PP for ‘product placement’ or ‘puzzled public’? The effectiveness of symbols as warnings of product placement and the moderating role of brand recall

Tina Tessitore

Ghent University

Maggie Geuens

Ghent University and Vlerick Business School

Introduction

Suppose that you are watching television and a round symbol featuring the initials ‘PP’ appears in the corner of the screen. Would you notice this small symbol while watching your favourite television programme? If so, what meaning would you attribute to these initials – for example, PayPal, pause programme, or public policy? – or would you instead think of its intended meaning: product placement? Could this mere symbol help you resist the influence of product placements? If not, what interventions would improve the symbol’s effectiveness?