Brand placement in novels: a test of the generation effect

Ian Brennan
Colorado State University – Pueblo

INTRODUCTION

Popular culture is littered with references to branded products. In the movie Runaway Bride, Julia Roberts escapes from a marriage ceremony in a Federal Express van. Bruce Springsteen's music video for 'Born in the USA' contains visual images of Miller beer. Colin Dexter's (1983) novel, The Riddle of the Third Mile, features an Oxford University academic who displays a penchant for both The Times crossword and Glenfiddich whisky. Although brand appearances in popular culture may be motivated by creative considerations, such as the desire to lend verisimilitude to a drama or a novel, when such references result from commercial considerations (i.e. brand owners are charged for a brand's appearance) the practice is considered brand placement (Karrh 1998).