Are We Aware of Product Placements
in Music Videos?
Irene Roozen, Christel Claeys
HUB RESEARCH PAPER 2009/38
Are We Aware of Product Placements in Music Videos?
HUB-Hogeschool Universiteit Brussel - Associated with Katholieke Universiteit of
HUB-Hogeschool Universiteit Brussel - Associated with Katholieke Universiteit of
The objective of this research is to analyse the effectiveness of product-placements used
in music videos. Two different experimental groups were exposed to different music
videos. Results indicate that a more appreciated music video (higher score on attitude
towards the music, towards the video, towards the artist) can significantly enhance the
effectiveness of product-placements, whereby the different viewing experiences do not
significantly affect the results. The results show that the prominent visual product
placements are significantly more effective than subtle and or audio placements.
However, no differences are found for attitude toward the brand between the different
Product placement, music video, awareness, marketing communication
1. Introduction and Overview of the Literature
Music and advertising have been crossing paths for a long time, starting with driving his
Chevy from Don McLean in "American Pie" to the song "Pass the Courvoisier" from
Busta Rhymes (Chang, 2003). The placements of music (and songs) on television shows
and in motion pictures are still successful (Donahue, 2009). Also in commercials we
observe popular music (pop and rock music), particularly in the commercials for
automobile, audio and food. Research has shown that sometimes the popular music was
more likely to be relevant to the narrative in the commercial than the product (Allan,
2008). The phenomenon of brand or product placements in music and also the
phenomenon of brand and product placement in the videos of the song (of the music) is a
trend which is getting bigger (Chang, 2003; Schemer et al. 2008). One of the arguments -
often used to explain this phenomenon- is that music performers depend on advertising
money to support their career. The deal with advertising can help to reduce the ever-
increasing cost of music video productions (notice that more than 25% of the production
costs can be paid with those ‘advertising’ deals). We know that –for example - Mazda
pays a fee to place the new car in one of Britney Spears' video "Me against the music".
Also, the brand Apple has had a deal in the video of Mary J. Blige "Love @1st Sight".
Already in the first strophe of “My Humps” of Black Eyed Peas, audio product
placements are used for different brand names. “I drive these brothers crazy, I do it on
the daily, they treat me really nicely, they buy me all these ices. Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi
and the Donna Karan, they be sharin' all their money got me wearin' fly. Brother I ain't
askin, they say they love my ass in, Seven Jeans, True Religion, I say no, but they keep
givin'…”. The search term alone results in more than 13,600,000 different URL pages on
Google; on YouTube 3,510 different results and on the MTV’s 2006 Video Music
Awards the video won the “Best Hip-Hop Video” award (November, 2009). Especially in
rap videos, actors frequently use brands and products in their song (Schemer et al. 2008).
This shows that the phenomenon of placements in music videos is not new; however, the
effectiveness of the placement is not clear. Herd (2005) has found that from 1979 to 1997
rap music song lyrics with references to alcohol increased from 8% to 44%; and brand
name mentions increased from 46% to 71%. They found that the alcohol use in rap music
was significantly more likely to result in positive than negative consequences. Their
results suggest that using rap artists to advertise alcohol beverages has helped to
introduce and normalize alcohol use as part of the lifestyles portrayed in rap music. Herd
(2005) recommends that intervention programs are used to reduce the prevalence of
alcohol in rap music;, especially for the African American youth this is necessary also
because their alcohol consumption has significantly increased compared to the young
whites in the US. Not only alcohol advertising but also for other products and or brands,
rap musicians are becoming more and more involved in the advertising business. On rap
news network (2009) a list of products and brands used by different artists are indicated,
products involved are e.g. Ford (they use for example Hip-Hop music to market their
urban generation), Volkswagen, Apple, Adidas, Nike, Reebok (Reebok has signed a
clothing and apparel deal with Hip Hop artist Daddy Yankee).
Research has shown that prominent placements - placements where the product (or other
brand identifier) is central to the action in the scene or where the product is made highly
visible by size or virtue and/or position on the screen - are more effective than subtle
placements for TV programs and movies (Brée, 1996; Gupta and Lord, 1998; Russell,
2002; La Ferle and Edwards, 2006; Blondé and Roozen, 2007). The literature of product
and brand placements used in TV-commercials and in TV programmes shows the
effectiveness of the placements and the influence of the likeability of the programme on
the effectiveness on the placements (Lehu and Bressoud, 2008; Roozen, 2008). However,
almost no research is carried out to investigate the effectiveness and the congruence of
the product placements and music and or the music videos where product placements
appear (Kocher and Lalos, 2007). What is the fit or the match between on the one hand
the products or the brand shown in the music or placements in the text of the song and on
the other hand the artist and the music genre (e.g. does a music video, the artist, the music
and the brand match together?).
