Cognitive determinants of product placement consequences

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Ansons, Tamara L.
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Recently, consumers have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of product placements that occur across all forms of media. Despite this enthusiastic use of product placements, researchers have not determined whether or not this form of advertising produces profitable outcomes for featured brands. In the framework presented here, I have sought to outline how basic cognitive processes may be used to account for some of the divergent consequences that occur for product placements. Unlike other frameworks that treat memory as a separate outcome of product placements, I conceptualize memory as nonanalytically influencing other more critical outcomes such as brand evaluation and selection. The nonanalytic influence of memory is hypothesized as occurring via an attribution that is made about the ease experienced when processing a brand that has been previously encountered. To examine whether this nonanalytic framework, or an alternative framework that rests on more deliberate, analytic processing, can be used to account for the various consequences that arise after a product placement, four studies were conducted. In each of these studies, participants were presented with a narrative containing a number of brand presentations. Later, participants completed tasks that assessed memory and brand preferences across the various studies. In the first two studies, the impact of the presentation of a brand within a narrative was examined. These studies revealed that a nonanalytic influence of memory was observed, but only when there was a match in modalities across the product placement event and the manner in which more critical outcomes are obtained. Thus, fluency-based perceptual processing was found to nonanalytically influenced participants’ brand preferences. Extending these findings, Experiments 3 and 4 examined whether this nonanalytic influence of memory would still exert its effect on brand preferences when deliberate influences, which were guided by immersion and persuasion knowledge, were manipulated. Rather than brand preferences being guided by a deliberate and analytic assessment of the brand, brand ratings were guided by nonanalytic memory influences. However, this influence only emerged when fluent processing of the brand was not attributed to the prior presentation of the brand during the narrative.
Product Placement, Nonanalytic, Memory, Analytic