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Branded Entertainment and New Product Placement Modalities in the Creative Industries

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  • Full or part time
    Dr F Kerrigan
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The creative industries are experiencing a period of transformation due to developments in the digital age. This has challenged and in some cases completely transformed existing business models. As a result of the intersection of traditional and new media we are witnessing increasing levels of convergence (Jenkins, 2006) whereby content flows across creative producers which in some cases are blurring the lines between new product development and promotion. In the film industry, we have seen an evolution of product placement activities, which traditionally consisted of placement of products, services, places and so on within an existing film for promotional purposes. However, recently, we have seen this evolve into greater emphasis of outside film placements, with key elements of the film being deployed in creating promotional materials for the promoted brand. The result is a benefit for the brand and the film where both are essentially co-branded. Another innovation is in the area of branded entertainment, where brands ‘sponsor’ the production of a film and aim to benefit from the publicity gained from this sponsorship. Both models are in a period of innovation and experimentation, which has significant theoretical and practical implications. Theoretically, the language and models we have available to understand traditional product placement modalities is not sufficient to understand these new developments. Practically, marketing publications such as Adweek have highlighted that Branded Content is revolutionising both marketing and wider entertainment industries, while acknowledging that ‘the definition of branded entrainment is still vague at best’ (Arhio and Raunio, 2015). While these innovations are breaking down structural barriers between new product development and promotion, they require new theoretical frameworks to be developed. This warrants further study and fits within the existing research areas of the proposed supervision team.

The aims of this joint PHD are threefold:
-To facilitate the development of theoretical frameworks suitable for understanding and developing research into branded entertainment and external product placement as new promotional modes.
-To explore the dynamic and interactive nature of the concept of customer/brand engagement in co-creating customer experience and value in an increasingly complex media environment.
-To facilitate broader collaboration between the University of Birmingham and University of Nottingham in order to produce joint publications, collaborative research seminars and knowledge transfer.

This project will be funded through an ESRC bursary through the collaborative Doctoral Training agreement between University of Birmingham and University of Nottingham and the student will benefit from being embedded within these 2 well-established marketing departments. A full ESRC studentship includes the full cost of tuition fees, plus an annual tax free maintenance stipend of £14,057.00 p.a.

Academic eligibility
• You should hold (or expect to receive) a good honours degree at first or upper second class level
• If applying for an award without an undergraduate degree, you may be accepted for doctoral funding if you have achieved a Master’s degree

In order to apply, please complete the application form and provide certified copies of your degree transcripts. Applicants must also provide two written academic references, which must be sent directly by the referee to the University. References provided by the applicant are not acceptable. Please read the guidance notes before completing your application form.

The completed application, documents, and references must be submitted to the Research Council Studentship Team by 16.00 on Friday 19 February 2016.

Application Process:
Formal applications can be completed online: You should quote Project Reference number JNT06 “Branded Entertainment and New Product Placement Modalities in the Creative Industries” with Dr Finola Kerrigan as principal supervisor in order for your application to be considered.

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr Finola Kerrigan ([Email Address Removed]) or Dr Sally McKechnie ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

Residential eligibility
• Home (UK) students are eligible for a full award from the ESRC
• EU students who have lived in the UK continuously for the three years prior to the start date of the award (i.e. 1 October 2016) are eligible for a full award
• EU students who have not lived in the UK for the three years prior to the start date of the award are eligible for fees only funding (i.e. no maintenance stipend)


Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, New York: NYU Press.

Arhio, T. and Raunio, J.M. (2015) “If You’re Not at Least Thinking About Branded Content, You’re Missing Out”, Adweek, April 30th 2015.

Kerrigan, F. (2010). Film Marketing, Elsevier, Oxford.

Tynan, C.; McKechnie, S.; Chhuon, C. (2010), "Co-creating Value for Luxury Brands", Journal of Business Research, Vol.63 (11), pp. 1156-1263, 10.1016/j.jbusres.2009.10.012.

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Business and Management Studies?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 53.10

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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