Thursday, August 30, 2012

Assessment One: Online Essay

 Assessment One: Online Essay

Elle Bailey - 42882311

In a world of advanced digital technology, increasing customer awareness and their assess instant information and entertainment , the days of old media advertising are numbered. Online content is increasingly available on devices such as smart phones, tablets and laptops as is the ability to connect to the Internet at cafes, on trains and through service providers. The convergence of traditional media onto the Internet makes it instantly possible to watch, listen and read on the one device where there would have been three previously.  Media and advertising companies must change to keep up with rapid expansion of new, digital media and decreasing marketing opportunities in older traditional types of media. Product placement and branded content is crucial as is the way it is delivered. As consumers get savvy about what images and messages they are being exposed to, advertisers must find a way to connect to these audiences in order to sell a product. The convergence of advertising and entertainment created marketing opportunities in a new media world and the success of luxury car company BMW is an early and dramatic foray into branded entertainment.

As more and more information becomes available online, consumers use search engines to narrow down the information, selecting form a range of results that appeal to them including testimonials, gossip or fan media and web based advertising (Spurgeon, 2008). As the online presence around the world grows, consumers are less likely to be taken in by traditional advertisement.  The increasing amount of content uploaded online is resulting in audiences which are more fragmented than ever before.  Consumers are able to watch their favourite programs when they want without being subjected to TV timetables and advertisements (Sheenan and Morrison, 2009). They can search for, listen to and buy music from home without listening to radio ads or walking into a record shop. Current affairs and breaking news stories are instantly available for reading for free on a website than out of a newspaper. Sheenan and Morrison (2009) write that digitization is the biggest threat to traditional media and therefore the advertising industry. As audiences move online, they are less exposed to traditional media and the old mass audiences are becoming fragmented. The problem for large companies is how to break through to and sell to these largely “distracted, distrustful and disinterested consumers, avoid(ing) being a cause of irritation or interruption” (Spurgeon, 2008 pg 27).

In answer to the online consumer presence and convergence, advertisers are starting to embed their brand creatively in online media experiences that consumers will actively seek out (Spurgeon, 2008). Sheenan and Morrison (2009) suggest the consumers are increasingly reliant on word of mouth, recommendations from friends or family and reviews of products when making decisions about products, so creating an advertising campaign that encourages consumers to actively seek it out would result in it spread through social media and online interactions. Hanna, Rohm and Crittenden (2011) write that consumers are trustful of their own opinion and that of their online peers and media advertising is no longer about just about reach but capturing the attention of consumers through experiences, which are then able to be shared.  Spurgeon (2008) explains the change in brand advertising by large national and multinational advertisers as a meeting of Madison and Vine, a reference to Madison Avenue, New York and Vine Street in Hollywood. The convergence of these traditionally separate industries, of advertisement and entertainment is a major development for the creative approach to advertising (Spurgeon, 2008). Advertising and more importantly, product placement or branded content, through movies, games, music, live sport and personal entertainment has increased in recent years (Spurgeon, 2008) becoming ‘branded entertainment’

High production values funded by the entertainment and advertising industries allow for high quality branded entertainment but leave little room for funds for distribution, through traditional media (Spurgeon, 2008). This is not the case for Internet distribution or release. Luxury car company BMW is an example of successful branded entertainment. In 2000, research showed of their target audience, affluent, high achieving males, 85% researched BMW cars online before walking into a showroom. BMW decided to capitalise on this and released a series of short films, directed by a few of the world’s highest acclaimed directors. They were given large budgets full creative license. The films ran for around ten minutes and were released exclusively online (Hanna, Rohm and Crittenden, 2011).  The films received 11 million views in the first few months and sales for 2001 increased 12.5% and 17.2% in 2002 compared to 2001. The campaign went viral, spread through links, email, word of mouth and social networking, the film having been viewed 45 million times by midway 2003. It brought BMW into contact with their desired audience and the film’s widespread success a tribute to the power of the new media and convergence of the entertainment and advertising industries.

The advent of the digital age and the continued convergence of media onto the Internet is forcing large media and advertising companies to look for new ways to connect, interest and capture audiences. Consumers are more connected and more technology savvy than ever before, creating a challenge for companies that want to advertise their brand to larger, warier audiences. The convergence of advertising and entertainment to create specifically branded entertainment opens paths for big companies to reach large audiences through the Internet. The Madison and Vine approach by BMW has successfully demonstrated the power of the Internet in distributing an ad campaign.


Hanna R., Rohm A., and Crittenden L., (2011) We’re all connected: The power of the social media ecosystem, Business Horizons, Volume 54, pp 265-273

Sheehan K. and Morrison, D. (2009) Beyond convergence: Confluence culture and the role of the advertising agency in a changing world. First Monday 

Spurgeon, C. (2008) Advertising and New Media. Ozonn Routledge, pp 24 - 45

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