Product Placement related EXPLICIT memory and consumer behavior

Recently, we described how advertising works and how to measure it. In this post, we want to provide you more (scientific) details on how consumer behavior is linked to the explicit memory of Product Placement.


Explicit memory – the background

The concept of explicit memory is based on the idea that people are able to consciously remember information of the past (Herrmann, Valais, and Kacha 2011). Thus, the explicit memory contains primarily consciously perceived content (Gray 1999).

As already shown, the explicit memory has a extremely high priority when investigating and evaluating product placement (Matthes, Schemer, and Wirth 2007). However, it has been also observed that the explicit memory of a product placement has no effect on attitude or purchase intention (Babin and Carder 1996; Karrh 1994; Ong and Meri 1994; Russell 2002; Vollmer and Mizerski 1994). One indication to explain these results is certainly the fact that viewers can easily identify product placement as a persuasion tactic – especially when it’s very obvious and easily recognizable (Matthes et al 2007; Russell 2002; van Reijmersdal, Neijens, and Smit 2009). This usually leads to a situation where the consumer protects himself from this influence and simply ignores it (Balasubramanian, Karrh, and Patwardhan 2006; Friestad and Wright 1994; van Reijmersdal 2009). Hereby, the defense reaction against the advertising attempt can even turn into a negative reaction (Cowley and Barron 2008; Hackley, Tiwsakul, and Preuss 2008; Russell 2002, Reijmersdal van et al 2009).

Nevertheless, the explicit memory can be an indication of the consumer’s attitude towards a product or brand (Chattopadhyay and Alba 1988, Parker 1991, Pope 1998), respectively for the brand choice in a purchase situation (Costley and Brucks 1992; Nedungadi 1990). This may partly be due to implicit reactions that take place at the same time as well (Deecke 2012; Shapiro and Krishnan 2001). Also, the recognition of the placement and the activation of persuasion knowledge do not necessarily have to result in a defensive reaction. It is quite possible that this way, consumers get more involved with the brand, which can lead to a better attitude towards it (Campbell and Kirmani 2008; Kirmani and Campbell 2004). In addition, advertising often pursues the goal to make consumers remembering it – e.g. when a new product gets launched (Belch and Belch 2009).



If the advertisers generally wants to achieve more attention, product placement should be designed to be consciously perceived by the viewer, in order people are able to recall it (D’Astous and Chartier 2000). To optimize it, you should choose audiovisual placements (Gupta and Lord 1998; Law and Braun 2000) that are embedded into the main content (Babin and Carder 1996; Brennan, Dubas, and Babin 1999; Schneider and Cornwell 2005).

However, to avoid negative reactions, it is important to choose the right degree of prominence, so the target audience will evaluate the placement positively (Cowley and Barron 2008; D’Astous and Chartier 2000). In the end, you should also bear in mind that especially in everyday purchase situations, the implicit memory plays a very important role, while the explicit memory often is irrelevant (Coates, Butler, and Berry 2004; Herrmann et al 2011).


Babin, Laurie A. and Sheri T. Carder (1996), “Advertising via the Box Office: Is Product Placement Effective?” Journal of Promotion Management, 3 (1/2), 31–52.

Balasubramanian, Siva K., James A. Karrh, and Hemant Patwardhan (2006), “Audience Response to Product Placements: An Integrative Framework and Future Research Agenda,” Journal of Advertising, 35 (3), 115–41.

Belch, George E. and Michael A. Belch (2009), Advertising and Promotion. An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective, Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Brennan, Ian, Khalid M. Dubas, and Laurie A. Babin (1999), “The Influence of Product-Placement Type & Exposure Time on Product-Placement Recognition,” International Journal of Advertising, 18 (3), 323–37.

Campbell, Margaret and Amna Kirmani (2008), “I Know What You’re Doing and Why You’re Doing It: The Use of the Persuasion Knowledge Model in Consumer Research,” in Handbook of Consumer Psychology, ed. Curtis P. Haugtvedt, Paul Herr, and Frank R. Kardes, New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 549–74.

Chattopadhyay, Amitava and Joseph W. Alba (1988), “The Situational Importance of Recall and Inference in Consumer Decision Making,” Journal of Consumer Research, 15 (1), 1–12.

Coates, Sarah L., Laurie T. Butler, and Dianne C. Berry (2004), “Implicit Memory: A Prime Example for Brand Consideration and Choice,” Applied Cognitive Psychology, 18 (9), 1195–211.

Costley, Carolyn L. and Merrie Brucks (1992), “Selective Recall and Information Use in Consumer Preferences,” Journal of Consumer Research, 18 (4), 464–74.

Cowley, Elizabeth and Chris Barron (2008), “When Product Placement Goes Wrong: The Effects of Program Liking and Placement Prominence,” Journal of Advertising, 37 (1), 89–98.

D’Astous, Alain and Francis Chartier (2000), “A Study of Factors Affecting Consumer Evaluations and Memory of Product Placements in Movies,” Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising, 22 (2), 31–40.