2. Research Design
To analyse the influence of the music styles and of the artists on the effectiveness of the
product placements exposed in the music videos we have tried to design two different
experimental groups where the same kind of product placements e.g. prominent/subtle
and audio/visual were shown for the same brand names. Two different experimental
groups were exposed to two different music video series of three music videos. In
experimental group I the music videos of Busta Rhymes “Pass the Courvoisier”,
“Breathe” of Fabolous and “My Humps” of Black Eyed Peas were broadcasted. The
second experimental group was exposed to the music videos of 50cent “P.I.M.P”, “Do
somethin’” of Britney Spears and “Canned heat” of Jamiroquai.
In the different videos for the different experimental groups prominent, subtle, audio
only, visual only and audio-visual product placements (PP) were included. In the
experiment, the brands of the PP which were used in one exp. group were broadcasted in
a different piece of music in the other exp. group (and vice versa). By using the same
brand/products, we have tried to control for brand preferences, knowledge of
brand/product and other possible distortions because of experiences of the subjects with
the exhibited brand/product. In Figure 1 the research design of the experiment is given. A
prominent visual PP of the brand Adidas is for example broadcasted in a hip-hop rap by
fabulous in exp group I and in a pop song by Jamiroquai in the exp. group II.
Figure I Research Design
Exp. group I (N=103)
Total length 10:06 minutes Exp. group II (N=106)
Total length 11:46 minutes
Artist Music Brand PP Obser. Artist Music Brand PP Obser.
Courvoisier Prom Audio-
50 Cent Hip-
p/Rap Adidas Prom Visual
Spears Pop Louis
quai Pop Adidas Prom Visual
Louis Vuitton Prom Visual
Based on the above literature, the main research hypothesis are concerned with the
effectiveness of the prominent product placement in the music video.
H1: Prominent visual PP will result in higher brand awareness scores than subtle PP
and audio product placements.
H2: Knowledge of the music, artist and of music video will have a significant positive
influence on the awareness of the PP.
H3: The attitude towards the artist, - the music and - the video will have a sign.
positive influence on the awareness of PP and on the attitude towards the brand
Two hundred and nine students from a large University in Belgium and from the last
class of secondary school were participated in this experiment. The average age was 19
years (s.d. = 1.2 years) and 55% of our sample were men. The participants were not
previously participated in any part of the study (or studies analysing effectiveness of
advertisements or product placements, they were even not aware of the phoneme product
placement) randomly assigned to one of the two conditions. Each group was told that the
experimenter was involved in a project to assess people’s reactions to video music.
3. Research Instrument and Research Results
Immediately after exposure to total transmission (for group I in total 10:06 minutes and
for group II 11:46 minutes), the subjects were asked to fill in the questionnaire. First,
brand recall for the different video music and brand recognition (followed on the next
page) was measured. Afterwards, the attitude towards the artists was measured on a
seven-point Likert personality framework ‘scale’ with nine-items of Aaker (1997). The
research results of the Cronbach’s alpha reliability analyses and explorative factor
analyses showed that two different constructs of attitude towards the artists were
measured, the cognitive (α = 0.86) and the affective aspect (α = 0.88) of attitude towards
the artist. The attitude towards the (different) music videos was measured on a seven
point Likert scale consisting of six items (Roozen and Blondé, 2009) (α = 0.93). The
attitude towards the music played in the different videos was measured (separately) on a
seven point Likert scale consisting of seven items (Bruner, 1990; Alpert et al. 2005) (α =
0.96) and finally the attitude towards the different brands showed in the videos was
measured on a seven point Likert scale consisting of seven items (Russell, 2002) (α –
Adidas = 0.948; α – Louis Vuitton = 0.941 and α – D&G = 0.948). In addition, we have
asked if the participant already has been exposed to the different videos, what their
watching behaviour of music channels on television is, their music preferences, gender
and age. The results of exploratory factor analysis for the different constructs showed that
the various items for the different constructs loaded on one underlying factor.
11% of the sample has indicated that they never watched music channels, almost 45% of
the sample is watching - on a regular base – them (no significant differences were found
between the different experimental groups (chi-square 4.85, p-value 0.31). The
preferences for different music genres are not significant different between the
experimental groups. The average preference score for pop music is for group I 50.5%
and II 46.2% (chi-square .38, p-value 0.54). Hip-hop music has an average preference
score for group I of 29.1% and group II 28.3% (chi-square 0.02, p-value 0.90). for rap
music the average preference score for group I is 16.5% and for group II is 14.2% (chi-
square .223, p-value 0.64).
