Product Placement Effects: Product-Character Associations (PCAs) in Sitcoms

B. Stern, C. A. RUSSELL

Advances in Consumer Research

2005, vol. 32, pp.233-235

Departments: Marketing

The paper presents a new model of product placement effects in television sitcoms--the Product-Character Association model (PCA)-to explain character-driven influences on viewers' attitudes to placed products. The character-centered model advances our understanding of placement effects by emphasizing the centrality of characters as drivers of consumer response. In this way, it extends prior product placement research on plot, in which findings indicated that a placed product's high versus low connection to the plot is the driver of persuasion (Russell 2002). We propose that expanding the concept of plot to include characters, which accords with Aristotle's definition of plot as-"characters in action" (Fergusson 1961, p. 82),-leads to an enriched understanding of attitudes toward placed products. From this perspective, attitudes are formed on the basis of viewer reactions to characters and perceptions of product-character associations.