Product Placement in Social Games: Qualitative Research Insights


Purpose: The chapter examined the consumer meanings of product placements embedded in social games in different cultural contexts.

Methodology/approach: The theoretical perspective guiding the study is phenomenology, and the essay assignment and in-depth interviews were used to collect data.

Findings: The chapter was based on two qualitative research projects. Findings revealed that consumers in both countries appreciated certain characteristics of product placement in the context of social game, such as subtleness (naturalness) and unobtrusiveness (users’ freedom of choice and proactive choice); consumers’ real-world consumption in both countries seems to be more or less influenced by the product placement in social games; and while the young American consumers didn’t construct specific meanings for Facebook, the Chinese white-collar consumers actively created meanings for the Chinese social-network site.

Social implications: The chapter offered some thick descriptions and in-depth analyses of product placements in social games in different cultural contexts from consumers’ experiential perspectives to enrich our theoretical understanding of product placement in the new media environment as well as to add valuable insights to the research literature on new advertising formats in general.

Originality/value: No study to date has been conducted to explore the product placement in social games in different cultural contexts. The study fills the research gap by exploring US college-aged consumers’ and Chinese white-collar consumers’ interpretations of product placements in the context of social games.


Arts, Languages, and Philosophy


Chapter 15

Keywords and Phrases

Product placement, social game, social media, qualitative research

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


Document Type

Book - Chapter

Document Version


File Type





© 2015 Emerald Publishing Limited, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Dec 2015

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