Proposal Ideas

Final Proposal

Innovations in technology currently impact many facets of today's society including business, entertainment, socialization, and the political process. Furthermore, these technological innovations impact the way advertisers target their message to consumers. There is much speculation about the impact of new media on advertising and on society, but it is important to define what should be considered new. Some of today's advertising is similar to its that of its predecessors because their creative processes and intentions are the same. New advertisers can use the same framework and mindset that traditional broadcast media advertisers use and simply project them onto the internet, which accomplishes the same end. For example, many of the major television networks post their popular shows on their website for people to view. Even on these sites, the networks force viewers to watch commercials and view banner ads, which is akin to original television commercials. We will be defining new forms of advertising as media that branches off from traditional mass media forms of television such as internet banner ads, commercials during streamed television shows, and viral marketing. There has been an evolution of advertising: it has become more intertwined with pure entertainment over time. For example, television shows were originally interrupted with regular commercial breaks. From this, networks have moved some content online, with abbreviated, but nonetheless mandatory, sponsored ads. In both of these cases, ads and entertainment were adjacent to one another, but it was not until product placement that the worlds of advertising and entertainment actually intertwined. From product placement, the paradigm has subtly shifted again to "ads as entertainment" entities.

Consumers are also changing and adopting technologies to avoid and eliminate the effectiveness of broadcast advertising. Most people do not like being bombarded by advertising, and in their traditional forms (i.e. commercial breaks), they are barriers to our enjoyment of entertainment. Some technology recognizes and promotes the underlying social aversion to advertising as an interruption. Examples of such technology include TiVo and pop-up ad blockers, which have become popular and mainstream. It is due to such technology that traditional broadcast advertising is not as effective as it used to be, causing advertisers to alter the process of advertising. Advertisers are therefore exploring different forms of advertising, especially in the context of digital technology. For example, there is currently an influx of advertainment: advertisements that are as entertaining as the content they subsidize. For example, in class we watched the Sony Bravia ad: it contained visuals of colorful balls with whimsical music playing in the background. Instead of a direct message of what the advertisement is selling, it relies on a creative idea that everyone can be wowed with. In addition, we saw examples of BMW mini-films with their own independent plots, which feature famous people such as Madonna. Furthermore, a recent example is the advertising campaign for Forgetting Sarah Marshall. One of the film's spin-off websites is a fictitious blog that contains funny postings from the film's main character. This blog creates a literal connection between the movie world and our real world, making the consumer have more of a connection to the movie. Essentially, it is a hidden form of advertising because it makes consumers find out even more about the movie before they've seen it. An additional case study is the collection Heroes web-comics. Each of these examples differ from advertisements of the past in that, as opposed to interrupting scheduled entertainment, they are entities for entertainment in themselves, sometimes to the extent of users actively searching them out.

With traditional broadcast media, although commercials were interjected at cliff-hanging, suspenseful moments in sitcoms or movies, viewers still had the option to leave the room, or to escape ads some other way. Many would use this period of time as an opportunity to go to the bathroom or to make a snack. It was the separation of advertisements from entertainment outlets that made such behavior possible. Now, advertisers have finally created an ingenious way to prevent potential viewers from skipping ads; they make ads enjoyable entities in themselves. Now, instead of passively consuming ads, consumers will actively search for ads. Through the integration of advertisement and entertainment, reaching an audience, a task which traditionally has been the most difficult in advertising, can be achieved without any effort beyond creating the actual ad. It is this phenomenon that we are interested in studying. What impact does the integration of advertising and entertainment have on society? How much impact does advertainment actually have? One implication we are interested in studying is as follows: since people need entertainment outlets, and now that entertainment is integrated with advertisements, these ads cannot be escaped. As advertising spreads to new technologies and becomes more ubiquitous, will we ultimately be left with a more consumer-driven society? Another question we intend to probe is whether or not this type of advertising (advertainment) is more effective.

Brainstorming

We need to define impact as this word is too loose to really be of any use at the moment. So let's going with how it has really change the way we look at advertising. How has it changed we look at advertising? How has advertising changed because of new media and our changing perception of advertising? What are good examples of this, etc?

Here are some ideas:

  • To what extent has new media technologies affected the way we perceive and interact with the products that advertisements advertise? (This is a broad question, but it does allow us to have some very good examples to be thrown in and concentrate a bit more)
  • Does new media advertising affect how we present ourselves as consumers? Why or why not?
  • In what ways has advertising changed in order to fit into this new media world?
  • How has advertising changed to fit around what we do in our lives with AdWords and other suggestion type advertising?
  • To what extent is viral marketing changing how we interact with the products we buy? (We could generalize this and I feel like it would be a good question too)
  • New advertising and impact on privacy?
  • Customized advertising and impact on satisfaction?
  • Ability to "escape" new advertising, which is available from so many outlets (i.e. cell phone, Xbox, etc.)
  • Is there an acceptance or rejection of new advertising forms? What are individual concerns about new advertising tactics? General society viewpoints?
  • Why do new forms of advertising focus on targeting users? Is targeted advertising effective?
  • What is the impact of new media technologies on television advertising? Does the TV via internet model change the types of advertising we see on TV? For example, Gossip Girl decided to stop posting new episodes on their website because they were concerned with the Nielsen Ratings, which TV advertisers care about.
  • How do search engine advertisements and placements change the way businesses function?
  • How does product placement change the way we view our lives as citizens? Are we becoming defined as consumers?
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