Implicit consumer behavior and Product Placement

Jens Kuerschner
8 min readJun 25, 2014
Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

In this post, I want to provide you more (scientific) details on how consumer behavior is linked to the implicit memory of Product Placement.

Implicit memory — the background

What exactly the implicit memory is, was very controversial in the past (Richardson Klavehn and Bjork 1988, Schacter 1987). Basically it was discussed, whether it is just a lower degree of activation or even a second memory system besides the explicit memory (Küst 1998, Shapiro and Krishnan 2001). Based on recent findings in brain research (Deecke 2012) the theory of multiple memory systems seems to be more likely. The implicit memory primarily includes subconsciously processed information (Küst 1998) and thus correspondingly more content than the explicit memory (Graf and Masson 1993). Accordingly, the implicit memory is an automatic, subconscious and unintentional process that handles perceived information (Coates, Butler, and Berry 2004; Schacter 1987; Shapiro and Krishnan 2001). The knowledge that is associated with the implicit memory is mainly used in everyday situations and decisions, such as low involvement, pulse or emotionally charged purchase decisions (Krishnan and Chakravarti 1999; Shapiro and Krishnan 2001). There, the conscious collection and analysis of relevant information is relative to “expensive” for the consumer. That’s why the implicit memory is much more relevant for the decision (Coates et al. 2004). Taking a closer look at the implicit memory, it must further distinguished in terms of perceptual and conceptual types (Roediger 1990). While some research assumes that subconscious cognition is reduced to perceptual processing of the stimuli (Janiszewski 1993; Shapiro, MacInnis, and Heckler 1997; Shapiro and MacInnis 1992), there is also evidence that at the same time, even a semantic analysis of the stimulus can take place in a given context (Shapiro 1999).

When and how it works

Generally, the implicit memory of a stimulus is indicated by an increase in performance in tasks that do not require conscious recollection of past events (Coates et al. 2004). Thus, consumers might not remember a product placement, but experience a change in terms of attitude towards the placement (Cowley and Barron 2008) or decisions (Kardes 1986. Shapiro et al…

Jens Kuerschner

Tech Founder, Leader, End-to-End Product/Program Manager, Full-Stack Developer, Marketing and Digitalization expert. 🚀