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PRODUCT PLACEMENT AS PUBLIC RELATIONS: EXAMINING THE ROLE OF PRODUCT PLACEMENT IN SOCIAL MEDIA By PING WANG A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UN IVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 200 9
2 2009 Ping Wang
3 To my family, my new born niece, and my lo ver I love you forever
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First of all, I want to thank my parents (Fong chun Wang and Sh u i mei Chang) who have supported me to study abroad and purse my dreams. Without them, I would not be a strong and independent woman, able to handle all of the difficulties I have encountered. I love you forever. Many thanks go out to my committee chair, Dr. Janis Page, who encouraged me to research on this topic and le d me in the right direction when I was writing my thesis. Thanks to her for dedica ting much time and energy to make this thesis a success I also very much appreciate my committee members, Dr. Jorge Villegas and Dr. Renee Martin Kratzer. They offered many great suggestions on this thesis and also inspired my thoughts in the realms of ad vertising and journalism areas. I also would like to thank Dr. Kathleen Kelly, who provided me with a great experience in philanthropy and nonprofit areas. She gave me a valuable experience which I will always remember and treasure. I thank my awesome fri ends I met at the University of Florida: Anabell Iglesias Sang hoon Lee, Ji young Bang, Stacy Chen, Chih Yu Chang, Ti wei Lin, Viola Wu, Moon hee Chou and Nikki Boa. Thanks also go to Tracy Pfaff and Danielle Azar, my internship supervisors for giving me wonderful working experiences. I also want to thank Jody Hedge, our department assistant in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, for being a friend Lastly, I would like to thank a very special person, Chih hung Chou. He always g ave me suppor t, whether I was frustrated or happy. We have together encountered many difficulties over the past year and I hope to continue this lovely relationship forever.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGM ENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 7 A BSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 10 2 LITEATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 13 New Technology and Public Relations ................................ ................................ ............... 13 Platfor m of Social Media ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 14 Definition of Social Media ................................ ................................ .......................... 14 Types of Social Media in Public Relations ................................ ................................ .. 15 Trends of Social Media ................................ ................................ ............................... 18 Social Media Use Adoption of Social Media Diffusion of Innovation .............................. 20 M echanism of Diffusion ................................ ................................ .............................. 20 Interactivity ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 21 The Critical Mass in the Adoption of Social Media ................................ ..................... 22 Diffusion of Innovations ................................ ................................ .............................. 22 Product Placement Literature ................................ ................................ ............................. 23 Definition of Product Placement ................................ ................................ .................. 23 ................................ ................................ 24 The Role of Public Relations Practitioners in Product Placement ................................ ........ 25 Ethics of Product Placement ................................ ................................ ............................... 27 Effectiveness of Product Placement ................................ ................................ .................... 29 Research Questio ns ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 31 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 32 Sample Recruiting and Data Collection ................................ ................................ .............. 32 Questionnaire Design and Development ................................ ................................ ............. 33 Questionnaire Introduction ................................ ................................ .......................... 33 RQ1. Experience and Knowledge of Product Placement and Soc ial Media .................. 34 RQ2. Perception of the Practice of Product Placement ................................ ................. 34 RQ3. Ethical Issues ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 35 RQ4. Perceived Effectiveness Measurement of Product Placement in Social Media .... 35 Demographics ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 35 4 F INDINGS ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 36 Pretest ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 36 Survey Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 36
6 Sample ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 36 Demographics ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 37 Questionnaire Results ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 37 RQ1. Knowledge and E xperience about P roduct P lacement and S ocial M edia ............. 37 RQ2. Perception of Placing Product Placement in Social Media ................................ .. 42 RQ3. Ethics Issue ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 44 RQ4. Perceived Effectiveness of Product Placement in Social Media .......................... 44 5 DISCUSSION, IMPLICATIONS AND LIMITATIONS ................................ .................... 49 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 49 Implications for Public Relations Practitioners in Online Platform ................................ ..... 50 Limitations and Future Research ................................ ................................ ........................ 52 APPENDIX QUESTIONNAIRE ................................ ................................ ............................... 53 Questionnaire Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ 53 Questionnaire Context ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 54 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 59 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 64
7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4 1 d emographic s data ................................ ................................ ................... 38 4 2 Placed p roduct/ s ervice in a ny m edia e xcept s ocial m edia ................................ ............... 39 4 3 Frequency of o ther i tems in a ny m edia except s ocial m edia ................................ ........... 41 4 4 Social m edia that p ublic r elations p ractitioners c onducted for p roduct p lacement ........... 41 4 5 Frequency of o ther i tems in s ocial m edia ................................ ................................ ....... 42 4 6 p erceptions of p roduct p lacement ................................ ............................. 47 4 7 Practitioners p erceived e ffectiveness m easurement of p roduct p lacement ...................... 48
8 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication PRODUCT PLACEMENT AS PUBLIC RELATIONS: EXAMINING THE ROLE OF PRODUCT PLACEMENT AND PRODUCT PLACEMENT IN SOCIAL MEDIA By Ping Wang December 2009 Chair: Janis Page Major: Mass Communication Th e purpose of this study is to investigate the role of public relations practitioners in product placem ent and social media. This study not only examines practitioners experiences, knowledge, ethical thinking and perceptions of product placement in social media setting, but also in any media except social media. Besides, this study also tried to understand how practitioners think of the effectiveness measurement s of product placement in any media, including social media. This study linked the relationship among product placement, social media and public relations in order to bring out the issue of product placement in public relations. Interesting results are revealed in the Finding Chapter. Practitioners who have placement experiences perceived themselves as knowledgeable in placing product/brand. Most practitioners think product placement is an ethical p ractice. The results also showed that public relations practitioners have positive perception s of product placement in different viewpoints, and also presented practitioners recognition of effective measurement of product placement.
9 Further discussion, research limitation, implications and future research are presented in the Discussion Chapter.
10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION A dvances in online communication technologies undoubtedly forces practitioners to seek attention and consolidate the brand relations with their audience Public relations p ractitioners, understanding that members of different publics attend to various channels differently, have been receptive to experimentation and change in the p.481 ). Therefore, product placement arises as one of the strategic functions for communication consideration in various media programming. According to a 2006 online PRWeek article, p ubli c part of every PR pro fessional services because it involves the sam e relationship building skills hat are at the core of public relations Also as product placement in media has become more common, examining how people process brand messages embedded in media or how practitioners exert product placement to enhance exposure or effectiveness of brands or products has emerged as an important re search topic in advertising and information processing literature (Gupta & Lord 1998; Russell 2002; Russell, Norman, & Heckler 2004; Russell & Stern 2006; Lee & Faber, 2007) and in public relations literature ( Pardun & McKee, 2000, Karrh, McKee & Pardu n, 2003). However, as new W eb based communication tool s emerge faster than we can imag in e, research interest in product placement has begun to expand to other forms of media, such as online videos, computer or online games (Chaney, Lin, & Chaney, 2004; Nel son, 2002; Nelson, Yaros, & Keum, 2006; Nicovich, 2005; Schneider & Cornwell, 2005; Yang et al., 2006) and now even social media I n October 2005, Nike produced a pseudo home digital video of soccer star Ronaldinho, practicing while wearing his new Nike
11 Kintz 200 6 ) This video clip caught tons of the target young male audience attention and was download over 3.5 million times on YouTube. Obviously, Nike exerted product placement strateg y embedding in a created video to a video sharing site in order to gain attention from specific members of the publics and it succeeded. However, video sharing is not the only medium that bring s out academic and practitioners attention to product placemen t use in the world of the Internet. Other W eb based social media system s such as W eblogs (blogs), wiki, social networking, and discussion forum s are just as important in communicating with numerous online audiences as well. According to Paine (2007), M o st PR people envision the blogosphere as yet another new medium to address, a new way to (2007, p.3). Yet more and more public relations experts engage in the operati on of blogs to discuss or share their personal o pinions about varied public relations strategies and topics, such as product placement. For example, Kevin Dugan who has operate d S also pointed out the effectiveness of product placement in the entertainment industry (Strat egic Public Relations, 2005). Product placement has become an emerging hot topic in the public relations arena. With the popularity of blogs, their great potential to impact their audience s or to allocate more promotional dollars from clients by means of communication strategies and tools online, it appears that practitioners attempt to increase the us e of blogs as they monitor traditional media opinion leadership w p.7 ). Considering the variety of Web based social media, social networking sites also provide more opportunities for practitioners to become involved in the play of a more comprehensive unde rstanding o f public opinion and image/persuasive management. Porter, Trammell Chung
12 based communication tools and outlets emerge and gain popularity, it behooves practitioners to understand how to integ rate such tools (p. 92). A recent study on working public relations practitioners concerning their adoption of 18 social tools and their perception o f the growth of social media trends in public relations practice also provides statistically sign ificant evidence to support future stud ies on the role of social media in public relations (Eyrich, Padman & Sweetser, 2008). However, there is limited literature addressing blog power or Web power in the public relations arena There is no t enough academ ic research focusing on other social media, such as social networking sites, video sharing or other Web based social media Therefore, this study tries with all social media use Moreover, as more practitioner by which they provide a basis for the commercial sponsor to influence audiences who are unaware of the commercial attempt (Balasubramanian, 1994 p. 30 ) in the social media, more concerns on research should be addressed t heoretically and statistically in order to explore the phenomenon in the reality of public relations Therefore, t h e purpose of this study is to examine the role of public relations practitioners in product placement and social media and the perceived effe ctiveness of product placement use in social media as public relations.
