NEW YORK: Product placement offers brands the chance to achieve "more meaningful connections" to viewers in the face of media fragmentation, a leading executive from Starcom MediaVest has argued.

Chad Maxwell, svp/research at Starcom MediaVest Group, discussed this topic at the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) 2015 Audience Measurement conference.

And he reported that in-program placement (IPP) has recently enjoyed a 13% uptick in value - a total which is "outpacing [growth in] marketing dollars very quickly".

Continued Maxwell, "Media fragmentation is forcing us to rethink the 30-second spot and the 15-second spot, as well as frequency and reach." (For more, including further hints and tips, read Warc's exclusive report: Starcom, Turner refine booming product placement business.)

Incorporating a product into original-content narrative, he added, thus yields an opportunity for "more meaningful connections to the end viewer without it just being in your face within that 30-second spot."

Starcom has worked with clients like Cheez-It, Esurance, Frosted Flakes, Hornitos, Kellogg's, Maker's Mark, M&M's, Pop-Tarts, Pringles, Samsung, Skinnygirl and Special K in this area.

And in drawing on such experiences, Maxwell suggested there is "no magic metric" for determining how meaningful an IPP has been - which is perhaps inevitable give the diverse array of factors at work.

But the agency has formulated a "scorecard of sorts" in order to give marketers a greater insight into this subject.

On the Y axis sit considerations such as brand opinion, perceived fit and self-relevancy. On the X axis reside the various types of IPPs - namely, passive, incidental and active placements.

"We then rated their performance based on those different metric inputs to create the scorecard," he told the ARF attendees.

"It may seem over the top ... but we really wanted to get a 360-degree perspective to drive best practices and rules of thumb."

Data sourced from Warc