Textual Analysis on the Study of How Product Placements Create Layers of Meaning

Lights, Camera, Product Placements!: A Textual Analysis on the Study of How Product Placements Create Layers of Meaning in ABS-CBN’s I Love Betty La Fea


This qualitative study aimed to find out how product placements create layers of meaning in the teleserye I Love Betty La Fea, a franchise of the Columbian series Yo Soy Betty La Fea aired on ABS-CBN last 2008. To find out the layers of meaning created by product placements in I Love Betty La Fea, the researcher purposively selected the first fifty episodes of the teleserye and performed content analysis and textual analysis.

The researcher employed Roland Barthe’s Denotation and Connotation Model as a guide in this research. The Denotation and Connotation Model facilitated in identifying the surface and associated meanings of product placements. The model was used to describe the functional value and exchange value of product placements in the teleserye. Furthermore, the theory of Structuralism was also used as a lens in the study. The theory states that structures are “complex whole capable of analysis into its constituent elements” (Sturrock, 2003). For this study, the researcher situated the culture and mass media as the structures governing the meaning production of product placements.

Results showed that product placements do create layers of meaning in the teleserye. This was shown through incorporating the functional and exchange values of products in the dialogues in order to persuade the viewers towards consumption. Aside from this, clusters of meaning were also identified in the product placements. Clusters of meaning comprised of the seven observed themes conveyed by product placements in the teleserye. These themes were: high regard for beauty, the search for love, strong family orientation, the social value of eating, cooking as domestic labor and consumption, household as a unit of production and consumption, and stereotyping. These themes were rooted and bounded under the governing structures of culture and mass media. The influence of culture and mass media contributed in creating a structured reality for viewers in relation to product consumption.

Lastly, the researcher concluded that product placements presented its overt economic function in the teleserye: to sell the products and gain profit out of it. The teleserye packaged and presented these product placements in a way that it could fulfill the “needs” of the viewers and lure them towards consumption. It was evident that the culture of capitalism was perpetuated in the teleserye.

For future studies, the researcher recommends the use of Agenda Setting Theory to provide the perspectives of how media practitioners deliberate and promote the importance of product placements in the teleserye. Moreover, audience reception analysis can also be done on future researchePrs in order to find out how television viewers perceive the meanings portrayed by product placements. This can attest if television viewers understand the messages that advertisers and media practitioners convey to the public.

Alfanza, M. (2011). Lights, Camera, Product Placements!: a textual analysis on the study of how product placements create layers of meaning in ABS-CBN’s I Love Betty La Fea. Unpublished undergraduate thesis, University of the Philippines Diliman College of Mass Communication. Key words: product placements, teleserye, Betty La Fea

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Subject Index : Product placement in mass media, Television programs--Philippines