Cigarette Smoking in the Movies: The Influence of Product Placement on Attitudes Toward Smoking and Smokers1


  • 1

    We wish to thank Erika Wall for her help in the data-collection process.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Bryan Gibson, Department of Psychology, Sloan Hall 101, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859. e-mail:


Product placement in which actors use products on screen to promote those products, has received little research attention. The current research examines the effects of cigarette use in movies on various attitudes toward smoking and to ward the actor using the product. Participants (N= 120) viewed a 20-min clip of Die Hard; half viewing a clip in which the lead character smoked, and half viewing a clip in which the lead character did not smoke. Nonsmokers who were low in need for cognition and who saw the lead character smoking reported more favorable attitudes about smoking. In addition smokers who saw the character smoking rated him as more appealing, while nonsmokers' ratings of the character were not affected by his smoking. Results are discussed in terms of the role of the placement of cigarettes in movies in the development of important smoking-related attitudes.