Studies Investigating the Effectiveness of Product Placement The most active area of academic research on product placement relates to the effects of placement on viewers. The effects have generally been considered in terms of memory (recognition and recall), evaluation of the brands, and purchase intention. A 1994 study by Ong and Meri found that recall of placed brands was weak for many of them.
Babin and Carder (1996a) found that product placement was mixed with respect to making brands salient to viewers, and this study found no effect of the viewing of product placements on brand evaluations. In another study, Babin and Carder (1996b) investigated the ability of viewers to recognize brands they saw in a movie they had just viewed and to distinguish these from brands not in the film. Results showed that, in general, respondents were able to differentiate between brands they had viewed and brands they had not viewed. Vollmers and Mizerski (1994) found that recall of brands in movie clips was very high, but there was no apparent effect of the placements on the attitude toward the brands.
These early studies on the effects of product placement yielded mixed results with respect to the recall or recognition of brands placed in films; these studies generally showed weak or nonexistent effects of placement on brand evaluations. The mixed and weak results of these early studies on effectiveness are, in part, because these studies generally failed to recognize the multidimensional nature of product placement. That is, they tended to define product placements as similar, regardless of modality (visual or verbal) and level of plot connection. Recently, there have been some investigations that have attempted to consider these complexities of product placement.