Experiential Product Placements in Virtual Environments:
Presence, Information Processing and Advertising Effectiveness
College of Communications
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA, USA
The series of four experiments proposed for reporting are based on empirical findings from an ongoing research program studying information processing consequences of presence in virtual environments and possible applications to advertising effectiveness. Findings from experiments varying different experimental instructions (advertising forewarning, no forewarning), task situations (“expressive”, “search”, “utilitarian”), content (“soothing”, “arousing”) and formal-technological (desktop-Web-based VE, Large display VE; mono, stereo 3D; immersion level) features of Virtual Environments are reported, in order to test for a proposed two-step theoretical model of persuasion-related effects1: more presence leads to more arousal and affect, which has a subsequent impact on depth of processing, making the user more likely to process information affectively, more implicitly and heuristically, with moderating effects on various advertising-related outcomes: less ad recall, but more positive brand attitudes and favorable purchase intentions. Implications for the design, applications and further research of communication processes are drawn. 1 An earlier version of this model is currently in print in G. Riva, F. Davide (Eds.), Being There: concepts, effects and measurement of user presence in synthetic environments (Emerging Communication Book Series, Vol. 4). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: IOS Press. Preliminary findings from Experiment 1 were accepted for presentation at the Fifth Presence Workshop, Porto, Portugal, October 9-11, 2002. However, due to the impossibility of the author to travel at the time of the conference and several technological mishaps in the design process, the completed findings have not yet been presented. The present submission extends the model by adding several variables to the original version and reporting results from Experiments 2-4 (available in early Spring 2003). Several other substantive improvements are noted.