Consumers know their placement

Most remember Tyson's 'Makeover'; on 'Apprentice,' honey sticks

Tyson Foods' integration on ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" this season and Sue Bee Honey and Soft Scrub placements on NBC's "The Apprentice: Los Angeles" last season were the most effective product integrations on television in 2007 based on their positive impact on brand opinion, according to IAG Research.

With a brand-opinion index of 394, the Tyson placement — in which the company provided a year's supply of meat to a family and donated 20,000 pounds of meat to their community — improved viewer opinion of the brand nearly four times more than the average product placement, which scores 100.

When "Apprentice" contestants were challenged to harvest, bottle and sell Sue Bee Honey in a supermarket in February, the integration improved viewer opinion of the brand with a score of 368. And when contestants produced webisodes to advertise Soft Scrub a month later, the integration netted a score of 332 on IAG's brand-opinion index.

Combined, NBC Universal's NBC and Bravo networks accounted for eight of the top 10 most effective integrations in 2007. While integrations generally are believed to be more effective when at least one commercial runs during the shows in which the placements appear, only six of the top 10 integrations aired together with spots.

"Based on years of data collection, IAG has found that pairing a product placement with a regular commercial typically leads to greater recall for both; they help reinforce one another," said David Kaplan, senior vp research and product development at IAG. "However, if done well, placements can successfully stand on their own."

In 2006, the top integrations on IAG's brand-opinion index scored 330, 325 and 304, suggesting that networks, production companies and advertisers might be improving their use of brand integrations as they gain experience.

"More and different advertisers are getting involved with integrations, all in an effort to reach viewers who are increasingly tuning out of traditional ad messages," Kaplan said. "Those advertisers who have learned what works are producing more effective integrations than ever before, but there are still plenty of brands in the experimentation phase and not everything is working."

In another measurement of product placement impact, IAG ranked the top integrations — but only those airing adjacent to commercials — that generated the highest brand recall in 2007. The top three were Bluefly.com in Bravo's "Project Runway," with a score of 195 on IAG's brand-recall index; Jeep in the CW's "Gilmore Girls" with 194; and Ford in CBS' "Survivor: Fiji" with 183. The average product placement score on the brand-recall index — which measures the percentage of TV viewers who can recall within 24 hours the product or brand they saw integrated within the course of normal TV viewing — also is 100.

Of the six integrations that aired adjacent to commercials on the top 10 list of placements that improved brand opinion, only Soft Scrub's "Apprentice" made it on to IAG's top 10 brand recall list as well, coming in sixth with a score of 180.
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