A New Branch of Advertising: Reviewing Factors That Influence
Reactions to Product Placement

Eva van Reijmersdal, Peter Neijens and Edith G. Smit

Amsterdam School of Communications Research ASCoR, University of Amsterdam

Advertisers spend large amounts of money to integrate their brands into editorial media content. This phenomenon is known as product placement or brand integration. Spending on all types of paid brand placement was $2.90 billion in 2007 and showed an annual growth rate of 40.8 percent from 2002 to 2007 (PQ Media, 2008).

Our understanding of audience reactions toward brand placement is growing, but studies on brand placement effects are relatively scarce. In addition, the studies that do exist are disconnected. Articles that focus on brand placement in one medium hardly refer to articles that study brand placement in another medium. Furthermore, a wide range of different processing and effect variables has been studied without a clear accumulation of knowledge. Neither quantitative reviews nor any overviews on how different factors influence reactions to brand placement in various media have been published. The literature does include two qualitative reviews of brand placements on television and in film (Balasubramanian, Karrh, and Patwardhan, 2006; Karrh, 1998). These reviews provide valuable insights into the brand placement literature. However, since publication of the last review (2006), an additional 30 studies have been published, 13 of which focused on audience reactions.