Friday, August 31, 2012

Essay 1: Digital Media Convergence – Advertising and New Media

Essay 1: Digital Media Convergence – Advertising and New Media 

Jannat Dawra (42457300)

Digital media convergence is a lucrative and ever-changing concept, especially in the area of advertising and new media. Media convergence has taken the entire world by storm over the last 10 or so years. The advent of the internet and technology such as smartphones allow us to be constantly connected with others, meaning that advertisers can potentially have a global audience if their market their products right. But advertising is not the only way that consumers find out about a product anymore. With the advent of new media, people can see reviews on blogs, videos and even on social networking sites, allowing word of mouth to be more influential and easily spread than ever before. People not only have more choices than before, they are now able to express it to others on a global scale. Marketers realise that with digital media convergence, one bad experience can lead to a loss of many potential customers, and one successful campaign can spread through the masses like wildfire, something that was unheard of only 2 decades ago.

Advertising within new media has made it even more important to be able to cut through the clutter of the barrage of advertisements that consumers face each day. A campaign must be unique and also be able to set itself apart from its competitors in an effective and efficient way, as this can make or break a brand. BMW’s short films for YouTube starring Clive Owen were an expensive and risky marketing campaign, but succeeded due to their originality and ability to connect with the technologically experienced and affluent target market. Advertising through social media also allows individuals to have direct contact with companies, who can respond quickly and build trust easily, as consumers are not just being fed information or being told what to do (Spurgeon, 2008). Consumers now have more power than ever before, and this is evident through the merging of media avenues and platforms into one interconnected network.

Technological advancements play a significant and pivotal role in the convergence of media, as there are more avenues and possibilities for consumers to view and share information. Media can be filtered and what individuals receive as a result tends to be extremely personalised and “domesticated”, finding a place in consumers lives (Kilker, 2003). Mobile advertising, for example, is a major area that has a lot of potential. It keeps people connected to the rest of the world constantly – information is available as it happens, and advertising can be more easily personalised (Sinclair &Wilken, 2009). The use of new media is, however, fraught with ethical and moral considerations. Online content can be a grey area as laws are harder to enforce and many companies tend to employ people to act as consumers online and thus influence brand equity and awareness (Sheehan & Morrison, 2009).

Viral advertising is a relatively new phenomenon, and can make a seemingly simple campaign larger than life. A fitting example of this is Carlton Draught’s “Big Ad”, which had such phenomenal success on an online platform that the TVC budget had to be reduced so as to avoid overexposure. It has since had millions of views on YouTube, however this doesn’t necessarily translate into better sales or a larger market share. Lee (2007) illustrated that an ad can be extremely successful, but the corresponding sales can be extremely underwhelming, as the main product or message is drowned out by the distractions in the advertisement, in this case the references to Lord of the Rings in a comedic and light-hearted manner.

Carlton Draught's "Big Ad" - viral but not necessarily successful.

We have seen through many real world examples such as BMW’s short films, “cross media advertising” can be beneficial because it reaches target markets through many avenues, and thus increase sales dramatically. However, the risk of over exposure is high, and this can easily cause people to switch off or attribute an advertisement as more clutter, even if it would have been something they’d respond to otherwise. As young people are more commonly doing two to three things at once while watching TV or surfing the net, it is important to be able to stand out and make an impact on the consumer, which is why online advertising budgets have risen but traditional media budgets have experienced a sharp decline. From this is it is evident that “online advertising seems to drive activity” as it can be easily modified to an individual’s needs, something that traditional media and advertising simply could not do (Pfeiffer &Zinnbauer, 2010. Pg. 47).

Converging media horizontally has played a large role in advertising as many different platforms can be merged, but new technology can be expensive, take time to learn and require significant organisational change (Quinn, 2004). Other issues associated with media convergence is that bias will be stronger, as news can converge in one place and this may not allow individuals to have as much of a voice as they used to when media and advertising was mass produced and standardised. This can be curbed, however, with the influence of social media in advertising, and many companies having to respond directly to consumer tastes and preferences to be able to stay on top.

There are many prospects with advertising using new media, especially in the digital convergence age. It is very easy today to capitalise on the social nature of people, as it is easier to get the word across to a larger number of people in a shorter amount of time. Being innovative is the key to successfully integrating digital media and advertising – because it is the creative and new ideas that will ultimately grab the attention of a diverse online market.

Kilker, J. (2003). Shaping Convergence Media: 'Meta-Control' and the Domestication of DVD and Web Technologies. Convergence: The InternationalJournal of Research into New Media Technologies. 9. Pp. 20-39.

Lee, J. (September 13 2007). Big Ad struggles to convert plaudits into sales. Available: Last accessed 24 August 2012.

Pfeiffer, M., Zinnbauer, M. (2010) Can old media enhance new media? How traditional Advertising Pays off for an Online Social Network. Journal of Advertising Research. Pp. 42-49.

Quinn, S. (2004). An Intersection of Ideals: Journalism, Profits, Technology and Convergence. Convergence: The InternationalJournal of Research into New Media Technologies. 10. Pp. 109-123.

Sheehan, K., Morrison, D. (2009) Beyond convergence: Confluence culture and the role of the advertising agency in a changing world. First Monday.14 (3).

Sinclair, J., Wilken, R. (2009). 'Waiting for the kiss of life: mobile media and advertising' Convergence: the journal of research into new media. 15 (5). Pp. 427 – 445

No comments: