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Digital Media

Transformations in Human Communication

Edited By Paul Messaris and Lee Humphreys

The age of digital media has given rise to a new social world. It is a world in which the transmission of information from the few to the many is steadily being supplanted by the multi-directional flow of facts, lies, and ideas. It is a world in which hundreds of millions of people are voluntarily depositing large amounts of personal details in publicly accessible databases. It is a world in which interpersonal relationships are increasingly being conducted in the virtual sphere. Above all, this is a world that seems to be veering off in unpredictable ways from the trends of the immediate past. This book is a probing examination of that world, and of the changes that it has ushered into our lives.

In more than thirty essays by a wide range of scholars, this must-have second edition examines the impact of digital media in six areas – information, persuasion, community, gender and sexuality, surveillance and privacy, and cross-cultural communication – and offers an invaluable guide for students and scholars alike. With one exception, all essays are completely new or revised for this volume.

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Chapter 8: The Role of Product Placement in the Digital Transformation of Persuasive Communication (Cristel Antonia Russell)


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The Role of Product Placement in the Digital Transformation of Persuasive Communication

Cristel Antonia Russell

As programming content is increasingly consumed via digital media platforms, product placements are playing an increasingly strategic role in marketers’ persuasive communications campaigns. Today, it is almost impossible to watch entertainment programs without spotting a brand in their content. Product placements are everywhere, from digital books to video games, movies, television series, and music videos. Digital platforms are the fastest growing media for product placement (PQ Media, 2016). The placement of brands within digital media content grew by 35.8% in 2014, followed by placements in recorded music and related music videos of leading popular artists, driving 15.9% growth (PQ Media, 2016).

Though TV remains the world’s most consumed medium, the viewing of first-run programs on TV is declining in favor of time-shifted video through digital media: DVRs, video-streaming subscriptions, or other options (PQ Media, 2016). According to a 2015 Deloitte study, 55% of all TV viewing is time-shifted, and this practice is especially popular among Millennials (born in the 1980s and 1990s), with 72% reported to engage in on-demand TV viewing via digital platforms (Neff, 2016). In parallel, the largest product placement growth is in entertainment content favored by younger audiences, who comprise the most avid consumers of digital media. Millennials are driven to digital technologies and increasingly consume entertainment on mobile devices; 99% of Americans aged 8–18 years have a...

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