The phenomenon of digital convergence in relation to advertising and new media;
Advertising through new media incorporates the role of advertisers that “creatively embed their messages in media flows and experiences that coveted consumers will then actively seek out” (Spurgeon 2008, p.27). With reference to this idea the role of advertising through the commercialization of new media can be further discussed. Further exploration of this idea involves looking at the phenomenon of digital convergence which Dwyer explains as “the ability of consumers to obtain multiple services on a single platform or device” (Dwyer 2010, p.4). These key concepts will be further discussed with reference to two real world examples; the BMW short film advertising campaign and the Canon ‘World of EOS’ concept; both key examples of creative advertising through new media that redefine the roles of advertisers and consumers.
The phenomenon of digital convergence can be explained through various contexts and meanings, which constantly refer to and are influenced by new media and the changing roles of consumers. Dwyer recognises the term media convergence as “the process whereby new technologies are accommodated by existing media and communication industries and cultures” (Dwyer 2010, p.2). Here the acceptance of new media brought together through different platforms is what Dwyer recognises as a defining aspect of convergence. Jenkins recognises the term convergence as “the flow of content across multiple media platforms” (Jenkins 2006, p.2). Jenkins also discusses the term media convergence with relation to the changing role of consumers and that “convergence represents a cultural shift as consumers are encouraged to seek out new information and make connections among dispersed media content” (Jenkins 2006, p.2). This overriding concept of convergence, of the coming together of different media and consumers is what will be further discussed in terms of advertising and new media.
The effects of convergence can be further explored in terms of the use of new media in advertising. Spurgeon discusses the increase of advertising online, as a result of this growing trend techniques of advertising have changed. Spurgeon points out that; “in less than a decade, search engines have transformed into new, globally significant and, increasingly, locally relevant, advertising-funded media services and institutions” (Spurgeon 2008, p.25). The notion of a ‘search culture’ is in response to the growing number of consumers online. This active nature of audiences online constantly searching, requires advertisers to “creatively embed their messages in media flow and experiences that coveted consumers will actively seek out” (Spurgeon 2008, p.27). This new responsibility of advertisers can be related to branded content. The idea of branded content is related to the concept of ‘Madison and Vine’; referencing Madison Avenue in New York and Vine Street in Hollywood, the concept is used to describe the convergence of creative approaches. Through advertisers combining creative capabilities a new audience is reached defining a new role for the consumer.
The concept of ‘Madison and Vine’ acts as a creative response to the growth of search culture and branded content, this is what Spurgeon recognises as branded entertainment. Its aim; “to contextualize brand images in ways that are so appealing that consumers will seek them out for inclusion in their personalized media and entertainment flows” (Spurgeon 2008, p.40). An example of brand entertainment that Spurgeon discusses is BMW films, a series of ads for BMW in the form of short films. “BMW films successfully brought BMW into direct contact with a highly desirable demographic of affluent, young, new media users, not easily reached by conventional advertising means” (Spurgeon 2008, p.40). BMW films through cinematic and captivating techniques of advertising, “modelled convergence for the advertising and film industry” (Spurgeon 2008, p.40). This example of brand building also supports Brasels ideas of consumer behaviour that “when consumers are paying close attention to a single media, it is frequently one that is highly interactive, creating strong automatic visual biases in attention based on goal relevance” (Brasels 2012, p.1). BMW films through effective advertising benefited from an increase in sales, ultimately the goal of advertising. Through the convergence of new media and advertising forms BMW films redefined consumer culture; by actively seeking out participation of consumers the brand has become even more recognised.
BMW films - 'The Hire - The Follow'
Another example of branded entertainment is the concept of ‘The World of EOS’ introduced by Canon. Canon a leading brand of DSLR cameras in Australia attempted through the creation of the ‘World of EOS’ “to redefine the way people interact with the brand... (seeing not just) an opportunity to focus on the technology of the camera but on the creativity of photography as an art form” (Burnett 2011). Through the online community ‘The World of EOS’ provides a multi channel platform acting as a ‘crossroads for collaboration’. This provides a way for photographers both professional and amateur to interact with each other and their audiences. Through sharing of projects and collaborating of works ‘The World of EOS’ prides itself on its participant’s becoming “not just a collaborator but an advocate for the brand” (Burnett 2011). With reference to Sheehan and Morrison the collaboration of consumers through the brand Canon is reflective of the capabilities of new media. Allowing online consumers “to interact with message content by adding to the content or re–purposing the content for new and different uses” (Sheehan and Morrison 2009). This participatory culture of consumerism can again be linked to Jenkins in that “audiences, empowered by these new technologies, occupying a space at the intersection between old and new media, are demanding the right to participate within the culture” (Jenkins 2006, p.25). Through advertising and new media ‘The World of EOS’ is an example of the convergence of technology and consumers, its success an indication again of the possibilities of digital convergence.
Canon - 'World of EOS' (above)
Canon - 'World of EOS - "Photo five"' (below)
Convergence as an overarching concept of this discussion explains the ‘coming together’ of different media forms across multiple platforms. Discussed in terms of advertising and new media through the ‘BMW short films’ and Canon ‘World of EOS’, convergence can be recognised in the development of new advertising forms through new media. The ways in which advertisers “creatively embed their messages in media flows and experiences that coveted consumers will then actively seek out” (Spurgeon 2008, p.27) reiterates the argument of this essay. The capabilities of consumers and producers to collaborate across media platforms redefine the advertising industry and converges the once separate roles to encompass a whole brand and media culture.
Dwyer, T. (2010) Media Convergence, McGraw Hill, Berksire, pp 1-23
Jenkins, H. (2006) Convergence Culture, New York, New YorkUniversity Press, pp 1-24
Spurgeon, C. (2008) Advertising and New Media, Oxon, Routledge, pp 24-45
Sheehan, K Morrison, D 2009, ‘Beyond Convergence: Confluence culture and the role of the advertising agency in a changing world’, First Monday, vol. 14, no. 3, viewed August 2012
Brasel, A 2012, ‘How focused identities can help brands face a changing media landscape’, Business Horizons, vol. 55, no. 3, pp. 283-291, viewed August 2012
Jenkins, H 2004 ‘The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence’, International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 7, no. 1, viewed August 2012
‘BMW Films – The Hire – The Follow’, March 12, 2007, viewed August 2012, < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIHGT8vWleQ&list=LP1RXooi39-Oo&index=9&feature=plcp>
‘Canon – “World of EOS”’, March 8, 2011, viewed August 2012, < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdpjl1-Jrtg>
‘Canon – World of EOS – “Photo 5”’, November 21, 2010, viewed August 2012, < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ujHxPiFrP0>
Lisa Formby - 42884489