Defining New Media

Advertising Overload

We are surrounded by an emergence of advertising into new communication technologies and a change in existing advertising forms. The Internet and the ability to profile users and their clickstreams usher in interactive and personalized banner ads [1]. In addition, content providers are streaming television shows with dynamically changing short ad clips. Much of today’s advertising does not even advertise a product. An advertisement for the Sony Bravia televison system, does not even describe or feature the HDTV system, but it instead features fun and entertaining video. See clip on Examples of New Advertising. Furthermore, advertising campaigns are beginning to use new forms of media, including blogs. The advertising campaign for Forgetting Sarah Marshall included a fictitious blog ihatesarahmarshall containing posts from the film's main character.

Established Precedents

With advertising bombarding consumers in many different formats, it becomes difficult to discern which forms should be classified as new forms of advertising. Looking at today’s advertising through the lens of change is problematic because many phenomena parallel existing and established precedents. If the underlying motivations of these phenomena are identical to that of the traditional broadcast environment, they are not really new. Especially since the core principles behind them have not changed, some of today’s advertising is not really different from the traditional forms of advertising; they are merely applying them in the current situation. The nature of some of today’s advertising is the same when compared its predecessors because their creative processes and intentions are identical. New advertisers use the same framework and mindset as in traditional broadcast media environment and simply project them onto the Internet, which accomplishes the same end.

For example, many of the major television networks now have moved some content online by posting their popular shows on their website for people to view. However, even on these websites, television networks force viewers to watch short commercials before streaming a TV show, which is akin to original television commercials breaks. Context-sensitive targeted banner ads are similar to magazine ads that appear in niche magazines. The Forgetting Sarah Marshall blog is similar to actors appearing in character on a late-night television show. Even the Youtube video for the Sony Bravia ad seems to parallel attractive television advertisements. It is necessary, then, to use different lenses in examining and determining whether certain forms of advertising are new.

Regulators of Advertising

Lessig offers a framework when analyzing what factors regulate the “pathetic dot,” which, in this case is advertising [2].The market, architecture, and norm regulators are of particular interest and are important in determining if changes in advertising represent new forms or are simply an extension of existing practices.

As the Internet became more advanced and proliferated, advertisements entered the sphere as communication technologies became commercialized. However, advertising that utilizes these new technologies does not necessarily produce new forms of advertising because existing structures are still being used to push and deploy content. It is essential to examine the backgrounds and interactions behind influences before drawing conclusions.

The market traditionally was the driving force behind advertising content and form. Advertisers saw consumers as mass audiences and used entertainment technologies to push advertising on to consumers. The underlying architecture, technology, which includes radio and television, allowed advertisers to push content. As technology evolved, the underlying market forces and framework did not change as advertisers simply pushed content through the Internet. Advertisers are consistently looking at technology, including new technologies, as an enabler to reach mass audiences.

However, this is not to say that social norms and consumer values were in sync with advertisers. Consuming advertising has generally not been by choice. Looking at the history of advertising in the eyes of consumers, advertising has been considered in opposition to entertainment. Consumers felt bombarded by generic content and marketing for products and services. But technological implications not only have impacts on advertisers, but also on the consumer. New technologies gives consumers more freedom and control over content selection[3]. It allows consumers to begin to block and avoid advertising that is in the way of entertainment content.

Conflict between Advertisers and Consumers

This disruption between consumers and advertisers is fueled by the changing technology. Technology enables both advertisers to continually push ads to consumers, while consumers are increasingly technological solutions to escape from ads. See Escaping the Bombardment of Advertising. In this situation, market forces initiate action since advertisers are not achieving their goals with classical means of advertising. The market pressures advertising methods to change. We are considering new forms of advertising such as those that result from the underlying changes in principles, framework, and strategy.

Changing Advertiser Strategy

Advertisers realize that classic methods of advertising are becoming increasingly less effective. Technology has become more customized and affords for consumers to realize the norm of escaping from advertising. Since societal norms are opposed to traditional forms of advertising, advertisers are looking at new tactics to target users and user norms. In particular, they are utilizing new technologies in new and different ways to present advertising. In particular, we focus on advertisers’ shifted from traditional forms of advertising to advertainment: advertising that utilizes technology, particularly the Internet, that in and of itself is entertainment. Therefore, instead of looking how advertising has changed, it is more fitting to see how the motivations behind advertisers have changed.

Consumer Reaction

We can observe further ramifications as consumers are receiving ads catered to their interests. The norms toward advertising start to shift and consumers begin to respond and interact to advertainment. Instead of looking to avoid and block advertainment, consumers are seeking it out and spreading its reach to others. Furthermore, consumers are not only being entertained by advertainment themselves, they are further prompted in participating in it themselves. Impact - Increased audience participation. Consumers desire for entertainment through media outlets, to which advertisers are now obliging. Advertisers are realizing that in a new media filled world, social norms are becoming heavily strong force powered by technological innovation. Thus, advertising, particularly new advertainment is more consumer driven. See Impact - Ads More Consumer Driven.

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Works Cited
1. Battelle, J. (2004, May 6). From the Ephemeral to the Eternal. Retrieved May 13, 2008, from
2. Chaffee, S. H., & Metzger, M. J. (2001). The End of Mass Communication? Mass Communication & Society, 4(4), 365-379.
3. Lessig, L. “What Things Regulate.” (1999). Code, and Other Laws of Cyberspace.
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