Advertisers have a challenging task ahead of them to hold the target audience focused on their communication material. The challenge is more aggressive in almost all the medias of advertising be it a Television, radio, print or even outdoor sources. To gain the longer attention span is a commodity of the past. It even becomes difficult to precisely measure the advertising effectiveness of a particular brand especially when the consumers are bombarded with innumerable ads in a short duration. Viewers too have started adopting avoidance techniques like frequent brand switching during the ads or diverting their attention by involving into discussions when the ads are displayed. In some cases it is observed it is a cause of irritation or annoyance. Getting captive audience for advertising is a rarity. Euphoria of clutter in advertising is overcome by ad agencies by innovative ideas like increasing the frequency of the ads in the short span, increasing the volume levels during ads, bringing in more sexual overtures in the ads and many more.
In this paper a new approach to advertising is evaluated through an empirical study. Product placement or embedded advertisement is an emerging concept which is observed more frequently in the web pages, social gatherings, audio and video sources. These kinds of embedded products in social and entertainment events are unlike traditional advertisements but may serve the purpose of advertisement in a realistic environment which may gain attention among the captive audience and may also give them an opportunity to observe the product use in a virtual context especially when used in a Television serial or a movie. Influence of Celebrity endorsement of the product during a particular scene or a sequence can also generate positive impact on the audience.
Conceptual literature: Conceptually product placement falls under 'below the line' advertisement. (Mueller, O., 1997), Product Placement is the practice of integrating specific products and brands into movie or TV serial sequences as a prop or as set dressing in a TV show/film. It is assumed that its commercial intention is partly concealed and therefore less obtrusive or even not realized at all by the recipients who cannot avoid this type of integrated advertising so easily (Auer et al., 1991).
Product placement is a promotional tool that is assumed to provide increased brand awareness and enhanced brand image. It is an effective strategy to gain exposure and promote products to the general public with a high rate of visibility. (www.monkeyjct.com/faqs.html) Embedded advertising can be visual placement, verbal placement, hands-on placement or and corporate placement.
Today's consumer is inundated with advertising everywhere in television and radio sets, billboards, magazines, buses, newspapers, the Internet... And these are just the usual suspects. From people walking down the street wearing signs, to flyers on our cars and in our mailboxes, to ads on the ATM screens as we wait for it to dispense our cash -- we see ads all day, everyday. Consumer on the other hand have developed tactics of avoiding over exposure to the ads either by switching channels or getting engaged in other activities during the commercial ads display.
The television networks producers have become aware of the irritations that the interruptions during the programs cause to their valued customers (www.monkeyjct.com/faqs.html) therefore they are ready to replace the advertisements with product placements and present a show without interruptions from ads at regular intervals. Product placements do not necessarily reduce the revenues for the television networks but definitely has an opportunity to increase the viewership and improve their audience ratings. Therefore acceptability embedded advertisements is growing in the entertainment industry where innumerable examples can be seen as mentioned below:
- Risky Business - Ray-Ban sunglasses
- Back to the Future - Pepsi products
- Demolition Man - Taco Bell (In the future, everything is Taco Bell...)
- You've Got Mail - America On-Line (AOL), Apple, IBM and Starbucks
- Austin Powers - Pepsi and Starbucks
- Cast Away - FedEx and Wilson
- Men in Black II - Ray-Ban sunglasses, Mercedes Benz, Sprint, Burger Kin
- Herbie, the love Bug – Volkswagen Beetle
- RoboCop – Ford Taurus
- Smokey and Bandit – Pontiac Trans Am
- The world is not enough – BMW ZB
- Lara Croft Tomb Raider – Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
Clever marketers try not to cross the line of customer tolerance limits. Yet they want their products to be visible within a scene, but not the focus. The product needs to fit, almost seamlessly (almost being the key word here) into the shot and context of the scene. When done correctly, product placement can add a sense of realism to a movie or television show that something like a can simply marked "soda" cannot.
Past Evidences : Product placement is something that dates back to at least the early 1950s when Gordon's Gin paid to have Katharine Hepburn's character in "The African Queen" toss loads of their product overboard. Since then, there have been countless placements in thousands of movies. A worldwide trend in advertising, product placement is a vehicle for everything from foodstuffs to electronics to automobiles.
Product placement really saw a surge in the mid 1980s now there are specific corporate positions and entire agencies that can handle the job. Some larger corporations will dedicate personnel to scout out opportunities for product integration or placement within films, television shows and even games and music. The benefits of embedded advertising are implied endorsements, long life and global, low cost, low clutter, high profile, captive audience and realistic approach.