13 CHAPTER 2 LITEATURE REVIEW New Technology and Public Relations T he new technology, such as Internet or other Web based new media, has turn ed out to be an irreplaceable fashion media channel In 1996, Gustafson and Thomsen predicted that public relations practitioners would spend more time online with clients, the media, and customers in the near future; while practitioners w ould also rely more on database and information services (Por ter, Sallot, Cameron & Shamp, 2001). The role of public relations on World Wid e Web use ( or other new technologies use ) has become a popular research focus since the new technology has appear ed Apparently, for public relations n ew technolo gies significantly enhance the speed in which they can gather information and conduct evaluation, thereby Sallot, Cameron & Shamp, 2001 p.173 ). According to Porter and Sallot s article (2003), he World Wi de Web can be used to improve research and evaluation, issues management efforts, two way communication between internal and external environments, and productivity and efficiency, thereby increasing the li kelihood of manager role enactment in public relations. (p.604) Moreover, a 1999 survey result of Public Relations Society of America ( PRSA ) members showed that 99 % use the World Wide Web, with57 % of public relations members using it for surveillance of c ompanies, 49 % exploring databases at other sites and 39 % using the Internet to monitor government activities (Ryan, 2000). In another 2001 international e mail survey, 98% of 276 practitioners surveyed agreed that the Internet is having an impact on public relations practice 86% agreed that this impact has been positive and reported going online 5.8 days during an average week and spending between 15 and 19 hours per week online (Wright, 2001). The prediction came tru e
14 public relations practitioners regard the new technology as a critical media tool, and are increasingly interested in becoming involved with more online communicating channels. Platform of Social Media Definition of Social Media The definitions of social media vary. Joseph Thornley, CEO of Thornley Fallis has defined social media on his personal blog individuals shift fluidly In social media, individuals use social software that enables anyone without knowledge of coding to post, comment on, share or mash up content and to form communities around shared interests The other practitioner is trying to publishe rs. It is the shift from a broadcast mechanism to a many to many model, rooted in (Solis, 2007) Roger Harris (2008), an online social manager, concluded that social media are the suite of technologies tha t are used by people to share and interact with online content. However, there is no certain definition in academic circles due to the rapid grow th of new technologies. Both social media and traditional media share the same characteristics of reaching sm all and large audiences, but in different ways. A television show can reach a small audience or an audience of millions by way of television channel; however, a video click also can reach a few people or millions of people in an online video sharing enviro nment The distinction of social media from traditional mass media can be classified into four parts: (1) audience reach, so that the global and Internet audience can surf on the Internet without boundary limitation; (2) audience accessibility so that soc ial media are available to anyone in the online environment; (3) audience usability, so that anyone online can use the means of operation in social media; and (4)
15 immediate information, so that social media can provide instant information and reduce time l ag and delay in response Types of Social Media in Public Relations Social media can be classif ied into four areas by their purpose: ( 1) communication (e.g. blogs [ micro blogs] social networking Internet forums, and event sharing sites) ( 2) collaboration (e.g. wikis, social bookmarking, social news sites, and opinion sites ) ( 3) multimedia (e.g. photo sharing, video sharing, live casting, and audio and music sharing ) and ( 4) entertainment (e.g. virtual worlds and online gaming ) The following statement expl ains all of these social media. Communication Purposes S ocial n etworking : Social networking sites emerging as the most popular social media include various functions and purposes, such as video/photo sharing or entertainment tools. Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe (2007) defined Social Network ing Sites (SNS) as : Web based services that allow individua ls to (1) construct a public or semi public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) vie w and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system (p. 211) But the nature of social network ing sites differs site by site. Each site has its own unique relationship connecting function and their nomenclature relies on how it operates. Ellison et al. (2007) wr i te while networking is possible on these sites, it is not the primary practice on many of them, nor is it what differentiates them from ot her forms of computer (p.211) Social networking sites provide dynamic online services for communication purpose s business networking, or even social event meet up. Examples of the most famous social
16 networking sites are MySp ace and Facebook for communicating and information sharing purpose s ; Ryze, XING, and LinkedIn for business communication; and Meetup for social event sharing. Blogs Generally, a personal blog is viewed as an online personal journal that provid es frequent updated information for the general online public to consume. In fact, the word blogs is defined by its own unique format. According to the online Merriam Webster Dictionary, a blog eflections, comments, and online Princeton personal experiences and hobbies in chro However, in terms of public relations blogs the word can also be classified into five main blogs types by Lee, Hwang, and Lee (2006): ... employee blogs, written by any worker in the company; group blogs, a worker s blog written by a group of authors or experts, also called a collaborative blog; executive blogs, written by managers; promotional blogs, an impersonal corporate blog seeking to generate buzz about products and events; newsletter blogs, which is also an impersonal and aims to represent the company stance through its information (p.319) They mostly conduct the mission of disseminating messages and information for building relationship context. Collaboration Purposes Wikis According to the online Oxford English Dictionary, a wiki is defined as a page or collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language.
17 sites and strengthen community power on the Internet, and o ne of the best known wiki W eb sites, W i ki can be used as a source for obtaining information and knowledge, and also as a method of virtual collaboration, for example, to share dialogue and information among participants in group projec ts, or to allow learners to engage in learning with each other, using wikis as a collaborative environment to construct their knowledge or to be part of a virtual community of practice (Boulos, Maramba & Wheeler, 2006, p. 2). Social b ookmarking Lomas (2 005) defined social bookmarking as addressing a community or social approach to identifying and organizing information on the Web (p. 1) for Internet users to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of Web pages with the help of metadata. It invo lves a practice of saving bookmarks to a public Web site and tagging them with keywords. Social bookmarking users can search for resources by keywords, person or popularity and see the public bookmarks, tags, and classification (Lomas, 2005, p.1). Soc ial News Sites A social news site is a type of social bookmarking Web site dedicated to current news or specific types of news, and allows its users to submit news stories, articles and media (video/photos) and vote on news stories or other links. For ins tance, the most pioneered community sites are Slashdot and Fark; the most popular site is Digg, which combin es the feature s of Delicious and Slashdot. Opinion Sites An opinion site can also be called an Internet forum, or a message board. It is an online discussion site with the combination of a traditional bulletin board and a technological dialup bulletin board system. Opinion site users can build bonds with other users through online dialogue and discussion. Interest groups form together in a certain t opic or subject dealt within or around sections in the forum.
