Friday, August 31, 2012

Advertising and New Media - Convergence Essay


   The recent phenomenon of digital media convergence is developing at unprecedented rates. As a result, new media forms are evolving and drastically changing the way in which information is communicated between individuals, and broadcasted (Manovich, 2001). In response advertisers are changing the ways in which they engage audiences and adapting their marketing processes to suit current convergent culture. 

At its most basic level convergence is a fusing process. In terms of digital media it represents the manner in which technological, cultural and industrial media forms and practices merge (Jenkins, 2006). The merging digitalised landscape of the modern world (Keith, 2012) accounts for the radically different opportunities and challenges provided to advertisers through revolutionised communications mediums, and it can therefore be argued that developments in advertising have paralleled the revolutionary convergence of digital media. 

   Even a small comparison of media and advertising techniques historically reveals that convergence has forced Marketers to adapt pre-established notions and techniques of advertising. The reason for this, is that as media changes it shapes the development of advertising and redefines consumer-business interactions. This is most notable in the convergence of televisison and internet (Web 2.0) as well as the rise of social networking. 

Social media sites and Web 2.0 allows businesses to create highly personalised promotions and brand messages (Khamis, 2012) across a range of platforms and this can be illustrated thorough the long established Coca Cola Company.

Advertisements on television and radio, as is seen within this Coca Cola advertisement, were previously a 'push' form. That is, marketers would create a generalised message about a product and that would be disseminated and 'pushed' upon consumers. When digital media remained a relatively new and separate form of media Coca Cola advertised to forcefully persuade its audiences. The message 'Enjoy Ice-Cold Coke, right now!' would likely have been re-iterated across print media forms in the hope that the message would be accepted by a large percentage of its audience.

Now, businesses have adapted to the 'pull' of convergent forms of media in which consumers seek out advertisement and initiate further interaction with business messages. For example recent television advertisements by Coca Cola developed for the Olympic Games reflect the convergence of media and the now common 'pull' aspect of the Advertising environment. The ad aims to create a video that can exploit social media platforms. Noted in in two minutes of advertising space (with little actually said about the product) ending with the message 'See the full story on Facebook'.

Why? New media accounts for the individualised nature of audiences as well as the desire for the personal when it comes to advertising (Khamis, 2012). Coca Cola's Facebook page and websites are highly interactive and both promotions and brand messages can be sought to suit personalised needs and tastes. As a page described as '… a collection of your stories, showing how people from around the world have helped make Coke into what it is today', the Coca Cola Facebook page facilitates interactions between 50million consumers and the Coca Cola company.
These post viewership interactions, and personalised means of advertising were not possible in a pre-convergent world. Coca Cola therefore shows that Advertising has changed over time, and has paralleled the convergence of digital media to ensure Advertising campaigns remain effective in a shifting media environment. 

   'New media technologies have radically multiplied the spaces and opportunities for the production, distribution and consumption of media content' (Khamis, 2012). That is, convergence is expanding the possibilities for Advertising and for media in increasingly innovative and unique ways. 
A large opportunity created by digital convergence is the expansion of the range of media platforms available to Marketers. Currently New media forms are utilised to launch and maintain advertising campaigns and interact with consumers in seemingly endless ways. 

Looking once more to the Coca Cola Company; Coke seeks out and interacts with its consumers through Television, a range of Social Media including Facebook, Youtube and Twitter (Twitter - Coca Cola,  Youtube Coca Cola ), search engine optimisation and AdWords, Product Applications (Coca Cola Applications ), Membership Subscriptions to pages and promotions… the list goes on.  

The significance of this contact and extensive interaction (not solely for Coca Cola) are 1) That these methods of Advertising reflect consumer behaviour to actively use and embrace new media networks, and subsequently that successful businesses needs to reflect what consumers use and where. 
2) That technology and digital media are providing Advertisers with the ability to contact their consumers seemingly at any time and at any place, as well as gather detailed information about consumers (Spurgeon, 2008). 
3) In many instances it provides scaffolds for user generated content which, when spread through media networks, are highly cost effective (Sheehan & Morrison, 2009). The Youtube link embedded below was a fan-based advertisement created for the Apple iTouch. Its popularity was such that Apple executives located the creator and with his assistance developed Television ads for associated products based on the Video.

Overall, this reveals that New Media provides the opportunity to very accurately and effectively produce and distribute Advertising to targeted consumers. It also redefines the way consumers engage with products and brands from spectatorship to active involvement. These changes have only been possible with recent developments in convergence, therefore Advertising has paralleled New Media development. 

   Despite the opportunities made available through converging media and the developments that have resulted in advertising, it can be said that these changes have been necessitated in part by the challenges of convergent media. Through convergence consumers have been granted the power to determine where, how, when, why, and what is consumed (Khamis, 2012) which provides a number of challenges to advertisers.

Firstly consumers of the modern day are highly individualised and separated. As such advertisers must now reach audiences that are increasingly fragmented and flexible (Khamis, 2012). Users have the ability to search for advertising and entertainment content they desire, therefore failing to suit individualised desires renders a business ineffective. 
The largest complication of advertising using New Media is the difficulty of attracting consumers to one specific piece of content when limitless options for advertising content and entertainment are easily accessible.

With these issues it is clear that creativity is needed. Consumers will always appreciate different, exciting or confronting content (Pagani, 2003. Khamis, 2012) - and this allows businesses to overcome challenges of new media and cut through advertising clutter. For example, take the highly competitive beauty product industry. There are constant streams of beauty ideals across a variety of platforms and often in highly similar ways. In 2006 Dove released its 'Real Beauty' campaign.

It attributed huge success as a unique, clever, and very different Film Advertisement.
In that way the challenges of New Media spurn and necessitate adaptation and change within Advertising.  

   It is obvious that developments in advertising have followed the path of converging Digital Media. Convergence has enabled the shift of advertising from 'push' to 'pull' methods of attracting consumer bases, and the challenges and opportunities presented by New Media have shaped the progression of Digital Advertising. Therefore as Media forms continue to develop, it can be deduced that advertising will continually mirror this progression. 



  •  Khamis, S. (2012) Advertising and New Media, MAS110. Macquarie University, August 22 2012.
  • Tulloch, R. (2012). Digital Convergence, MAS110. Macquarie University, August 8 2012.


  • Dwyer, T. (2010). Media Convergence. Berkshire: McGraw Hill. pp. 1-23.
  • Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press. pp. 1-24.
  • Spurgeon, C. (2008) Advertising and New Media. Oxon: Routledge. pp.24-45.
  • Sheehan, K. and Morrison, D. (2009) Beyond convergence: Confluence culture and the role of the advertising agency in a changing world. [online]. Available at: [Accessed August 12,  2012]


  • Manovich, L. (2001). The Language of New Media. 1st ed. Cambridge: MIT Press. pp. 19-61.
  • Pagani, M. (2003) Multimedia and Interactive Digital TV: Managing the Opportunities created by Digital Convergence. 1st ed. United Kingdom: IRM Press. Chapters 1-2.

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