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Does Product Placement Blur Consumer Perception?


As the line between product placements, reviews and write-ups gets thinner, it’s important for brands to understand the context of their content as well as their audience’s purchasing decision matrix. Setting up a placement or advertorial can be one piece of the puzzle, but it can’t be the only.

Consumer PerceptionPaid advertisements and purchased editorial content have existed for decades, but more than ever, that line has continued to blur. At the same time, consumers have become savvier in recognizing and accepting the distinction in product placements in everything from TV shows to blog reviews. With this recognition, the real question has become “how does an atmosphere of paid placements impact consumers and their perceptions?”

It used to be that product placement in TV shows and movies were almost a subliminal secret, only overtly recognized by marketers and astute observers…but today people have become more distinctly aware of the product positioning. This has created a situation that requires additional thinking on behalf of the brand and their agency as to how a placement may be perceived. Will a product review on a blog be looked at as pandering for a free gift, or does the audience trust the author’s opinion anyway?

Consumer PerceptionConsumers are already apt to do their own research and are more likely to ask themselves, “Am I getting ALL the information, or just what someone was willing to pay for me to know? Could there be more out there?”

Setting up a placement or advertorial can be one piece of the decision puzzle for a customer, but it can’t be the only. Along with traditional media coverage, social reviews/feedback and other marketing tactics, there needs to be a variety of touch points and content that leads toward a positive view or decision about your brand or product.

As we move towards additional transparency, it’s critical to make sure that every piece of your marketing mix is cohesive and supports what is put out for the public. In addition to the content and the context of the placement, is your brand thinking about how a customer may follow up after seeing it?