The Effect of Placement Context on Brand Persuasiveness: An Abstract
This empirical study extends the existing advertising literature to explore the effect of humor in less conventional advertising, product placement. Product placement, or the integration of branded information in media content, has been extensively studied in the past three decades. However, the context of product placement is comparatively under researched. Product placement context refers to the circumstances under which a brand was placed. Previous content analyses have shown that product placement tends to be largely associated with humorous elements (La Ferle & Edwards, 2006). Humor has been shown to influence traditional advertising (Eisend, 2009), but its effect within embedded advertising has yet to be systematically examined. In addition, most previous studies were conducted in Western cultures (e.g., US and the European countries). This study accounts for this gap by studying general consumers in a Chinese context and explores the effect of humor on the persuasiveness of placed brands.
This study predicts and finds that humor facilitates the recall of placed brands and has a positive impact on brand attitudes. This affective effect of humor in product placement is determined by two moderating factors that include program involvement and psychological trait reactance. A content analysis of 225 h of prime-time television programs was conducted followed by a quasi-experimental study of 1100 television viewers. It was found that humor has a positive effect on brand attitudes for participants with high involvement with the program. Psychological trait reactance interacts with humor to influence brand attitude. Specifically, individuals with high trait reactance are more positive toward brands placed in a humorous context, while low trait reactance is more positive toward brands placed in a non-humorous context. The theoretical and managerial implications derived from the findings together with the research avenues are discussed.