Conclusion

Closing Remarks

In our argument, we defined what should be considered new advertising and advertainment; we determined that technology is the driving force behind an arms race between consumers and advertisers. We determined that the prevalence of consumer-generated advertising and fan culture, which are forms of advertainment, have impacts on both consumers and companies. We determined that consumers are gaining more control over advertisers, which forces companies to change their advertising strategies.

Definitions

Determining what should be considered new advertising is problematic because today’s advertising phenomena parallel existing and established precedents. It is necessary to look at underlying forces behind advertising creation and consumption. In the traditional media environment, consumers and advertisers had conflicting interests. These underlying tensions take form and are manifested by the technological innovations. Technology enables both advertisers and consumers to achieve their respective goals. Advertisers began to shift strategies from mass advertising to catering to consumer desires. This fundamental shift to advertising serving as entertainment through digital media technologies is characterized as advertainment. The nature and characteristics of advertainment contribute to various effects on society.

The Arms Race

The arms race between advertisers and consumers has been laid out before us. Advertisers have the experience of mass advertising coupled with the know-how of making ads entertaining to bombard consumers with a constant array of products and commercials. Consumers, meanwhile, can fight back with technology designed to skip, block, and prevent advertising from ever reaching them. Nonetheless, the question is not who will win this push and pull battle of advertising, but rather, how does this changes the relationship between the advertiser and consumer? A look into how advertising has changed since the early days of mass media shows that more and more, advertisers push to not only sell a product, but first and foremost try to develop a relationship with the consumer. They try to entertain and cater to consumers, which makes a huge difference because consumers respond positively to more interaction than only using the product. Consumers still defend themselves with TiVo/DVR technology to skip over television ads and pop-up blockers/ad blockers on the internet, however it is a win-win situation when both parties work in conjunction to make sure that the ads reaching the consumers specifically cater to them. This, in turn, encourages viewers to buy products that are relevant to them that they can enjoy, and to spread his or her opinion of it by word of mouth.

Consumer-Generated Advertising and Fan Culture: Consequences for Consumers and Companies

Amateur forms of advertising, including consumer-generated advertising and fan culture, are forms of advertainment that have consequences for both consumers and producers. It appears as if consumers are becoming more creative, but this is not the case. Instead, market and technological forces facilitate this creation by providing cheap and easy-to-use platforms to create and host content. Furthermore, these forces are causing consumers to become more extrinsically motivated to create content. Companies are constrained by the forces of social norms, technology, and market. One consequence for companies is that they are more dependent on the consumer because consumers trust professional advertisements less than word of mouth advertising, so they need to explore alternate forms of advertising to connect with consumer’s social norms. In addition, consumer-generated advertising and fan culture provide cheap labor, meaningful viewing, and free publicity for companies, further increasing advertiser dependence on consumers.

Shift in Marketing Tactics Due to Increased Consumer Control

The business model for advertising is shifting from a mass marketing strategy to a market segmentation strategy in which consumers are broken down into segments with similar demographics. This results in advertainment ads that are more relevant and enjoyable to their targets. Advertisers are able to familiarize themselves with these consumer segments and their preferences due to new technological affordances such as click stream monitoring, polls, surveys, etc. Further, other technological advancements, such as the two way interface of the internet and the lack of supply constraints online, allow advertisers to rely on a pull strategy of marketing in which customers actively search for ads that interest them. Blogs, videos, etc. allow consumers to create hype about what they like or do not like. This feedback mechanism also informs advertisers of what tactics consumers favorably embraced. This feedback process is furthered in that it has become a social norm for consumers to be vocal about their preferences online. Since such user comments not only alert advertisers to their opinions of advertainment, but also alerts other potential customers, advertisers have even more incentive to please consumers. Since consumers are unable to escape advertising, they have embraced it on their own terms: they have demanded the power to dictate what they want to see in ads (i.e. advertainment).

The overarching change resulting from the pull model and advertainment is that ads are no longer merely about the product they are advertising, rather, they become about the consumers themselves, focusing on their satisfaction. This may have an effect on products in that if a company has to spend less time promoting the actual products (i.e. they are free from the constraint of keeping ads product-related), they can devote more time to developing their products, ultimately increasing consumer satisfaction.

Wrapping Up and Looking to the Future

In our argument, we aimed to analyze the impact of new forms of advertising on current society. We determined that technology is causing an arms race between consumers and advertisers. Furthermore, we determined that amateur-generated advertising and fan culture provides opportunities to change creative motivations, which leads to an increasing dependence on the consumer to create content for the advertiser. Lastly, we determined that technology caused consumers to have more power to dictate what ads they wanted to see, thus forcing advertisers to change their advertising strategies and business models. This is the present. With the increased prevalence of advertainment, what will happen to advertising in the future? Will all advertisements become advertainment? Will the line between advertising and entertainment permanently blur? At this point, we cannot tell; however, we know that structural forces will play an incredibly large role in the process of change.

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