18 Multimedia Multimedia includes a combination of text, audio, images, animation, video and interactive content forms. Multimedia contains four types of content format photo sharing, such as Flic kr; video sharing, such as YouTube; livecasting, such as Ustream or Justin.tv; and audio/music sharing, such as imeem, The Hype Machine, Last.fm, and ccMixter. Entertainment Online entertainment is part of social media. Online gaming is a technology rat her than a genre; a mechanism for connecting players together rather than a particular pattern of game play (Adams & Rollings, 2006, p.670). Many online gaming sites benefit from advertising revenue dollars because of the decreasing profitability of the o nline gaming market after the dot com bubble burst in 2001. Virtual worlds, such as Second Life, are computer based simulated environment intending for their users to inhabit and interact via avatars, which are usually textual, two dimensional or three dim ensional graphic representations. Users can experience a simulated world base d on the real world or some hybrid fantasy world. Communication in the virtual world can be one way or two way because it is based on real world settings. Trends of Social Media A recent research reported by Ipsos MORI and commissioned by Marketing Week newspaper as a trusted information source, with 24 % of respondents considering blogs to be the However, it is not only personal blogs, but also certain expert blogs, such as public relations blogs, that raise s more concerns about message dissemination Blogging as a new social platform
19 these kind s of opinion sites al so conducting online communication. Blogs as a symbol of corporations or independent indi viduals become a platform for a of th e message being conveyed The primary message for practitioners is the need to understand that they share control of the brand with consumers who want and expect to engage with them in a rich online dialogue B logs offer the opportunity to connect with an audience that is drifting away from traditional media and represent a new platform image to communicate with the audience. Users may find blogs more credible because they are independent rather than controlled by corporate; bloggers may discuss issues tra ditional media shy away from because they might hurt corporations, while blogs also run stories from around the world that were unavailable or ignored by traditional media (Johnson & Kaye, 2004 p. 623 ). Therefore, blog users are likely to consider blogs as a highly credible source of information. However, r ecent articles (Galloway, 2005; Porter, Trammell, Chung & Kim, 2007) further reinforce the research regarding the phenomenon of blogging by practitioners rather than other social media in other functio ns, such as collaboration (Internet forums, message boards, and wikis), multimedia (pictures sharing and video sharing), and entertainment (virtual worlds, and online gaming). Internet forums and message boards, as an online public opinion sites, are pract communication and multimedia function, social media applications, like social networking or vide variety of communication channels, and administer overall potential impact on global communication and
20 In the entertainment function, various concerns and com munication strategies can be applied and studied in the virtual worlds because it involves both one way and two way communication characteristics. A recent online report that surveyed 17,000 Internet users worldwide in March 2008 also states that 83% of I nternet users watch video clips, up from 62% in the last study in June 2007; 78% of Internet users read blogs, up from 66%; 57% of Internet users are now members of a social networking site; RSS consumption is growing rapidly, up from 15% to 39%; and Podca sts are listened up from 48% (MacManus, 2008). At the same time, social networking sites have been featured as a key driver for the growth of social media and provide powerful statistical data as indicated by Universal McCann (2008): 22% of social networki ng users have installed a widget or applications ; 55% have shared photos ; 22% have shared their videos ; 31% have started a blog ; and t Facebook with a 23% weekly reach. These d ata all support the premise that Internet users heavily utilize social media as their main communication tool and practitioners involv ed in this new technology should also consider spending more time with online media to build a stronger relationship with their clients and consumers. Social Media Use Adoption of Social Media Diffusion of Innovation Mechanism of Diffusion The classic model of the diffusion of new ideas is innovation. The definition of the ommunicated through certain channels over p. 5 ). The innovation is also perceived as an idea, practice or object that is new for other people or relative unit of adoption. According to Williams Rice
21 usually more effective in creating awareness knowledge of innovations, whereas interpersonal channels are more effective in forming, and in changing, attitudes toward a new media, and th us (p.71). Most users or adopters of the innovation evaluate, consider and try it in order to make the decision of utilizing it in the future. Considering the concept of and adopters need time to adopt the new innovation. According to Williams, Rice, and Rogers (1988), time includes three critical aspects: 1. The innovation decision process, the mental process through which an individual or other decision making unit passes from first knowledge of an innovation to forming an attitude toward the innovation, to a decision to adopt or reject, to implementation of the new idea, and to confirmation of this decision. 2. Innovativeness, the degree to which an individual or other unit of adoption is earlier in adopting new ideas than other members of a social system. 3. members of a social system. 4. A social system also provides a structure with r eg ularity and predictability of b ehavior in a or nations) that are engaged in joint problem solving to accomplish a common goal (Williams, Rice & Rogers, 1988 p.7 2 aides (less than fully professional change agents) and consequences are five critical factors in a social system regarding to diffusion system. Interactivity The traditional diffusion of innovations can b e applied to the adoption and use of technologies are distinctive in their degree of interactivity, which may uniquely influence their rate of adoption in organizations (p. 70). Current social media is one well known example of required in interactive media. In the beginning of the adoption process, the rate of adoption is
22 expec ted to be slower than other non interactive media; however, after that, the rate will increase rapidly. The Critical Mass in the Adoption of Social Media contributio l ., 1985 p. 522 556 ) in human social behavior arena. The critical mass of adopters may also be utilized within branding issues in social media to be sufficient for an individu al to adopt an innovation. Consider that a new media form in social media, such as social networking or blogs, is introduced on the Internet. Someone (in this study, practitioners) must adopt it first, but the first adopter cannot communicate with any othe r people until a second individual has adopted. However, if the first adopters think only of their own benefits at the time they adopt, no one would adopt. This means that if the first practitioners in the social media would think about what may eventuall y be to their benefit or what may be beneficial for the growth of the Internet, this social media will have potential to become a popular interactive platform on the Internet. Therefore, u ntil there is a critical mass of adopters, an interactive communica tion has little advantage for p.74 ). Diffusion of Innovations source of invention or creation to its ultimate users (p.13) There are five important steps in processing diffusion of innovations. First of all, the users or adopters because aware of and are exposed to the innovation, but they still lack comprehensive information about this new idea, practice or object. As their interest rises, they become more concerned about this new thing and then start to track additional information about it. This step is also called the interest or
23 information stage. Thirdly, they apply the innovation to their present and anticipated future situation, and consider the decision of utilizing it or not by self evaluating. Finally, in the last stage, they make full use of this innovation and the so called the trial stage, and continue utilizing the innovation fully. According to previous literature, social media, such as blogs, have been utilized by practitioners for a while. It is obvious that practitioners have adopted this innovative technology in their daily practice. In this study, practitioners will be also asked about th eir experiences using social media and what kind of social media they use for their clients in order to review the current trend of social media being adopted as an interactive innovation. Product Placement Literature Definition of Product Placement Produ entertainment products in which trademarked goods are embedded into popular entertainment products in order to encourage their consumption, overriding entertainment and artistic c oncerns p. 2 ) and other media economics. However, not only on TV but also in the pervasive I nternet based world, there are more and more efforts to incorporate commercial activity to attract more people to buy something. Even the video game industry and high technology companies try hard to participate in the I nternet world. It is obvious that product placement or brand placement ha s been defined in various ways and exerted in dynamic areas. Karrh (1998) de products or (p.33). On the other hand, in which investigat ed le (p.74). They broadened the meaning a nd
24 purpose of product placement and tried not to restrict it to only common entertainment media, such as television and movies, but expand it to radio shows, songs and music videos, video games, plays and novels. This definition also considers the different modalities in which the brand may be presented and the multiple degrees of brand integration (Russell, 2002). Moreover, product placement s the blurring of the lines between advertising and Russell & Blech, 2005, p. 74 ). Russell (1998) in his Tripartite Typology of Product Placements categorized the placement along three dimensions: visual, auditory, and plot connection. The visual dimensio n, also called screen placement refers to the appearance of the brand on the screen ; the auditor y/visual dimension refers to the brand being mentioned in a dialogue ; the plot connection dimension refers to the degree to which the brand is integrated in to the plot of the story (Russell, 1998). In general, Russell (2002) indicated that verbal placement w as better recalled than visual placement ; the plot connection did not influence rec ognition for auditory placement but did improve r ecognition for visual placement According to Balasubramanian (1994), product pla been paid for and tries to influence film or television audiences through the inte ntion and subtle (p.31). H e argues that product placement fall s in to t he category of hybrid messages ( Sabour, 2004) A h ybrid messages is a based model which provides a basis for the sponsor to control key message aspects, such ( Balasubramanian 1994 p. 30 ). The a udience may not figure out that they are the commercial influential target. As Balasubramanian writes,
25 Hybrid messages, with non commercial characteristics, include all paid attempts to influence audiences for commercial benefit using communications that project a non commercial cha racter; under these circumstances, audiences are likely to be unaware of the commercial influence attempt and/or to process the content of such communications p.30 ) The purpose of hybrid messages is also to attract the audience by the hidden non commercial character dealt within the content of the message. B ecause of its characteristics of overt and covert disguise through different communication channels, the hybrid message may ap pear believable. Given its special traits, ethical, legal or public questions concerning consumer welfare and education have arisen from the hybrid messages model. For example, hybrid messages can be used to stimulate a debate on how to balance the protect know if, when, and by whom he or she is being influenced with regard to a product) with the accommodation of First Amendment rights of commercial sponsors (Balasubramanian, 1994) Moreover, the proliferation of the use of hybrid messages in the 1980s underlies the growing future application in other traditional forms or new forms of marketing communities. The Role of Public Relations Practitioners in Product Placement Razafindra commerc ial characteristic, practitioners can embed various brand or product messages carefully in various media to r a ise the product placement was perceived as the concept of creating a consumption constellation ( Engli s & Solomon 1999) as symbolic interdependencies of products, brands, or activities come to signify or perform social roles for audience members who use or avoid these products as means of gaining status or avoiding (Karrh, McKee, & Pardun 2003, p.139). Product placement can be viewed as a
26 strategic method for practitioners to position the products, brands, or activities that consumers may avoid. placement in previous studies. Pardun and McKee (1999) point out that early understanding of product placement as a public relations strategy was low empirical evidence exists as to the actual level of strategic attention paid on the top ic by public relations managers although there is a growing interest in understanding product placement as public (p. 483). The role of public relations practitioner in product placement use has increasingly been reinforced, and the importance o f product placement use for practitioners has also been addressed since the mid 1990s; however, a concurrent concept of product placement among practitioners has not been set up in order to exert in various new media according to T he Entertainment Resources and Marketing A ssociation (ERMA) w as established in 1991 to highlight the practice of marketing about the ethics of utilizing product placement emerged in entertainment bec ause of the frequent utilization of product placement in the industry. The ethical issues i n current television shows re present the trend of TV producers to manipulate plot lines to accommodate profitable prop products, such as cookies, soft drinks, and sn eakers, according to the online Ethics Newsline report. That practice inspires the FCC to consider crack ing down on product placement in TV shows. relations firm exerting p roduct placement the firms were very knowledgeable about product placement. Strong evidence showed that 59.8% of practitioners reported they were either
27 extremely knowledgeable or knowle dgeable about product placement Nevertheless, the definition of prod uct placement among practitioners is still inconsistent which may lead them to the ambiguous practice in new media A t the same time, one question is driven: whether practitioners alter their knowledge on product placement or have different experiences in practicing product placement if they expand placement strategy to social media. Rather than the aspects of knowledge and experiences, perceptions of the practice of product placement have been discussed in several articles (Karrh, 1995 and Karrh, McKee & Pardun, 2003), such as all focus on marketing or advertising practitioners in traditional media. Even Pardun and McKee (2000) focus on public relations pra ctitioners in movie s but not new media. T his study then will be guided by two research questions focusing on public relations Research Question 1 : How much knowledge and experience do public rela tions practitioners have regarding product placement, product placement in social media and social media ? Research Question 2 : How do PR practitioners perceive the practice of product p lacement, and product placement in social media? Ethics of Product Pl acement In 2007, Marie Claire issue s concerning the division of advertising and editorial in digital broadcasting. According to American Society of Magazine Editors board member Jacob Weisberg, noted, either in
28 text accompanying the article or on a disclosure page, to clarify that the sponsor had no input This podcast seemed to violate the regulations of magazine publicity. However, Marie Claire attempted (Bradshaw, 2007). This definitely triggered an ethical war constructed around the concept of product placement. Hackley, Tiwsakul and Preuss ( 2008) evaluated product placement from an ethical perspective to see if it is a deceptive practice. They summarized all the ethical issues related to product placement at macro and micro levels. At the macro level, product placement raises the concern of s ustainability and overconsumption, damage of public manners and moral sensibilities of sustaining negative stereotypes of race, gender, or body types. At the micro level criticisms in cases of deceit or subterfuge (e.g. misleading food labeling or differ ential price advertising) are implied about the possible deceptive action s in business practice. Also, this phenomenon can be seen as a force that undermines free speech and political debate in the interests of global business (Hackley, Tiwasakul, & Preuss 2008). By evaluating the ethics of product placement in entertainment media, Wenner (2004) integrity in contributing to movies and exacerbate the excess comme rcialism situation in the entertainment media. In the above cases of ethical issue s placement need more restrictions and regulations in order to protect the publicity and the future creation in the media. Is product placement really a deceptive or ambiguo us practice in the public relations arena? At present, there are no articles discussing the ethics issue in the public relations area. However, no research
29 article concentrates on product placement ethics in the realm of social me dia. So, this study presen ts one research question as follows: Research Question 3 : Do PR practitioners think product placement is ethical to use in social media? Effectiveness of Product Placement Research studies assessing product placement often consider recall and recognition and the following product sales and measurements of press coverage of the placement Practitioners, both in advertising and public relations, started to think more broadly and consider more factors to be pivotal to a product placement s success (Karrh, 199 5; Pardun & McKee, 1999). Practitioners wanted to reveal the brand being used on the channels, and avoid other competing brand s that were emerging. They also believed that gaining publicity for the placement itself was the important element for evaluating the effectiveness. Russell and Blech (2005) found that the role of product placement in companies is generally inconsistent. It could be placed in the public relations department, corporate communications, advertising department, or brand strategy sector. The result showed that product placement in many organizations was still an additional activity not even part of the integrated marketing plan and practitioners were working towards developing more functional tools to asses s the placement s effectivenes s (Russell & Blech, 2005). The most well known tools are monetary values (sales) and outcomes (recall and association). In the product placement industry, practitioners have seemed to advocate avoidance of being held accounta ble for their placement s perf ormances because they believed that their clients appear ed satisfied by simply seeing the brand embedded in the program. Some practitioners believe that the limited financial investment does not necessarily warrant much attention being paid to the placemen t s returns (Russell & Belch, 2005). However, effectiveness
30 is still a big concern for other practitioners who want to develop reliable and valid measures of product placement to understand the tactics and timely to integrate them in a timely manner into t he communication or marketing plan. Most of the past research studies of product placement attempt to measure the effectiveness, especially effects on brand recall, recognition, and attitudes (Babin & Carder 1996; Gupta, Balasubramanian & Klassen 2000; Gupta & Lord 1998; Karrh 1995; Ong & Meri 1994; Vollmers & Mizerski 1994). According to a 1998 online article in Brandweek direct selling. Product placement i s better suited for increasing brand awareness, enhancing brand image, identifying product with specific brand demographics and lifestyles, demonstrating easily di achiev ing more potential commercial opportunities. When a product placement appears too often, consumers may adapt to its presence and filter it out of their vision. They may al so start to ignore the presence of the brand/product, developing ad blindness, and become so accustomed to the placement that they stop noticing it The most important concerning disadvantage is audience attitude; the durability of their memories and purch ase intension toward brands. Although it may increase the sales, it is still hard to measure the exact effectiveness of product placement. Practitioners cannot only exert misrepresenting or misusing the brand; this may also cause a huge issue. Although the promotional dollars as the marketing aspect are not the main focus for public relations practitioners, the brand recall and the persuasive/image management function (reco gnition) then
31 play an important function for practitioners e mphasizing the effectiveness of product placement, especially in social media. Therefore, this study seeks to analyze the reason why public relations practitioners utilize product placement in so cial media, and the effectiveness of product placement, specializing in brand recall, recognition of brand preference, and observed behavior or attitude change in different social media. T he investigation of this study was driven by the following question : Research Question 4 : How do PR practitioners perceive the effectiveness measurements of product placement including monetary value, outcomes (recall or recognition), or others ? Research Questions RQ1. How much knowledge and experience do public relations practitioners have regarding product placement, product placement in social media and social media ? RQ2. How do PR practitioners perceive the practice of product p lacement, and product placement in social media? RQ3. Do PR public relations practitioners think product placement is ethical to use in social media? RQ 4 How do PR practitioners perceive the effectiveness measurements of product placement including monetary value, outcomes (recall or recognition), or others ?
32 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY According to previous studies (Pardun & McKee, 1999; Karrh, McKee, & Pardun, 2003), product placement has been utilized among public relations practitioners for several years Studies on social media (Wright & Hinson, 2008; Eryich, Padman & Sweetser, 2008) have also a examine s and how they perceive the effectivene ss of product placement in soc ial media and product placement in other media. Sample Recruiting and Data Collection perceived effectiveness on product placement, this study used a descriptive survey method i n an conditions in a realistic setting at a reasonable cost expense via email. A nationwide survey of public relations practitioners was conducted. Systematic sampling was used, and a probability sample of 9,000 practitioners was driven from the national 52 state Chapters roster of the Public Relat ions Society of America (PRSA) The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), based in New York, is the largest organization for public relations professionals in the world. The organization has nearly 32,000 professional and student members, organized into more than 100 Chapt ers, and 19 Professional Interest Sections and Affinity Groups nationwide. The mission of PRSA is to build the public relations profession and professional in advancing the profession, strengthening the Society and establishing global leadership.
33 The email survey was only sent out once due to the private policy of PRSA. 9,000 emails were sent from March 6 th to 13 th in 2009. The data were collected from March 6 th 2009 to April 6 th 2009 via an email containing an embedded link to a survey Web site from which data was collected. A pretest was conducted prior the main survey with University of Florida graduate students. Questionnaire Design and Development The questionnaire was developed and revised based on previous studies ( Pardun & McKee, 1999; Karrh, McKee & Pardun, 2003; Eryich, Padman & Sweetser, 2008). The questionnaire consists of seven point Likert statements, multiple choices questions and open ended questions mainly focusing on placement categories in social media. Statement scales range from Questionnaire Introduction The first part of the questionnaire contain s an in troduction of product placement and the range of social media. The researcher provided a written explanation regarding the purpose of th e study and what the rights of the participant are in an Informed Consent Disclosure agreement. After giving written consent, public relations practitioners were asked to complete an online questionnaire. The questionnaire was in a four page format and too k between 10 to 15 minutes to complete. In this part, the definitions of social media and product placement are also given to the participants to ensure they understand the terms. Social Media is defined as online communication tools by which people can s hare and receive information one way or two way in certain technology platforms offered by social media providers. There are four types of social media defined in this study.
34 Communication: blogs (micro blogs), social networking sites, Internet Forum, and event sharing sites. Collaboration: wikis, social bookmarking, social news sites, and opinion sites. Multimedia: video sharing, photo sharing, live casting, and audio and music sharing. Entertainment: online game, virtual world, and game sharing sites. Pro duct Placement is also defined as the purposeful incorporation of a branded products or brand identifiers through audio/visual/plot connection means into a mass media. RQ1. Experience and Knowledge of Product Placement and Social Media Practitioners were a sked about their experiences in using product placement in other media except social media. Their experiences of using social media were also addressed following. Practitioners with experiences of utilizing product placement were asked how knowledgeable th ey were in placing products or brands. In the second part, practitioners with experiences of conducting product placement were asked how much knowledge and experience they ha d regarding product placement in social media. RQ2. Perception of the Practice of Product Placement All p ractitioners with or without experiences of conducting product placement were asked to rate the Likert type statements in their perceptions of product placement, including f single placement, decision making of placement using restriction, and regulations. They were also asked to answer their perceptions of placing product/brand in social media, including viewer s familiarity in the social media, future placement use in soc ial media, the effect of single placement in social media, decision making of placement using in social media, and placement regulations.
35 RQ3. Ethical Issues Practitioners were asked about their perception of ethical is sues of using product placement in o ther media except social media and using product placement in social media. RQ4. Perceived Effectiveness Measurement of Product Placement in Social Media All p ractitioners with or without experiences of using placement were first asked to answer how they p erceive d the effectiveness of product pla cement rating eight measures of product placement effectiveness: recall, recognition, brand image, recall with promoting, s ales, purchase intention, attitude toward brands, liking of the media. Then practitioners with or without experiences of using placement were asked again to rate the eight items in social media settings. Demographics The final section was designed to gath er information ethnicity, position level, salary level, and geographic location for statistical purposes.
37 Demographics Table 4 1 reveals the result of demographics data. Ar ound Seventy two percent ( 72.4% ) of the respondents were female; 27.6% of the respondents were male. 72.9% were Caucasian, 6.1% were Hispanic, 4.3% were African American, 4.3% were Asian American, and less than 1 % were Native American. Four respondents in dicated a multi cultural background, and 2 respondents did not report race. The median age range is 35 44 years old. About one third percent ( 29.4% ) of the respondents indicated they were in a PR agency, 25.8% were affiliated with non profit organizations 20.9% had corporate affiliations, 11.7% had executive positions (VP, Director, and Head of Department etc.), standing for 38.7%. One third ( 31.3% ) of the respond ents indicated their position as managerial level, 6.1% were entry level, and 3.1% were free lancers. Other position s represented 3.7 %. Geographic data showed that 27.2% of respondents were in the s outhwest area, 24.7% were in the s outheast, 19.1% were i n the n ortheast, 8.6% were in the Midwest, and 4.3% Questionnaire Results RQ1. K nowle dge and E xperience about P roduct P lacement and S ocial M edia Product Placement in Any Media except Social Media More than one third (38.3%) of the 201 responding practitioners (77 respondents) have ever or currently place a brand/product in any media except social media Over 70% of these 77 respondents indicated they were extremely knowledgeable or knowledgeable in conducting product placement for t heir clients (rate 5 to 7). In addition, 23.8% of these respondents placed or currently place a brand/product in a newspaper, 22.6% in magazines, 19.6% in television els
38 and discovery maps, commercials, billboards, signs, events, movie theaters, airports, buses, television news, and trade journals). Table 4 1 Respondents d emographic s d ata Survey Item N % Gender Female 118 72.4 % Male 45 27.6 % Age 18 24 13 8 % 25 34 53 32.5 % 35 44 24 14.7 % 45 54 41 25.2 % 55 64 27 16.6 % over 65 5 3.1 % Race Caucasian 130 79.8 % Black 7 4.3 % Native American Indian 1 0.6 % Asian 7 4.3 % Hispanic 10 6.1 % Other 8 4.9 % Position Level Entry Level 10 6.1 % Experienced Level (Non Manager) 28 17.2 % Managerial Level (Managers, Senior/Junior Manager) 51 31.3 % Executive Level (VP, Director, Head of Department etc.) 63 38.7 % Free lancers 5 3.1 % Other 6 3.7 % Placed Product/Service Categories in Any Media Depending on the seventy seven product/service categories were displayed in the results, including food (12.5%) beauty equipment (7.2%) sport e quipment (3.9%) computers ( 4.6%) office equipment (3.3%) alcohol (4.6%) (2.6%) restaurants (10.5%) clothing (7.2%) and tobacco (0.7%) Forty three percent (42.8%) (see Table 4 2).
39 Ten respondents placed in travel related service and medical related service/product distinctively. Seven placed in consumer electronics; six placed in automobile related products and technology distinctively; four placed in home building/ dcor and non profit/governmental service distinctively; three placed in education, events, and branding distinctively; two placed in real estate. Nineteen places in other different products/services with only one time stated (m ousetraps, r etail l ocations c ooking e quipment i ndustrial pr oducts c ards and gift items produced from the artwork of pediatric cancer patients j ewelry b usiness magazine s, crafting, books pet products furniture, cleaning products oil / gas financial products, business to business services, banking, art, sport m arketing, public service announcements, human services, expert commentary, Business to business services, and Services for individuals with disabilities) (See Table 4 3 for Frequency of Other Items in Any Media except Social Media) Table 4 2 Place d p roduc t/ s ervice in a ny m edia e xcept s ocial m edia Product Categories % N Food 12.5 19 Beauty Products 7.2 11 Sporting Equipment 3.9 6 Computers 4.6 7 Office Equipment 3.3 5 Alcohol 4.6 7 Children Toys 2.6 4 Restaurants 10.5 16 Clothing 7.2 11 Tobacco 0. 7 1 Other s 42.8 65 Product Placement in Social Media and Social Media Over two thirds (69.1%) of 201 total respondents indicated that they have conducted social media for their clients, and 69.6% perceived themselves being knowledgeable in social media. Leading this media were blogs/micro blogs, used for clients by 19.6%, followed by social
40 networking sites (18.3%), video sharing sites (13.3%), wikis (9.0 %), photo sharing sites (8.3%), Internet forums (7.4%), social news sites (7 %), opinion sites (4.6% ), social bookmarking sites (4.4%), event sharing sites (4.1%), virtual worlds (1.3%), live casting sites (1.1%), audio and music sharing sites (0.9%), and online gaming sites (0.7%). Around twenty one percent (21.5%) of 172 respondents (172 valid data of total 201 respondents) have e ver conducted product placement in social media and 31.4% of these respondents perceived themselves as knowledgeable in conducting product placement in social media. Most of them (37 people) utilized blogs/micro blogs and soci al networking sit es to conduct product placement as the follows ( See Table 4 4 for s ocial m edia c onducted for p roduct p lacement ): Internet forums, wikis, social news sites, video sharing sites, photo sharing sites, opinion sites, virtual worlds, event shar ing sites, social bookmarking sites, and live casting sites. None of them used audio and music sharing sites, or online gam ing sites for product placement
41 Table 4 3 Frequency of o ther i tems in a ny m edia except s ocial m edia Other Items Frequency Real est ate 2 Consumer electronics 7 Automobile products/ Vehicles 6 M edical/ Healthcare 10 Technology 6 Travel entertainment 10 Education 3 Home building/ dcor 4 Other service/product 1 Events 3 Non profit/Government 4 Branding 3 Table 4 4 Social m ed ia that p ublic r elations p ractitioners c onducted for p roduct p lacement Social Media Types Percentage Respondents Number Blogs/ Micro blogs (e.g. Blogger, Twitter) 23.7 32 Social Networking Sites (e.g. Facebook, MySpace) 22.2 30 Internet Forum (e.g. Phbp p) 9.6 13 Event Sharing Sites (e.g. Eventful) 1.5 2 Wikis (e.g. Wikipedia) 8.9 12 Social Bookmarking Sites (e.g. Delicious) 1.5 2 Social News Sites (e.g. Digg) 8.9 12 Opinion Sites (e.g. Yelp, Trip Advisor) 4.4 6 Video Sharing Sites (e.g. YouTube) 8. 9 12 Photo Sharing Sites (e.g. Flickr) 6.7 9 Live casting Sites (e.g. Justin TV) 1.5 2 Audio and Music Sharing Sites (e.g. imeem) 0 0 Virtual Worlds (e.g Second Life) 2.2 3 Online Gaming (e.g. World of Warcraft) 0 0 Nine percent (9.1%) of respondent s who conducted placement in food; 7.3 % placed in beauty products and clothing; 5.5 % placed in computers and restaurants; 3.3 placed in office equipment and children s toys.
42 placement in social media, the same as in any media except social media. Over 60% of them reported different product/service categories, such as: automotive technologies, grassroots groups, cooking equipment, expert commentary, healthcare, consumer electronics, special events, child sponsorship, campaign videos, blood and tissue donation, awards programs, medical services, education, vehicles, media, B2B services, wireless devices, leisure items, construction, education, public service, religious related, banking, cards & gifts produced from artwo rk by pediatric cancer patients, entertainment, destination marketing, home decor, crafts, video games, real estat e, and organization brand names (See Table 4 5 for Frequency of Other Items in Social Media). Table 4 5 Frequency of o ther i tems in s ocial m ed ia Other Items Frequency T echnologies 3 Nonprofit/Government 4 Medical /Health related 5 Consumer Electronics 6 Events 3 Vehicles 2 Real Estate 2 Education 2 Other service/product 1 RQ2. Percepti on of Placing Product Placement in Social Media P roduct Placement in Social Media All 201 r espondents were asked to respond to a series of Likert type statements that highlighted their perception of product placement in any media except social media Of the seven Likert type statements listed on the seve n point scale with 1 being extremely disagree and 7 being extremely agree Sixty eight percent (68.16%) of total 201
43 respondents agreed, very agreed or extremely agreed can increase the viewers familiarity to the media channel, such as movies, TV shows etc Over seventy percent of 201 respondents agreed, very agreed or extremely agreed is (78.11%), nt can lead ( 7 7.11 %), and Most people (63 people) chose of some types of products should be restricted but only sixty two (62.68%) percent of respondents agreed, very agreed or ext remely agreed this statement. Few people placed the agreement on Decisions about using placement is based more on (56.72%) and is likely to come under (40.8%). All 201 respondents were also asked their perception of product placement in social media but only 175 valid data presented. Nearly two thirds of the respondent s perceived, important or ext remely important. Over eight six percent of the 175 respon dents agreed are likely to be used more in social media for PR practitioners in the Around seventy percent ( 70.86% ) of the 175 respondents agreed very agreed or extremel y agreed can lead to better monetary benefits generated from Almost eighty percent ( 77.14% ) reported highly importance on Nearly half of the 175 respondents agreed very agreed or extremely agreed Decisions about using placement in social media are based more on intuition than on sp
44 of some types of products should be restricted in socia l me Few respondents agreed with th can increase the placement s agreed that product placement is likely to be used more in PR area in the future, they can lead to better monetary benefits for a client, and the effect on viewers from a single placement is hard to measure. Most respondents reported a score of 7 (ext remely According to Table 4 6 there is no significant difference between product placement in any media except social media and in social media. RQ3. Ethics Issue About 70 % of the 201 respondents extremely agreed or agreed that product placement is an ethical practice in the public relations arena, and stated that conducting product placement in social media is an ethical practice. RQ4. Perceived Eff ectiveness of Product Placement in Social Media Eff ectiveness of Product Placement Nearly one third (32.5%) of the respondents have ever or currently measure placement effectiveness in any media. Amon g these respondents, 88.13% perceived an effec tive means to measure placement effec
45 to measure. Most respondents (40.68%) recorded the highest score, seven, in the option m perceived it as the best mean s scoring from 5 to 7. Only nearly two third (67.25%) of the respondents indicated the effectiveness of vie received 57.63% of support in the eight Likert Statement ranking from 1 (poorest means) to 7 (best means). Eff e ctiveness of Product Placement in Social Media Only 17 respondents replied they have measured or currently measure eff ectiveness of product placement in social media. Ninety percent of these respondents perceived brand is included in social media as two of the best means in social media, 84.21% best means to measure placement best means, 84.22% agreed that the Compared respondents with experiences in placing product/brand in social media perceptions of effectiveness m easurement of product placement in any media except social media (M1) to perceptions of effectiveness measurement of product placement in social media (M2) (see Table 4 7) the statement of represents a significant result. The result shows that practitioners with experiences in any
46 media, including social media, perceived that viewers attitude toward to brand in traditional media is different from that in social media. Respondents perceiv ed the statement Sales of the brand after presenting in the media, including social media, as the most effectiveness measurement and rated it over 6 (1=extremely disagree, 4=neutral, 7=extremely agree). On the contrary, respondents perceived the statemen t of including social media, as the most ineffectiveness measurement and rated it less than 5 (1=extremely disagree, 4=neutral, 7=extremely agree
