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Product placement or embedded marketing is a familiar concept in the US, but only recently in the UK have regulations become more relaxed, meaning brands can now use this promotional method in television shows. It is important for brands to analyze what effect this may have on the consumer-buying behavior of their target audience prior to undertaking activity, says Cint, the global provider of market research tools and panel management.

A survey carried out by YouGov last year found that almost a quarter of UK consumers claimed to have a negative view of the introduction of product placement, indicating that brands should tread carefully when pursuing this channel. Companies would be advised to undertake consumer research in advance of a campaign to ascertain customer attitudes to ensure it will be positively received. By surveying a representative group of a proposed target market to establish opinions, brands can make informed decisions about the channel and the way in which their product is shown in order to guarantee a successful outcome.

Before launching into a campaign utilizing this channel, it is important to find out exactly what the television consumption habits are of the target audience. A simple online study can allow companies to establish this. It is also worth ascertaining which celebrities appeal to potential customers, as consumers are likely to look more favorably on a product if an individual they admire or respect is seen to be a fan, regardless of the fact that it is a paid-for opportunity. Undertaking research can also allow a company to analyze what types of placement their consumers will respond to, whether a deliberate reference to the product or a more subtle approach. Getting the angle, relevance, timing and medium right will lead to a valuable return on investment.

Cint’s CEO, Bo Mattsson, commented: “Product placement is often used by brands as it can reach a wide audience simply and is often perceived more objectively than straight above-the-line advertising. However, some consumers may look unfavorably at product placement as a tool, or may be influenced by their opinion of the particular television program, film or celebrity involved in the promotion. By utilizing a tool such as Cint Access, brands can undertake research quickly and to a specific survey panel of individuals that meet the criteria of their target audience. By establishing opinions on program viewing, product usage and celebrity popularity, brands can use the insight to create an appropriate strategy in order to get the best return on the investment in this costly form of advertising.”

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