Are product placements ethical?

In a US study, a sample of 3,340 consumers was surveyed to measure attitudes towards ethical standards of product placement in films, support for regulation of this practice and the level of acceptability for various types of products to be placed. The study was based upon an online survey administered via an access panel. Potential participants were randomly selected from the panel, with a total of 18,640 active panel members receiving a survey invitation via email. Among them, 2,859 panel members completed the survey. Two weeks later, a reminder email was sent to the remaining 15,781 members and a total of 3,722 completed the survey. The final sample size (n = 3,340) reflected a reduction in the initial number of participants eliminated due to incomplete surveys, and represented a response rate of almost 20%. This was in line with reviews of online panel response rates (typically in the 16–25% range).2 Among the 3,340 participants, 64.6% were female and 34.3% were male. Approximately 28% of the participants were aged 26–35, followed by those aged 36–45 (27.0%) and 46–55 (23.1%).
In order to check the validity and representativeness of the sample, researchers compared their profile with the US national population, US cinema-going audiences, TV-viewing audiences and videotape/DVD film renters.

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