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Subconscious Marketing

2013 May 21
by Contributor

Watching television or a movie can be a fun experience, especially when you see a character eat your favorite cereal or drive the car you’ve always wanted. Out of the many ways companies market themselves, product placement has become one of the most popular and effective. Researching the various facets of product placement will help you appreciate its effectiveness and may provide you with ideas on ways to use the marketing cloud.


Product placement is a form of advertising. Goods with name brands are meticulously placed in movies, television shows and the internet where, typically, advertising won’t interrupt the format. When the product is featured, it usually isn’t explicitly mentioned.

However, future product placement will not only include subconscious marketing. Television through the internet will make product placement more aggressive. Since more people have the ability to fast forward past the 30-second spots that interrupt their television shows, product placement may become a more integrated part of television marketing. Products will increasingly become included in what viewers actually want to watch, especially as more people use the marketing cloud.

Nearly 75 percent of smartphone owners use their phones while watching television. Several television shows have created ways to encourage audiences to use their phones by taking polls about the plot or prompting a discussion with other viewers. While theaters discourage using smart phones during a movie, some phone companies have offered “rewards” when viewers turn on their phones after the movie.


Brand names appeared in movies in the early history of cinema. According to film scholar Tom Gunning, a variety of industries funded the making of “cinematic attractions,” which were films no longer than two minutes. In the first decade of film history (1895-1907), audiences did not go to films as art forms in a movie house. Instead, the short films were presented primarily at fairgrounds. These cinematic attractions were the origins of today’s television advertisement.

How It Works – Measuring Product Placement

Three ways to measure product placement are listed here:

  • Implicit memory. Measuring implicit memory involves observing whether viewers choose a certain product over its competitor. For example, consider beverages featured in a movie. Surveyors can observe which beverages viewers chose with reference to the movie the viewers saw.
  • Explicit memory. This is where a surveyor asks participants what brands they can recall from a television show or film. Often, surveyors ask participants to choose brands from a list.
  • Accuracy.Another way to measure product placement is to observe how accurately the strategy targets an audience. Marketing experts look at specific demographics of an audience in relation to the products being advertised.


Product placement has been proven effective in persuading consumers to buy products. The marketing strategy caters to the need of consumers and viewers to attain an ideal in addition to indulging themselves. With this approach, product placement can be more effective than traditional advertisements.

According to some scientists, product placement can more strongly alter memory or even target false memories. These memories can affect shopping patterns. If a product placement can get you to imagine yourself using a certain product, then your mind can replace the imagined situation with a false memory of an actual situation. While this marketing method is more expensive than commercials, it has the potential to generate more income.


Product placement is a very powerful marketing tool that is becoming increasingly popular. Companies have created ways to incorporate their products in a wide range of media, from television and movies to short video clips on YouTube and other online entertainment. As companies explore the marketing cloud, they may find better ways to advertise their products without interrupting their consumers’ entertainment.

Jared Jaureguy is an independent technology consultant. He writes for many of the top tech blogs, follow him on twitter @jaredjaureguy

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