Both groups are familiar with watching music videos, some of the respondents were
already familiar with the broadcasted music videos. For group I 19.4%, 10.7% and 82.5%
have already been exposed to the music video before. For group II the percentages were
sign higher 77.4%, 67.0% and 32.1%. This could suggest that the average awareness
scores of the PP exposed in the second experimental group are higher than those in group
I because of familiarity. In Table 1 the awareness scores for the different PP exposed
during the music video for the different experimental groups are given.
In order to investigate the first hypothesis, the recall and recognition scores of the brands
were compared. Table 1 shows that the recall and recognition scores were significant
higher for the prominent PP then for the subtle PP and also that the scores were
significantly higher for visual than for audio PP. This suggests that we can accept the first
Table 1 Effectiveness scores of PP for the different brands in the different music video
Brandname: Gr I (%)
N=106 Chi-square (p-
Adidas Gr I: prom-visual-hiphop-
Recall 15.5 36.8 12.18 (<.001)
Adidas Gr II: prom-visual-pop-
Recognition 37.9 53.8 5.32 (0.021)
LV - Gr I: prom-visual-pop-video3 Recall 32.0 6.6 21.84 (<.001)
LV - Gr II: subtle-visual-pop-video2 Recognition 45.6 13.2 26.57 (<.001)
DG - Gr I: prom-audio-visual-pop-
Recall 65.0 6.6 78.02 (<.001)
DG - Gr II: prom-audio-hiphop-rap-
Recognition 73.8 17.0 68.12 (<.001)
Courv.-Gr I: prom--audiovisual-
3.9 / 11.7
Attitude towards the brand
Adidas 5.01 (1.23) 4.81 (1.18) 1.18 (0.238)
Louis Vuitton (LV) 4.73 (1.48) 4.31 (1.30) 1.47 (0.143)
Dolce&Gabbana (DG) 4.51 (1.53) 4.22 (1.31) 2.14 (0.033)
Courvoisier 3.68 (1.11)
Attitude towards the brand
Recognition Yes 5.12 (1.12) 4.90 (1.29) Recall 1.48 (0.140)
No 4.84 (1.23) 4.92 (1.14) Recogn. 0.136
Recognition Yes 4.77 (1.47) 4.71 (1.53) Recall 2.00 (0.047)
No 4.27 (1.40) 4.22 (1.36) Recogn. 2.27
Recognition Yes 4.79 (1.42) 4.65 (1.45) Recall 2.13 (0.034)
No 4.36 (1.38) 3.65 (1.34) Recogn. 1.28
Recognition Yes 4.25 (2.24) 4.57 (0.83) Recall .44 (0.690)
No 3.76 (1.06) 3.67 (1.01) Recogn. 2.72
Attitude towards the video
Adidas Recall Recognition Yes 3.75 (1.34) 3.64 (1.38) Recall 1.44 (0.152)
No 3.45 (1.31) 3.43 (1.27) Recogn 1.10
Recognition Yes 4.20 (1.23) 4.08 (1.30) Recall 1.45 (0.149)
No 3.85 (1.38) 3.72 (1.41) Recogn 1.93 (0.06)
Recognition Yes 4.25 (1.30) 4.28 (1.29) Recall 1.389 (0.17)
No 3.97 (1.40) 3.90 (1.40) Recogn. 2.052
Recognition Yes 4.32 (1.73) 4.86 (1.45) Recall .870 (.386)
No 3.69 (1.50) 4.02 (1.53) Recogn 1.831
Attitude towards the artist - affective - cognitive
Recognition Yes 4.51 (1.13) 4.34 (1.26) Recall 2.25 (.026)
No 4.08 (1.27) 4.07 (1.23) Recogn 1.55 (.123)
Cogn. Recall Recognition Yes 3.97 (1.04) 3.91 (1.22) Recall.577 (.565)
No 3.86 (1.25) 3.86 (1.17) Recogn .294 (.769)
Louis Vuitton aff
Recognition Yes 5.03 (1.24) 5.20 (1.08) Recall 1.63 (.096)
No 4.65 (1.31) 4.53 (1.35) Recogn 3.81
Cogn Recall Recognition Yes 4.30 (1.27) 4.24 (1.12) Recall 3.71 (<.001)
No 3.43 (1.34) 3.34 (1.38) Recogn 4.93
Recognition Yes 5.12 (1.26) 5.06 (1.29) Recall 1.50 (.136)
No 4.87 (1.10) 4.88 (1.03) Recogn 1.09 (.275)
Cogn Recall Recognition Yes 4.03 (3.50) 4.01 (1.27) Recall 2.95 (.004)
No 3.50 (1.21) 3.43 (1.19) Recogn 3.41 (.001)
Recognition Yes 5.20 (.72) 4.85 (1.22) Recall 1.11 (.27)
No 4.47 (1.30) 4.45 (1.30) Recogn .939 (.319)
Cogn Recall Recognition Yes 3.94 (1.52) 3.96 (1.16) Recall .812 (.431)
No 3.43 (1.24) 3.39 (1.25) Recogn.694 (.137)
Attitude towards the music
Adidas Recall Recognition Yes 3.97 (1.42) 3.86 (1.46) Recall 1.23 (0.219)
No 3.69 (1.43) 3.68 (1.40) Recogn .898
LV - Recall Recognition Yes 4.69 (1.53) 4.75 (1.23) Recall 2.65 (<.001)
No 4.02 (1.42) 3.90 (1.49) Recogn 3.95
DG - Recall Recognition Yes 4.52 (1.49) 4.46 (1.46) Recall 2.62 (<.001)
No 3.98 (1.37) 3.93 (1.37) Recogn 2.704
Recognition Yes 4.32 1.73) 4.51 (1.50) Recall .822 (.413)
No 3.69 (1.50) 3.61 (1.48) Recogn 1.983
For the second hypothesis we have analysed the knowledge of and or experience with the
music video. The awareness scores of the different brands have been investigated for the
