Cross-cultural challenges in product placement

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The purpose of this research is to examine US and Korean college student consumers' attitudes towards product placements in three different media (films, TV shows, and songs), and product placement acceptability based on media genre and product type. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The current study employed a self-administered online survey of 471 college students in the USA and South Korea. Findings ‐ Korean young adult consumers express greater ethical concerns about product placement, particularly in TV shows, and more strongly support governmental regulation than their American counterparts. In contrast, American young adults respond more favorably to product placement's enhancement of setting realism than Korean consumers. Findings also reveal cultural differences in product placement acceptability across a range of media genres and product/service types. Research limitations/implications ‐ Only two countries were used as a proxy to characterize their respective cultural values and levels of contextuality. In addition, respondents are limited geographically to southwestern and southeastern regions in the USA, and to Korea's capital, Seoul. Practical implications ‐ Despite the widespread use of standardized product placement practices in different cultural settings, it is recommended, from the findings of this study, that managers should take caution when considering TV for placement in Korea when targeting young adults given their relatively strong concerns regarding the practice. Specific and usable information regarding appropriateness of genre and product type is also provided. Originality/value ‐ This exploratory cross-cultural study builds upon and contributes to previous work by serving as a quantitative comparison of attitudinal responses to product placement across three media in the USA and Korea.
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