Deecke, Lüder (2012), “There Are Conscious and Unconscious Agendas in the Brain and Both Are Important—Our Will Can Be Conscious as Well as Unconscious,” Brain Sciences, 2 (3), 405–20.

Friestad, Marian and Peter Wright (1994), “The Persuasion Knowledge Model: How People Cope with Persuasion Attempts,” Journal of Consumer Research, 21 (1), 1–31.

Gray, Peter (1999), Psychology: W.H. Freeman & Company.

Gupta, Pola B. and Kenneth R. Lord (1998), “Product Placement in Movies: The Effect of Prominence and Mode on Audience Recall,” Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising, 20 (1), 47–59.

Hackley, Christopher, Rungpaka A. Tiwsakul, and Lutz Preuss (2008), “An Ethical Evaluation of Product Placement: A Deceptive Practice?” Business Ethics: A European Review, 17 (2), 109–20.

Herrmann, Jean-Luc, Björn Walliser, and Mathieu Kacha (2011), “Consumer Consideration of Sponsor Brands They Do Not Remember: Taking a Wider Look at the Memorisation Effects of Sponsorship,” International Journal of Advertising, 30 (2), 259–81.

Karrh, James A. (1994), “Effects of Brand Placements in Motion Pictures,” in The Proceedings of the 1994 Conference of the American Academy of Advertising, ed. Karen W. King, Athens, GA: Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, 90–96.

Kirmani, Amna and Margaret C. Campbell (2004), “Goal Seeker and Persuasion Sentry: How Consumer Targets Respond to Interpersonal Marketing Persuasion,” Journal of Consumer Research, 31 (3), 573–82.

Law, Sharmistha and Kathryn A. Braun (2000), “I’ll Have What She’s Having: Gauging the Impact of Product Placements on Viewers,” Psychology and Marketing, 17 (12), 1059–75.

Matthes, Jörg, Christian Schemer, and Werner Wirth (2007), “More than Meets the Eye: Investigating the Hidden Impact of Brand Placements in Television Magazines,” International Journal of Advertising, 26 (4), 477–503.

Nedungadi, Prakash (1990), “Recall and Consumer Consideration Sets: Influencing Choice without Altering Brand Evaluations,” Journal of Consumer Research, 17 (3), 263–76.

Ong, Beng Soo and David Meri (1994), “Should Product Placement in Movies be Banned?” Journal of Promotion Management, 2 (3/4), 159–75.

Parker, Ken (1991), “Sponsorship: The Research Contribution,” European Journal of Marketing, 25 (11), 22–30.

Pope, Nigel (1998), “Consumption Values, Sponsorship Awareness, Brand and Product Use,” Journal of Product & Brand Management, 7 (2), 124–36.

Russell, Cristel A. (2002), “Investigating the Effectiveness of Product Placements in Television Shows: The Role of Modality and Plot Connection Congruence on Brand Memory and Attitude,” Journal of Consumer Research, 29 (3), 306–18.

Schneider, Lars-Peter and T. B. Cornwell (2005), “Cashing in on Crashes via Brand Placement in Computer Games: The Effects of Experience and Flow on Memory,” International Journal of Advertising, 24 (3), 321–43.

Shapiro, Stewart and H. S. Krishnan (2001), “Memory-Based Measures for Assessing Advertising Effects: A Comparison of Explicit and Implicit Memory Effects,” Journal of Advertising, 30 (3), 1–13.

van Reijmersdal, Eva (2009), “Brand Placement Prominence: Good for Memory! Bad for Attitudes?” Journal of Advertising Research, 49 (2), 151–53.

van Reijmersdal, Eva A., Peter C. Neijens, and Edith G. Smit (2009), “A New Branch of Advertising: Reviewing Factors That Influence Reactions to Product Placement,” Journal of Advertising Research, 49 (4), 429–40.

Vollmer, Stacy M. and Richard W. Mizerski (1994), “A Review and Investigation into the Effectiveness of Product Placements in Films,” in The Proceedings of the 1994 Conference of the American Academy of Advertising, ed. Karen W. King, Athens, GA: Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, 97–102.


You like it?
Share it!
Rate this post!
Product Placement related EXPLICIT memory and consumer behavior
Ø 4.9; 7 Votes
Jens Kürschner

Author: Jens Kürschner

Jens Kürschner is founder and managing director of Placedise. As an expert in the field of consumer behavior and media enthusiast, he is especially responsible for the product know-how. In our blog, this knowledge and the experience of many years of research and study will be shared with you.

Related Posts

Digital Product Placement – Hype or Future?

Digital product placement is on everyone’s lips – at least it seems this way, if you are asking around in the industry. But even society, or at least the mass media seems to get interested in this exciting topic – see for example this article in the guardian: Click here.   What is it about? […]

The 2 most important questions at every marketing campaign: goals and target audience

At every marketing campaign (and therefore also product placement activity), two questions should play a central role: What goals do I have? Who is my target audience?   As long as these questions are not sufficiently clarified, any further activity does not make any sense – except earning money by simply doing something – regardless […]