The impact on and responses of viewers to product placement: a study of mainstream films.

PhD Thesis

Monk Kydd, J. 2019. The impact on and responses of viewers to product placement: a study of mainstream films. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Creative Arts and Industries
AuthorsMonk Kydd, J.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy

Product placement is a promotional tool within the discipline of marketing whereby branded items feature in entertainment vehicles such as video games, television programmes, stage plays, music videos, books and films. This thesis investigates this practice in relation to mainstream, commercial films. The nature of this research gives it a multidisciplinary approach across two key themes, namely Celebrity Status and Product Placement - with Marketing Communications being the element that links them. Determining which product placements in films make the most impact upon consumers for the commercial benefit of the stakeholders is, primarily, this focus of this thesis.

In total eighty-six individuals were interviewed, and the researcher used a qualitative approach, informed with a grounded theory methodology. This yielded an abundance of responses with participants providing a wealth of mixed and, at times, contradictory feedback relating to the acceptance, rejection and ethical concerns regarding product placements. As part of the research process, close attention was paid to the attraction and fascination that actors hold for research participants and how this celebrity-focus, combined with having an audience in a relaxed and receptive frame of mind, informs outcomes in terms of brand recall, enhanced brand values and eventual sales.

The study concludes that film placements remain an elusive practice to assess despite it being a long-established marketing technique that has a growing, multi-billion dollar annual spend. This thesis provides insights into the practice and suggests that key variables such as the placement presentation styles and the diversity of consumers, make the commercial assessment of placements hard to determine. Thus, any measures of the success of product placement in mainstream films appear to be limited and difficult to predict.

KeywordsProduct placement; celebrity; brands; parasocial relationships; marketing communication; perception; attitudes.
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Deposited07 Feb 2020
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