Friday, August 31, 2012

MAS110 - Advertising and New media

MAS110 Assessment 1
William Taggart Kirbyshire (MQ ID: 42889286)

The interlinking of new media with advertising has become increasingly prominent, efficient and effective as the advertising potential of new media platforms has been realised. Advertisers now have access to multiple forms of information distribution and have quickly leaped at the prospect of exploiting these new media, through bringing together different forms of media as well as other creative endeavours to ensure a constant supply of customers. The scope of contemporary mixed media has helped to facilitate a larger audience for all advertisers, permitting smaller businesses with less money the ability to market themselves, as well as providing big business a means to further consolidate their customer base. These trends have had a number of implications on both the nature of adverts as well as the media themselves.

A number of technological advancements have become crucial to media and subsequently advertising. The somewhat revolutionary commercialisation of the internet, combined with the relatively recent rise of internet videos, internet flash-based games and the ousting of dial-up connections, permitting faster bandwidth speeds.  Of particular interest is the power of the search engine as a means to find relevant material. In this way, advertisers have been able to market products directly and almost exclusively to their target market. Web based advertisements also provide a cheap means to advertise to a wide audience. This has enabled relatively small businesses audience to many internet users across the globe. Some of the larger more well-known companies have used the internet in more creative and interactive ways than the simplistic side-bar advertisements. For example New Zealand’s latest tourism campaign, ‘Kiwi sceptics’, specifically targeted towards Australians that are less inclined to travel to New Zealand. They have released five videos online, with just enough wit and humour to keep the viewer watching. This convergence of advertising techniques, bringing video onto the internet together with clever narration, addresses one of the main issues confronted by internet advertisers; the internet user has to wish to click on the advertisement. The other interesting implication of internet as a media platform is that it extends to numerous consoles, such as computers, smart phones and gaming consoles. It is intriguing to note the level of advertising even present in gaming consoles, especially the Xbox 360, that take the form of videos, pictures and text on the console’s home page or ‘dashboard’. The proliferation of different media forms on these consoles also means the advertising is targeted not only at games, but music, films and the combination, music videos, which can all be watched, accessed and even purchased on the console. These essentially cease to be exclusively gaming consoles just as Ipod’s have ceased to be exclusively music players, presenting advertisers with new potential for sending their respective messages.
An example of one of the 'Kiwi Sceptics' advertisements for New Zealand Tourism.

Advertisements not only permeate the internet though, having well been accustomed to film and television shows for decades before the internet became commercial. Some of the earliest advertising in films especially was product placement, a technique still often employed by advertisers though in a more advanced and subtle sense now than has been in the past. One need only recall films like ‘Iron Man’, flaunting the protagonist’s latest Audi automotive, a background Dell computer, LG phones and many other products. ‘Toy Story’, now hailed as a Pixar classic, is perhaps one of the most successful and cleverest films in relation to product placement. The very premise is built around toys like Barbie and Mr Potato Head. Music videos have also had similar treatment, with some hosting arrays of products, instantly, and if executed well sometimes even subconsciously, recognisable. A rare occasion of product placement was even present in the recent and well received video game, ‘Sleeping Dogs’, with the protagonist clearly holding an Iphone for one scene. This is not the only way in which advertising has pervaded television though, with multiple forms of media used to market and in some cases affect television. The Australian political and philosophical discussion show, ‘Q and A’ uses an online voting system so that viewers can interact with a poll which is presented at the end of the discussion. Furthermore reality television shows such as ‘Big Brother’ similarly appeal to the Australian public to vote, though via phones this time, as to the show’s outcome.

Various television shows have also started using multi-media to advertise. An example of how advertising has penetrated to television shows is the long-running series, ‘Doctor Who’, which appeals to contemporary internet culture in particular through precise marketing. The BBC website hosts multiple interactive games, specially recorded interactive ‘webisodes’ which play out in a similar way to the once popular ‘choose your own adventure’ style books, video blogs detailing behind the scenes production techniques, tweets and various other textual blogs, quizzes, extensive pages detailing the lore and plotlines of the show, photographs, clips from episodes and many more features. Through the online medium Doctor Who has gathered on online cult following and has, perhaps unintentionally, been the subject of numerous ‘memes’. Memes are a largely internet phenomenon which usually encompass photographs and text relating to an idea in popular culture. They are humorous for the most part and bear insightful, funny, or occasionally nonsensical meanings. The meme culture has embraced Doctor Who, with numerous memes spawned from the franchise. They tend to be started by internet forums as opposed to being proposed by companies and in turn become an organic way in which a culture can share and in a sense, advertise certain things. This untraditional and usually unintentional form of advertisement is parallel to viral campaigns, capitalised upon by companies that use people to spread their message through the internet as opposed to the standardised, scheduled commercials.
An example of one of the viral fan-created Doctor Who memes.

To conclude, the convergence of media has provided businesses with vast new modes of advertising. The internet has been a large component of this, as it can be accessed through many varying kinds of devices and is versatile enough to encompass numerous forms of multimedia. This can provide advertisers with more engaging ways to sell products, like games, videos and various downloads. The convergence of media onto singular platforms such as the Iphone and the Xbox has also granted advertisers the ability to cheaply and effectively sell products to a large audience of people. Films have been infiltrated by advertising, as have music videos and video games by way of product placement. Media convergence has allowed a barrage of advertising from all fronts in a cheap, effective, and efficient manner.

  • Neil Perryman, “Doctor Who and the Convergence of Media: A Case Study in ‘Transmedia Storytelling’’, (Sage journals, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, vol. 14, 2008) p.21-39
  • Spurgeon C., ‘Advertising and New Media’, From the ‘Long Tail’ to ‘Madison and Vine’, (Routledge, New York, NY, 2008) p.24-45

No comments: