Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Consumer Responses to Brands Placed in Youtube Movies: The Effect of Prominence and Endorser Expertise

Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Consumer Responses to Brands Placed in Youtube Movies: The Effect of Prominence and Endorser Expertise

Article excerpt


Despite the vast growth of web 2.O., academic research has not kept pace with the development of advertising techniques for user-generated content. The present study is, to the best of our knowledge, the first to investigate the effects of brand placement techniques in user-generated content. Using a 2x2 full-factorial between-subjects design with self-produced videos posted on a major social media platform (YouTube), we investigate the effects of prominence (how conspicuously the brand is used or mentioned), celebrity endorser expertise (celebrity expert versus amateur) and their interaction on brand recognition and purchase intention of brands that appear in the video. While the prominence of one brand was manipulated, we also tested the effects on both the manipulated brand and the other brands that subtly appeared in the video. We further study the moderating role of video liking on these relationships using associative network theory and the Persuasion Knowledge Model. The results indicate a strong positive effect of brand placement prominence on brand recognition of both the manipulated brand and a subtly placed complementary brand (a brand that is explicitly used together with the manipulated brand). A prominent endorsement by a celebrity expert enhances the purchase intention of the focal brand compared to a subtle endorsement. This effect is stronger for viewers who strongly liked the video than for viewers who liked the video less. Although our study is limited to only one platform and content type, our results are of importance to practitioners who are interested in integrating their brands in online content. The study aims to advance both the theoretical and practical knowledge of brand placement effects by studying the effects of different placement characteristics and brands in a user-generated content setting.

Keywords: Brand placement; User generated content; Prominence; Celebrity expert endorsement

1. Introduction

Brand placement, the (paid) inclusion of branded products or brand identifiers in mass media productions [Gupta & Lord 1998], is rapidly gaining in popularity as an alternative to traditional advertising. Between 2009 and 2011, the annual spending on brand placement increased with 18% on average [PQMedia 2012], The global spending on brand placement amounted up to $7.39 billion in 2011, and is expected to grow in the future as brand placement practices are expanding to new media [PQMedia 2012] and new markets [Nelson & Deshpande 2013], Although the vast majority of this amount is currently spent on placements in traditional advertising media (e.g. television, radio, feature films, ...), marketers are investing an increasing amount of their budgets on placement campaigns in interactive online media and web 2.0. platforms [PQMedia 2012], Academic research on this topic does not reflect this trend and researchers are explicitly calling for the expansion of brand placement research to these new domains [Chin et al. 2013], Despite the practical and theoretical relevance of brand placement frameworks to online social media, the application of these techniques in a web 2.0 context remains underexplored. The present study addresses this gap in the literature by investigating how viewers respond to brands appearing in social media (i.e., a YouTube video) in terms of brand recognition and purchase intention.

More precisely, the present study explores viewers' responses to multiple brands appearing in online videos, posted on a major user-generated content (UGC) platform (i.e., YouTube). Marketers are in the process of discovering the potential of UGC, and are looking for ways to incorporate it in their campaigns [Thompson & Malaviya 2013], UGC is of special significance as it is considered more credible by consumers than producergenerated content [Johnson & Kaye 2004], Indeed, recent research has shown that UGC advertising is more involving and persuasive because it is easier for people to identify with its source [Thompson & Malaviya 2013], Product or brand-focused UGC might thus produce stronger effects on brand image than producer-generated communications. …

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