Advances in Management and Applied Economics

Hidden Advertising and Firm size: the Symmetry Effect

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  • Abstract


    Economists and marketing scholars have devoted considerable attention to studying the underlying factors, diverse forms, and potential consequences of embedded advertising, which involves blending marketing communications with media content in a way that appears non-promotional. In most countries, the disclosure of embedded advertising to consumers is required by law. However, instances of inadequate disclosure are frequent. Our study examines the factors that influence hidden advertising, which refers to embedded advertising without proper disclosure, by analysing the characteristics of cases handled by the Italian Competition Authority between 1993 and 2022. Among the factors considered, firm size emerges as the sole consistent determinant affecting the likelihood of non-compliance. When the media outlet and the advertiser possess similar sizes, the probability of infringement tends to be higher.


    JEL classification numbers: D18, L51, L82, M37.

    Keywords: Embedded advertising, Hidden advertising, Mass Media, Media regulation, Consumer protection, Empirical analysis.