‘Madison Avenue is stuck in a 1950s time warp [‘] ‘ most ad agencies still operate the same way they did during the Eisenhower administration: Toss a single TV spot at millions of random viewers in the hope that a small fraction might be interested in that new Chevrolet or life insurance from Prudential’
– Paul Keegan, ‘The Man Who Can Save Advertising,’ 2004 (Lotz 167).
Merely ten years ago it was believed that advertising was ‘stuck’ using the same strategies over and over again without any renewal since the 1950s. Advertisements would most often consist of billboards, magazine ads, radio spots and 30-second television commercials. These types of advertisements might have been effective once, but today’s consumer has more than 500 television channels, a billion of YouTube videos and a circle of social media profiles to choose from when seeking entertainment. Undivided attention is a thing of the past (Scott, xxxx). In today’s fragmented media landscape where technology enables people to control what, when and where they experience their entertainment, traditional methods of reaching audiences are not sufficient. It is no longer possible for brands to ensure that audiences will be exposed to their advertisements if they run a television commercial or a radio spot. Brands need to make deeper connections to break through the clutter and engage wherever their audiences happen to be. The constantly changing media landscape forces brands and their advertising agencies to constantly come up with new ideas on how to target their audiences. One solution is to target audiences where they least expect: while being entertainment. Methods such as product placements and product integration have been around for decades, but more and more brands are starting to create entertainment from scratch by themselves ‘ a discipline known as ‘branded entertainment’.
In recent years more and more advertising agencies have started to establish specific divisions to handle this growing demand for new ways of advertising. But what does this development in the advertising industry entail and what capabilities are expected from contemporary advertising agencies?
Based on interviews with ten branded entertainment professionals in Los Angeles during Spring 2015, this project will examine the development in the branded entertainment industry. How are advertising agencies in Los Angeles structured and how are they adjusting, what creative processes do they go through, and how will advertising agencies and the branded entertainment industry develop in the future?
To answer these questions I will use business- and research theories to examine the principles and conflicts that arise when two creative industries, the advertising and the entertainment industry, begin to collaborate to such a massive extent. I will also draw on Don Tapscott’s theory on the four principles for the open world to analyze how it is possible to continue using these ‘hidden’ advertisements in a world that is constantly becoming more and more open and transparent due to new digital and social media. Furthermore, I will discuss if branded entertainment really is a different advertising method or if it is merely product placement in disguise. Finally, I will discuss the challenges connected with measuring the effects of branded entertainment and what the future holds for both advertising agencies and the branded entertainment industry in general.
B A C K G R O U N D
The history of advertising
Advertising has existed ever since the beginning of mankind. Indian rock art paintings date back to 4000 BC, and Egyptians used papyrus to make wall posters while merchants in ancient Rome had street signs advertising their wares (Vogel 2011). These are just a few examples of how advertising and man has co-existed ever since the beginning of time. The main advances came with the invention of the printing press, which first enabled handbills and circulars and later on newspapers and magazines. Around the same time, in 1869, was N. W. Ayer and Son founded. This was the first advertising agency to establish percentage fees for their services, which formed the basis of the business model we know from advertising agencies today.
The rise of broadcast media revolutionized the advertising industry. When the radio was permanently established in the 1920s the advertising industry became central to the operations of may different industries such as soap, cars, clothing and beer. By the late 1930s, radio advertising accounted for more than one-third of top agency billings (Vogel 2011). The emergence of television advertisements in the 1950s gave brands the opportunity to communicate their brand messaging to their audiences in a whole new way. Although images of products and brand logos had been possible to display with print ads for decades, advertising on television made it possible for brands to show their products in a whole new perspective; how people interacted with these products. It became easier to ad a storyline to the brand messaging. The visual display of both product and brand logo also made it easier for audiences to recognize the product or the brand when they went shopping. When cable television saw the light of day in the 1980s MTV ushered in a new type of advertising where audiences would tune in for the advertising message rather than it merely being a by-product or an afterthought (Wikipedia). Alongside this came a sudden high interest in television advertisements as specialty channels started to emerge. Audiences started actively wanting to be exposed to television advertisements as channels such as the Home Shopping Network gained popularity in many households. By the year of 1994 television advertising had surpassed the newspaper advertising dollar volume (Vogel 2011).
The rate of change in the advertising industry is astonishing and quickly adjusting into new technologies in order to offer services on those platforms where audiences were best met. When the Beginning around the year 2000 Internet advertising began to take significant share away from more traditional media (Vogel 2011). The Internet led to a whole new era in advertising, as digital technologies make it possible to constantly develop new ideas and new platforms. The most important changes the Internet had brought along are social media. During the last decade Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. have revolutionized how brands reach and communicate with their audiences. These technologies have turned the brand monologue into a dialogue ‘ a conversation ‘ where it is possible for brands to communicate with their audiences instead of to or at them. Social media have removed a connecting link and made it possible for brands to communicate directly with their audiences instead of through a medium. One advantage to this is that audiences feel more included in the conversation and that their voices will be heard. This is an important factor as the Internet brought along the possibility for everyone to become content producers and to have their voices and opinions be known to the world. Audiences have become used to having their voices heard and responded to ‘ all in a matter of seconds.
Mass media and its effectiveness
Traditional forms of advertising such as radio spots, billboards and television commercials are all variations of mass media. The purpose of using mass media for advertising is ‘ most often ‘ to reach a large audience by ways of mass communication. This technique is for example used when brands wish to make audiences aware of a new product, features, services or simply gain brand awareness. Mass media is a one-way communication form that most often does not involve any form of interaction or engagement with its audiences. This can be seen as an advantage as brands are able to control the brand messaging almost completely without running the risk of it being diluted with negative comments. For instance, if a person watches a television commercial and is unhappy with it, naturally, that person can tell his network about it, but it would be impossible to tell the whole world about his opinions or complaints.
Digital and social media are often considered better platforms for personalized advertising (source?). Search engines and Internet cookies have made it possible for brands to target audiences in a direct and personalized manner by remembering what products or services they have viewed or searched for and subsequently showing ads for this product or service on other sites. For example, if a person has searched for ‘cheap tickets to New York’ in Google, advertisements for tickets to New York (and most likely offers including both tickets and a hotel) will appear on this person’s social media channels and various other sites to constantly remind him of his purchasing intentions.
The Internet knows a great deal about audiences’ consumer habits and patterns, and this data is extremely helpful for brands that are trying to target specific groups of people.
Although digital and social media are arguably the best platforms for personalized and below-the-line advertising, they are also a variation of mass media as they are able to reach large audiences at once. The main difference between traditional mass media, such as television and radio, and digital and social is that the latter also offer the possibility for brands to interact with its audiences and form a more personal relationship. These social platforms have shortened the distance between brand and audience by creating an open forum that enables and encourages conversations and interaction between both brand and audiences, but also between audiences. One advantage to this is that’
There are several advantages for brands to be active on various social media. It is possible or brands to join in on conversations about current topics and issues in society. In this fast moving landscape everything is happening fast and social media give brands the opportunity to act fast. For instance is it much faster and easier to write a tweet or a Facebook update than it is to wait for an idea to be though off, go through several stages of approval before being created and executed, which is the traditional process of traditional advertising. Social media also give brands the opportunity to respond directly to critique, which also works well in crisis communication.
Although brand-audience interaction has a considerable amount of advantages the open forum also come with some disadvantages. An open forum means that audiences are free to speak negatively about the advertisement, the product or the brand itself and leave it for everyone to see. This can be very critical for brands as people often are heavily influenced by other people’s opinions and trust them more than official reviews. Using digital and social media for advertising comes with a high risk. With the potential of high gain comes high risk: As there is a change that the advertisement will go viral and create major buzz for the brand, there is also the possibility of damaging the brand image if audiences take commenting to a negative level (like Shell or Nike).
Several research studies states that traditional advertising is no longer effective as it used to be (source). One reason is that audiences no longer trust these traditional forms of advertising and have started to become more skeptical when exposed to traditional forms of advertising. Today people are born into a world where they are constantly being met with advertisements everywhere they go and on both traditional platforms as well as newer, digital and social platforms. Merely walking down the street they are confronted with hundreds of different types of advertisements. Usually, people take for granted how much advertising surrounds them in their everyday life and they rarely stop to consider their deeper meaning or function within society (Advertising and Consumer Culture Reader, BA project). But one thing is certain: all advertisements are created to sell something, whether it is a change of attitude to politics or a new t-shirt. In a mediated world audiences have become used to all these printed ads, television commercials etc. There is no doubt that they are being faced with an advertisement, and they have even learned to endure them. Audiences have simply become too aware of advertisements and their purposes. This means that today audiences trust reviews and recommendations from friends much more than they trust traditional advertisements.
One reason why traditional television commercials in particular are no longer as effective as they used to be is the evolving of DVRs and TiVO that allow audiences to skip commercials completely. One solution is to use newer advertising methods such as product placement, brand integration or branded entertainment, which offer a more subtle way of delivering brand messages.
During the past decade, the prevalence of connecting brands with entertainment and it’s popularity as a marketing practice has advanced considerably. Along the way, the industry has distinguished three different terms to describe this collaboration: product placement, brand integration and branded entertainment. However, industry professionals do not use these terms with consistent exactitude, and ‘product placement’ or ‘branded entertainment’ is often used to refer to the whole lot.