47 Table 4 6 p erceptions of p roduct p lacement Note M1 repre sent s All P ractitioners P erceptions of P roduct P lacement in A ny M edia except S ocial M edia, 201 respondents; M2 represent s All Practitioners Perceptions of Product Placement in Social Media, 175 respondents 26 respondents had missing data in M2. Practiti oners Perceptions Survey Items are rated on a 7 point scale, where 1=extremely disagree, 4=neutral, and 7=extremely agree. The initial sample of practitioners perceptions was 201. Practitioners Perc eptions Survey Items M1 (N=201) M2 (N=175) F Sig. P<0.05 Product placement channel, such as movies, TV shows etc. 5.05 4.98 1.082 .29 6 Product placement are likely to be used more in PR area in th e future. 5.4 1 5.70 1.413 .0 10 Product placement can lead to better monetary benefits for a client. 5.3 2 5.1 5 1.131 .20 2 The effect of viewers from a single placement is hard to measure. 5.54 5. 3 0.86 9 .16 8 Decisions about using placement are based more on intuition than on specific data. 4.07 4.36 0.920 .28 6 Placement of some types of products should be restricted. 5.0 5 4.6 0.923 .292 Placement is likely to come under regulations in the future. 4.73 4.5 3 0.88 0 .19 1
48 Table 4 7 Practitioners p erceived e ffectiveness m easurement of p roduct p lacement Note M1 represent s P ractitioners Perceived Effectiveness Measurement of Product Placement in Any Media except Social Media, 20 respondents; M2 represent s Practitioners Perceived Effectiveness Measurement of Product Placement in Social Media, 19 respondents 1 respondent had missing data in M2. Practitioners Perceptions Surve y Items are rated on a 7 point scale, where 1=extremely disagree, 4=neutral, and 7=extremely agree. Effectiveness M easurement of Product Placement Survey Items M1 M2 F Sig. (p< .05) s inclusion in the media 5.579 5.65 0.945 0.451 Viewers can recognize the brand/product 5.79 5.63 1.195 0.354 media 5.526 5.5 0.954 0.459 Brand can be viewed in the media 5.368 5.5 1.009 0.491 Sales of the brand after presenting in the media 6.316 6.35 0.686 0.287 ons for the brand 5.421 5.4 1.3067 0.287 5.947 5.47 3.796 0.003 4.684 4.55 1.615 0.157
49 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION, IMPLICAT IONS AND LIMITATIONS Discussion The main object of this study wa s to examine u tilization of product placement and social media in the public relations industry. The results show that product placement is still not widely used in the public relations area. Some of the respondents stated that it wa s irrelevant to their current practices and organizations One respondent commen ted that: of what I do. If you meant more product review, that is more in line with PR, but product placement as I know it is more advertising or paid opportunities. This may provi de support o f Pardun and McKee s (2000) assumption that public relations practitioners are more comfortable with unpaid product publicity tools than are their advertising counterparts. R espondents who indicated that they were e xperienced in product plac ement perceived themselves as very knowledgeable or knowledgeable in pr oduct placement They conduct ed varied placement in different product/service categories in multiple media channels. These results provide evidence that product placement in the public relations are n a is not recognized as a popular strateg y for a client, but practitioners who have ever conducted or currently conduct product placement play an active role in choosing whether to use product placement to enhance a client s product or service This study also investigates the role of social media. The evidence shows that social media has been highlighted in the daily practice for clients. Practitioners utilize every type of social media for their clients Even when product placem ent is i nvolve d practitioners still expansively integrate clients product s /service s into different social media and perceive themselves as very knowledgeable or knowledgeable in conducting placement in social media.
50 The results emphasize the importance o f social media for public relations practitioners. Evidence show s that the two leading social media are blogs and social networking sites. These two media channel s entail more interactivity with their audience and receive higher attention in research and p ractical applications There is less evidence that practitioners have substantially changed their views on measuring placement effectiveness or their methods from other media to social media. One respondent comment ed that: As a public relations professio nal, I do not regularly measure sales or revenue during evaluation because it is not an objective f or staff management. From the results of research question four (RQ4), most respondents rated sales as most effectiveness measurement of product placement. I t is interesting that sales become a concern for practitioners in this study. Although practitioners do not measure their sales exa ctly the evidence shows that practitioners perceived and utilized sales to evaluate the effectiveness of placement in any media including social media However, viewers liking of the media does not matter to the effectiveness measurement of a placement for practitioners who have experiences in placing media in any media including social media. According to the result, view ers attitude toward the brand has a significant result in any media except social media and in social media. This presents that practitioners perceived viewers attitude toward the brand in social media as more effective than in other media except social media. Finally t here is no evidence that practitioners have substantially changed their perceptions of product placement in any media including social media. Implications for Public Relations Practitioners in Online Platform Most articles introduce bl ogs as one of the most effective and popular communication channels in public relations; however, few studies emphasize and research other social media
51 from the previous literature This study reve als that in the reality, public relations practitioners not only focus on blogs, but also on social networking sites, video sharing sites, wikis, photo sharing sites, and internet forums etc. The results of this study can be adopted for different topic stu dies, such as branding issues, to knowledge/experience in social media. The evidence in this study also reveals that blogs, social networking sites, and video sharing site s are the top three social media. So, in terms of practical implications, this study provides practitioners with the data of popular social media which they could conduct in the future for their clients. Although product placement has been viewed as a non PR function strategy or irrelevant tools in most public relations practices among public relations practitioners, the evidence in this study still indicates a good opportunity for practitioners to reconsider this technique. This study asked all practition ers to answer the questions about their perceptions of product placement. From the results, most of the public relations practitioners ha d positive perceptions toward the future of product placement. They even perceive d that product placement can lead to i ncreased better monetary benefits for a client. Therefore, i n the reality, there are still many practitioners who perceive this technique as a functional tool for their clients and even apply it in the newest media. Besides, this study link ed product place ment with social media, which may provide traditional medium since most practitioners only conduct placement in media other than social media. Clearly, placement in social med ia still offers a good chance for practitioners to practice for their clients. According to the results, practitioners perceived viewers attitude toward a brand would
52 change in different media. This evidence provides practitioners a different aspect from viewers point. They should consider utilizing different media channel in placing product/brand. Limitations and Future Research One limitations of this study is response rate This study only presents 201 samples because of the data collecting time was limited and only submitted to practitioners one time due to the private policy of PRSA which do not encourage using the membership data for research purpose Longitudinal studies can be applied in this study to understand more practitioners perceptions, k nowledge and e xperiences in product placement and social media. Open ended questions regarding effectiveness measurement can be provided in the future to find different or innovative methods in social media. This study addresses the difference in practiti oners perceptions between effectiveness measurement in any media except social media and in social media; other measurement factors do not appear in the study. F uture research can also target at certain social media to impel more specific data in conducti ng product placement Thos e in a m anagerial role ha d a higher respondent rate in this study. Future studies can also address the managerial role in conduct product placement in the public relations arena. Obviously, more research need s to be done in order to understand the utilization of product placem ent in social media.