group who has been broadcasted to the music video before and those who have seen the
music video for the first time. For the brand Adidas no significant difference was found
for recall (chi-square .196, p-value .658) and recognition (chi-square .813, p-value .367).
For the brand LV the recall score of the respondents who have been broadcasted to the
music video before was 23.7% and for the respondents who did not see the video before
the score was 5.7% (chi-square 8.34, p= 0.004). Also for the recognition score significant
differences were found (chi-square 13.40, p <.001). For the brand name D&G no
significant differences were found (recall, chi-square 1.952, p-value .162; recognition
chi-square 1.01, p=.316) and also for Courvoisier no significant differences were found
(recall chi-square 2.49, p=.115; recognition chi-square 3.297, p= .068). On the bases of
these results - where three out of four brand names have shown no significant differences
- we cannot accept hypothesis 2, which suggest that having seen the music video before
the experiment, will not have a sign positive influence on the awareness of the product
For hypothesis three we analysed the influence of attitude towards the artist, attitude
towards the video and attitude towards the music for the effectiveness of the different
product placements. The results suggest that the recall and recognition of PP is higher for
the music videos where the attitude towards the video is higher. The correlation
coefficients between the attitude towards the brand and the attitude towards the video in
which the brand is exposed as a PP is for all the brands sign positive (Adidas r = 0.19, p =
.007; LV r = .268, p <.001 and D&G r = .267, p <.001; Courvoisier r = 0.353, p <.001).
Also the attitude towards the artist has a positive influence on the awareness score of the
PP. For all brands a significantly higher score was found for the 'affective' components of
the attitude towards the artist then for the cognitive. Also the correlation between the
attitude towards the artist and the attitude towards the brand is for all the brands
significantly positive (Adi. r-affective .310, p<.001; r-cognitive .231, p<.001; LV r-
affective .314, p<.001; r-cognitive .251, p<.001; D&G r-affective = .430, p-value <.001,
r-cognitive = .314, p <.001; Courv r-affective .252, p =.010; r-cognitive275, p =.005).
The average score on the attitude towards the music is for all the brands higher for the
respondents who were aware of the PP in the music videos. For two out of four brands it
is sign higher (LV and D&G). Also the correlation coefficients between the attitude
towards the brand and the attitude towards the music have a significant high score which
also indicate that the music plays a significant role Adidas r = .190 p = .006; LV r = .362,
p <.001, D&G r = .490, p-value <.001 and Courv r = .338, p- <.001). Both for Adidas and
D&G we found a significantly higher score on awareness in the music video with pop
music compared with the rap music. Which suggest that product placements are more
effective for this genre of music instead of rap music (in Belgium). Based on the results
we can conclude that we have to accept the third hypothesis.
The research results indicate that the attitude towards the music, towards the artists
(especially the affective components) and towards the music video significantly influence
the effectiveness of PP. This suggests that the 'context' of the PP in a music video
influences the awareness scores positively. Contrary to the literature (Schemer et al.
2008), we have found that PP are more effective for pop instead of rap music. The results
also show that visual PP are more effective than audio PP in music videos and that
knowledge of the music video does not significantly influence the effectiveness. Perhaps,
based on this results - governments should invest in music videos of 'popular' pop artists
(with a high score on affective components) to reach the youth population to reduce
excessive alcohol consumption, and make promotion of healthy, sporty brand names and
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