There are two main findings from the 11,300 interviews conducted in 20 countries spanning North America, Asia Pacific and Europe: younger audiences respond better to this kind of marketing in movies; and some regions—particularly Asia Pacific—are more receptive than others to product placement in films.
"In Asia there is a younger audience which welcomes the opportunity to get closer to the Western world," according to Stephan Bruneau, managing partner of MEC in the U.K. and head of MediaLab EMEA. "This explains why there is more acceptance of product placement in the region."
Mexico (53%) topped the list of countries where consumers would consider trying brands advertised in this way, followed by Singapore (49%), India (35%) and Hong Kong (33%).
The U.S. registered midway in the table of nations with 26%. Bruneau said, "As long as it doesn't take over a film, Americans accept product placement as part of life. But they don't necessarily see it as more powerful than TV or outdoor advertising."
Overall, on a global basis, the study found 61% of film fans said that they noticed brands embedded in movies, compared with 62% of those who noticed traditional TV commercials.
France (8%), the Netherlands (9%), Finland and Denmark (both 14%) objected most to product placement, believing that it interfered with the filmmaking process, although they accept its importance in funding a movie.
%%PULLQUOTE_RIGHT%% In all countries, 16-to-24-year-olds were more likely to notice product placement (57% vs. 49% for 35-to-44-year-olds and 43% for 45-to-54-year-olds)and to consider trying the products they see in films (41% vs. 28% for 35-to-44 year-olds and 22% for 45-to-54-year-olds). "This generation is fascinated by film and celebrity lifestyles and has grown up with different types of communications. They see it as part of everyday life," Bruneau said.
Nokia's tie-in with the original "Matrix" film in 1999, according to the study, was successful. It worked so well that when Samsung stepped in as the wireless telephone brand partner for last year's "Matrix Reloaded," 31% still believed that Nokia was present whereas only 21% linked Samsung to the movie.
"It shows that if it's done well, product placement has a long-term effect,"Bruneau added, "but people will shut down after a while if there's too much of it— 'Minority Report' used so many different brands that no one knew what was where."