53 APPENDIX QUESTIONNAIRE Questionnaire Introduction Dear Professional Public Relations Practitioners, I am a public relations master student in the University of Florida. Under the superv ision of Dr. Janis Page, I am currently exploring practitioners' perception on utilizing product placement in the social media. Your response not only means a lot on my research but also on the trend of PR industry. This survey will only take you 10 15 min utes. Please read each questions carefully and respond thoughtfully and honestly. The information from you will not be released to any person. Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. You have the right to withdraw consent for participation at any time without consequence. There are no known risks or immediate benefits to the participants of this study. There is no compensation to you for participating in the study. If you have any questions about this research protocol, please feel free to contact Ping Wang at 352 328 7440, and the supervisor of this study Dr. Janis Page at 352 392 0491. Description: You are invited to evaluate public relations practitioners' perception on product placement in social media. Procedures: First, on the following pages you will first read about the d efinitions of product placement and social media. Next, you will be asked to fill out a questi onnaire about product placement and social media. Whom to contact about your rights as a research participan t in the study: Ping Wang, master student, G035 Weimer Hall, College of Jo urnalism and Communication s UFIRB Office, Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 2250, 352 392 0433 Ping Wang Master in Public Relations College of Journalism and M ass Communications University of Florida This part shortly explains the basic definitions of soc ial media and product placement Please read carefully and answer the following questions regarding these definitions. Social Media is defined as online commun ication tools by which people can share and receive information one way or two way in certain technology platforms off ered by social media providers. There are four types of social media. 1. Communication: blogs (microblogs), social networking sites, Inte rnet Forum, and event sharing sites. 2. Collaboration: wikis, social bookmarking, social news sites, and opinion sites. 3. Multimedia: video sharing, photo sharing, live casting, and audio and music sharing. 4. Entertainment: online game, virtual world, an d game sharing sites. Pr oduct Placement is defined as the purposeful incorporation of a branded products or brand identifiers through audio/visual/plot connection means into a mass media.
54 Questionnaire Context 1) Have you ever placed or do you currently place a brand/product in any media channel except social media? Yes No, skip to question 6 2) Do you perceive yourself as knowledgeable in conducting product placement for your client? (7= strongly agree to 1= s trongly disagree ) 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 3) What kind of products have you ever placed in any media? (You can choose more than 1 answer.) Food Beauty Products Sporting Equipment Computers Office Equipment Alcohol Children Toys Restaurants Clothing Coals Tobacco Other (Ple ase Specify): 4) In what media channels, have you ever placed or do you currently place a brand/product? (You can choose more than 1 answer.) Television Shows Movies Radio Magazines Newspaper Other (Please Specify): 5) Please rate the following b rand characteristics that w ill lead to effective placement (7= extremely important to 1= not at all important ) 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 The brand/product has a very recognizable package or design. The brand/product is associated with other supportive p romotion and advertising. The brand/product has unique traits. The brand/product is well known. The brand/product has many strong competitors in the m arket. The brand/product is new to market. The brand/p roduct has been placed in other mass media. 6) Do you agree the following sta tements about product placement ? (7= extremely agree to 1= extremely disagree ) 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Product placement can increase the viewers' familiarity to the media ch annel, such as movi es, TV shows etc.
55 Product placement is l ikely to be used more in PR area in the future. Product placement can lead to better monetary benefits for a client. The effect of viewers from a single placement is hard to measure. Decisions about using placement are based more on intuition than on specific data. Placement of some types of products should be restricted. Placement is likely to come under regu lations in the future. 7) Do you agree product pl ac e ment is an ethical strategic practice? (7= extremely agree to 1= extremely disagree ) 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 8) Have you ever utilized any social media for your client? Yes No, skip to question 11 9) Do you perceive yourself as knowledgeable in s ocial media? (7= strongly agree to 1= strongly disagree ) 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 10) What kind of social media have you ever used for a client? (You can choose more than one answer.) Blogs/ Micro blogs (e.g. Blogger, Twitter) Social Networking Sites (e. g. Facebook, MySpace) Internet Forum (e.g. Phbpp) Event Sharing Sites (e.g. Eventful) Wikis (e.g. Wikipedia) Social Bookmarking Sites (e.g. Delicious) Social News Sites (e.g. Digg) Opinion Sites (e.g. Yelp, Trip Advisor) Video Sharing Sites ( e.g. YouTube) Photo Sharing Sites (e.g. Flickr) Live casting Sites (e.g. Justin TV) Audio and Music Sharing Sites (e.g. imeem) Virtual Worlds (e.g Second Life) Online Gaming (e.g. World of Warcraft) 11) Have you e ver conducted product placement in social media? Yes No, skip to question 15 12) Do you perceive yourself as knowledgeable in conducting product placement in SOCIAL MEDIA? (7= strongly agree to 1= strongly disagree ) 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 13) What kind of products/brand have you ever placed or do you currently place for? Food Beauty Products Sporting Equipment Computers Office Equipment Alcohol Children Toys
56 Restaurants Clothing Coals Tobacco Other (Please Specify): 14) What kind of social media have you ever used for product placement? (You can choose more than one answer.) Blogs/ Micro blogs (e.g. Blogger, Twitter) Social Networking Sites (e.g. Facebook, MySpace) Internet Forum (e.g. Phbpp) Event Sharing Sites (e.g. Eventful) Wikis (e.g. Wikipedia) Social Bookmarking Sites (e.g. Delicious) Social News Sites (e.g. Digg) Opinion Sites (e.g. Yelp, Trip Advisor) Video Sharing Sites (e.g. YouTube) Photo Sharing Sites (e.g. Flickr) Live casting Sites (e.g. Justin TV) Audio and Music Sharing Si tes (e.g. imeem) Virtual Worlds (e.g Second Life) Online Gaming (e.g. World of Warcraft) 15) Do you agree the following sta tements about product placement in SOCIAL MEDIA? (7= extremely agree to 1= extremely disagree ) 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Product place ment can increase the online viewers' familiarity to the social media. Product placement are likely to be used more in social media for PR practitioners in the future. Product placement can lead to better monetary benefits generating from the Internet for a client. The effect of online viewers from a single placement is hard to measure. Decisions about using placement in social media are based more on intuition than on specific data. Online pla cement of some types of products shoul d be restricted in social media. Online placement is likely to come under regulations in social media in the future. 16) Do you agree product placement conducting in SOCIAL MEDIA is an ethical strategic practice? (7= Strongly Agree to 1= S trongly Di sagree ) 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 17) Do you currently measure or have you ever measured placement effectiveness in any media? Yes No, skip to question 21 18) What are the best means of measuring placement effective ness? (7= best means to 1= poorest m eans ) Viewers recall, without promoting, of the brand s inclusion in the media Viewers can recognize the brand/product
57 Viewers recall, with promoting, of the brand s inclusion in the media Brand can be viewed in the media Sales of the brand after presenting in the media Viewers purchase intentions for the brand Viewers attitude toward the brand Viewers liking of the media 19) Do you currently or have you measur ed the placement effectiveness in SOCIAL MEDIA? Yes No, skip to question 21 20) What are the best means of measuring placement effective ness in SOCIAL MEDIA? (7= best means to 1= poorest means ) 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Viewers recall, without promoting, o f the brand's inclusion in the media Viewers can recognize the brand/product Viewers recall, with promoting, of the brand's inclusion in the media Brand can be viewed in the media Sales of the brand after presenting in the media Viewers purchase intentions for the brand Viewers attitude toward the brand Viewers liking of the media 21) Gender: Male Female 22) Age Range: 18 24 25 34 35 4 4 45 54 55 64 O ver 65 23) Ethnic Background: Caucasian Black Native American Indian Asian Hispanic Other (Please Specify): 24) Current Regional Area: Northeast Southeast Midwest Northwest Southwest Other (Please Specify): 25) Types of Public Relations: Agency
58 Corporate Non profit Governmental Other (Please Specify): 26) Position Level: Entry Level Experienced Level (Non Manager) Managerial Level (Managers, Senior/Junior Manager) Executive Level (VP, Director, Head of Department etc.) Fre e lancers Other (Please Specify): 27) Annual Salary Level: $20,000 $40,000 $40,001 $60,000 $60,001 80,000 $80,001 100,000 O ver 100,000 N/ A
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64 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Ping Wang was born in Taipe i, Taiwan. The second child of three children, she grew up mostly in Taipei, Taiwan, graduating from Taipei Municipal Zhong Shan Girls High School in 2002. She earned her B achelor of Arts in Business Administration in 2006. Upon completion of her master pr ogram in December 2009, Ping will keep her interest in social media and public relations, and fulfill her interest in her future career.