Explicit and implicit memory for product placement

Masoom Anwar Latif

Student thesis: Master thesis


Product placement over the past few decades have gained tremendous popularity and the investment in the practice has increased rapidly. Products placements are attractive for moviemakers and producers because it allows them to cover a substantial part of their production budget. The brand owners and marketers are also very interested in placing their brands in the movie and it is very normal that a movie contains about 20 different brands in a movie. Plenty of research has been done on the effectiveness of product placement however most of the studies are based on short movie clips that only contain few brands. Furthermore most of the research had only applied either recognition or recall test however research on memory has shown that one can also retrieve information unconsciously through implicit memory tests. It was therefore evident that there is a research gap which has yet not been explored. The question therefore was that when movies are watched in natural settings and in its full duration, how many product placements would an audience able to remember, when one runs both the explicit and implicit memory tests? With this question in mind a field experiment was conducted where the subjects saw the movie “The Hangover Part II” and their memory for product placements were measured on an aided recall test and a word fragment test. The movie contained a total of 30 brands and the results showed that the 32 people who participated in the experiment were able to remember an average of 4.81 brands through explicit and implicit memory tests. One of the reasons that such small numbers of brands were remembered could be because movies are watched for entertainment purposes and the subjects would be more interested in following the story unfold and the characters they see in the movie and less interested in the product placement. Due to this they might not be able to pay attention to product placements in the movie. Even if they were able to pay attention to the placements it is likely that they will forget about it soon after due to our limited memory capacity or just because product placements are not important for their comprehension of the story. Furthermore the results also showed that there was no change in the subject’s attitude towards the brands that were remembered from the movie. These results suggest that product placements are not very effective as a marketing tool and marketers therefore should think twice before placing their brand in the movie. But their brand might not be seen in the movie, if it is seen then it might not be remembered later and even if it is remembered later people will not have any positive attitude towards the brand.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages105