But most marketers believe that showing a product repeatedly during a highly rated program will increase consumer recognition of the product.

  • This tactic can be a dangerous one because overexposure to a product during a program or film can lead to the suspicion of whether or not the product is being shown for advertising reasons.

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Characters of Visual Placement

Products that are visually presented and not discussed, and are not as effective because the visual channel is often used to display products without discussing them. Sometimes the items are used as part of the background scenery and tend to go unnoticed by viewers because they are listening rather than observing the set.

美鳳有約 櫻花牌廚具

Formosa Television

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“Reese’s Pieces” in “E.T.” in 1982 remain one of the best examples of product placement, Reese’s increased sales for years. At that time, M&M’s turned down the placement.

E.T. Reese’s Pieces

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Auditory Placement (腳本台詞置入):

This occurs when a character verbally refers to a product or service that is scripted within the program. The effect of an auditory placement depends on three factors:

  • The context in which the concept is mentioned

  • The frequency that the concept is mentioned

  • The emphasis placed on the concept


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Characters of Auditory Placement

Auditory information has a greater effect than visual placement on viewers because they can process the information even when they are not looking at the television or movie screen. People tend to pay more attention to what is being said by characters, especially during programs in which the viewer is highly involved.

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007 is a milestone in the history of moviemaking. The films have become a way for advertising agencies and corporations to associate their product with007, and so get the media attention they’re seeking.

Golden Eye


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Plot Connection (戲劇情節置入):

This type of placement occurs most often and usually has the greatest impact on viewers. Plot connection occurs when a brand makes a low or high-level contribution to a storyline.

民視電視公司 親戚不計較

Formosa Television

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For instance, suppose that the cast of Mr.A and Mr.B did an episode that involved the purchase of a new Honda for one of the characters. The brand is integrated into the story because the characters will deal with the product throughout the episode.

Plot connection usually involves the physical handling of products and can have the greatest impact on viewers when the brand is highly connected to the plot.

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The Truman Show's depiction of the way product placement is woven into Truman's life is an effective satire on the commercialization of our own lives.

The Truman Show

Chef’s Pal


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Why is product placement so popular during television programs?

  • Product placement is not used to replace the marketing strategy of a company; it is used to enhance it.

  • Another reason for the rising popularity of product placement is due to the fact that many marketers see growing technologies as a threat.

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  • Today digital recorders make it even easier for viewers to zip through commercials or to avoid them altogether. With over half a million households using personal video recorders such as TiVO, viewers tend to skip commercials all the time.

TiVO Digital Recorder

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Rethinking onProduct Placement VS. Concept Placement

  • What is the difference between product placement and concept placement?

  • What is the better way to deal with product and concept placement?

  • Is it wrong when the government uses of concept placement ?

民視電視公司 美鳳有約

Formosa Television

三立電視公司 鳥來伯與十三姨

Sanlih E-Television

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What kind of communication effect does product (concept) placement have?

  • In the past, most marketing researchers tried to calculate the success of a product placement based upon the length of time that their product appeared on the screen and its context within the program.

  • As a communication researcher, I always emphasize the effects of communication no matter how the communication take place in different ways.

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  • Government may strategically use the popularity of TV dramas in appropriate situation, so that public policy and announcement can be exposed in the drama plot when the populace are viewed

民視電視公司 親戚不計較

Formosa Television

三立電視公司 鳥來伯與十三姨

Sanlih Television

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What do viewers really think about product (concept) placement?

  • Consumers are much more skeptical today than in the past and many find that placing products in television shows and movies takes away from the entertainment value of the program.

  • However, the consumers mostly would be delightful to view something new product placement on the media if the tactic is smart or delicate.

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Product or concept placementis considered as one of the persuasivecommunication skills. For different ways of making use of product or concept placement, we can not say its way of approach is wrong or correct. It would be better to consider the product or concept placement as a way of information delivery. Therefore, as a way of information delivery there is only with delicate approach or awkward approach.

Why are there so many arguments in today’s product placement on mass media? Most arguments are due to political issues since the political ideology should not get involved in the product or concept placement.

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