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Presenting the case of in-programme product placements

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Presenting the case of in-programme product placements

Globally, product placement is a multimillion-dollar business for advertising agencies and placement companies. Placement companies, though, have not really gained stronghold in India as of now. However, product placement seems well poised to grow in India now, and with it we just might see the mushrooming of these companies — exactly the way, we are today witnessing the arrival of companies and divisions handling non-traditional media investment and celebrity management.

As per Atul Phadnis, TAM, rising clutter on television, falling viewership during ad breaks and skyrocketing media costs have led the advertisers to explore other options on television, and most important of them is in-programme product placements. In the day and time, when product placement is gaining in proportion even in Indian market, measurement of product placements on television programmes would increasingly become more and more desirable. Clutter bursting is the name of the game.

As per TAM, in 1994, 3090 brands advertised on TV, now the number has increased to 10914. And, as far as the numbers of commercials are concerned, they have increased by 3229% in that duration, while on the other hand, 19% people desert a channel in ad break.

Talking of methodology to monitor and measure in-product placements, TAM states that minute-by-minute information is captured and each brand exposure is labelled. All the brand exposures are then screened through a nine-cell matrix to identify the prominence levels. Algorithms have been developed that determine the prominence levels considering parameters such as number of cells occupied, position of the cells occupied, angle of exposure and so on.

What is most interesting perhaps is the marriage of people meter data and Adex data to find out the ratings of these product placements. These can then be compared with in-break TV commercials. However, Phadnis cautions, “GRPs delivered through TV commercials are more effective as TV commercials have an emotional or rational message. Non-TVC brand exposures expose only the product and so Non-TVC GRPS are considered to be lesser in terms of their effectiveness.”

But as per Phadnis, the GRPs derived from product placement can be down weighted with visibility factors so as to make them comparable to GRPs delivered from ads. Talking of the programming genres that have maximum in-product placement, cricket provides the maximum number of 19 platforms, while events provide only six. However, while cricket gives exposure for 30 minutes per hour, in events it is as high as 41 minutes.

TAM research also states that if we look at product placement versus commercials, in case of background placement, conversion is 20%. And, if there is verbal mentioning of the brand and its hands on, the conversion is 100%, while in case of product-centred programming, it is as much as 150%. Hence, what is important is not only placing the product in a programme but also placing it in the right way so that it gets good RoI.

The new analysis, as per the TAM, tries to provide researchers with the quantitative ability to monitor and measure product placement. It can help in monitoring product exposures for accountability, to measure RoI on product placements, to track prominence levels and hence selection of various platforms, decisions on selecting genres of programming, on-screen versus on-ground decisions.

Language in which in-programme placement has been done plays a very important role – TV commercials changed from English to Hindi and other regional languages realising the importance of talking to people in their own language. Going by the logic that a product placement where the product is mentioned and is hands on, the impact is higher and talking to people in their own language adds weight to communication — placing a product in language serial where one of the protagonists uses it would create better impact than placing a product in a cricket match or an event.

As reported earlier, TAM India's paper on Product Placement had been selected as the best paper amongst the 22 papers presented from across the Asia Pacific region in this year’s ESOMAR summit. The paper was titled Evaluating Soft Brand Advertising on Television and it was a joint effort from two of TAM's divisions - ADEX India & the S-Group.


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