This project will operate with these three different terms: product placement, brand integration and branded entertainment, which will be explained in the following:
Product placement is the most common way of integrating brands into programming. Advertising Age’s Online Encyclopedia describes product placement as ‘a form of advertising in which brand-name products, packages, signs and corporate names are intentionally positioned in motion pictures and TV programs.’ Essentially, product placement is when brands or products are strategically placed into a movie or a television show with a desire for financial growth. Although this seems like a simple marketing strategy, it has some variations as these placements can be either paid or unpaid. Unpaid placements are when brands donate a product that the production is in need of. For instance can a kitchen manufacturer donate a kitchen to a cooking show in exchange for making the brand or company name appear in the show. Naturally, a paid placement is when the brand pays to be featured in a specific episode of a television show or a movie, but it can also function as ‘added value’, which is when the brand or the product is featured as a recognition of the brand’s regular large spending commitment to the network (Lotz 187-88).
In addition to the issue of paid vs. unpaid placements, media scholar Amanda D. Lotz distinguishes between two levels of placements: basic and advanced. She refers to basic placement when the product or the brand is placed in a movie or a television show without drawing attention to itself, and advanced placement when the product or brand is mentioned by name. However, she stresses the fact that there is no clear correlation between the level of placement and whether they are paid or unpaid (Lotz 188).
One major advantage to product placement is that it allows brands to communicate directly to a specific group of consumers. Naturally, brands are already doing this by running advertisements for children in the morning, advertisements for women in the daytime/soap opera hours and with advertisements for men during Sunday Night Football. However, product placement allows brands to take this type of target marketing to the next level, as it is well understood which group watches what kinds of television (Lehu 162). This means that brands can target a very specific group of viewers through specific television shows.
One disadvantage to product placement is that brands are not able to control the content of the programming it is being placed within. It might contain violence or nudity, which might give negative associations to their product or their brand image. Creating and financing content by themselves give brands control of the creative aspect. It also makes sure that they are not left on the cutting room floor, but are actually given the exact amount of exposure they want.
‘Brand integration’ is a term best described as a further development of Lotz’ levels of placement. Whereas product placement is when products or brands are either visually shown or verbally mentioned, brand integration is when a product or a brand is in some sense involved in the plot of the story. This form of integration is most often a paid model, where the brand that is exposed in the show compensates the production company for the production costs required to integrate the brand into the show.
Brand integration is often considered more successful in unscripted television shows because of its generic attributes (Lotz 190).
Branded entertainment, also often referred to as ‘branded content’ or ‘advertainment’, is a form of advertising that blurs the conventional distinction between what is traditionally defined as advertising and what is traditionally defined as editorial content or entertainment. The term is often mistakenly used to describe what is in fact product placement, but the main difference between branded entertainment and product placement is who is behind the production and ‘ most importantly ‘ who financed it. Branded entertainment is designed by the brand to promote its values and is primarily funded by the brand’s marketing strategy in contrary to a network or a studio. In other words, branded entertainment is developed at the preliminary concept stage either by the brand or by a production company in very tight liaison with the brand.
Branded entertainment does not necessarily feature the brand or the product, as its most important feature is to be entertaining. Advertisers create the content of the production, which with its entertaining content will then serve as a promotional vehicle for the brand.
Branded entertainment can be anything from a movie or a television show to digital content or an event, as long as it is entertaining for the audience.
This project will use the above definitions of product placement, brand integration and branded entertainment, but it is important to be aware that the companies interviewed for this project do not use these terms with the same exactitude.
The history of product placement and branded entertainment
If you have ever watched a movie or a television show, it is almost certain that you have been exposed to product placement or brand integration. Although it is not known for certain, it is believed that this collaboration between the advertising industry and the entertainment industry has been around since the beginning of film (Lehu). However, it was not until the placement of Reese’s Pieces in the 1982 Blockbuster, ET, that product placement became a permanent part of contemporary marketing strategies (Segrave).
Product placement became a success partially because it gave brands the opportunity to target consumers while they were least expecting it: while they were being entertained. The possibility to target consumers this way became a huge advantage with the emergence of technologies such as DVRs and TiVO that allowed viewers to skip commercials and thereby avoid traditional advertisements on television completely.
New technologies have recently made it possible for contemporary products to be digitally added into already existing television shows and movies. This is possible by using the same technology as when networks add brand logos onto the field of soccer matches (Lotz 189). This technology enables networks to create new revenue for television shows with unanticipated secondary markets. However, as regular product placement can add credibility to a television show or a movie, these later added-on products can create speculations for the attentive viewer if the products in question are newer than the television show or movie.
Lately, the advertising industry has been forced to tackle the immense and constantly increasing popularity of social media, tablets and smart phones, which both challenge and offer new opportunities to the traditional way of working with product placement and branded entertainment. Scott Donaton from Advertising Age explains that traditional advertisements spend 90 percent of their budget on distribution and 10 percent on content production. However, since branded entertainment is content financed almost exclusively by the brand, it requires that a much higher percentage of the budget go to producing content. The popularity of social media have made it easy for brands to distribute their branded entertainment content via channels such as Facebook, YouTube or the brand’s own website, lowering the distribution cost to merely 10 percent.
According to Lotz, the economics of television will most likely require a significant shift in order for branded entertainment to become more common on the medium, particularly on broadcast networks and during prime time. Distribution on television is simply too expensive, especially compared with the low cost and effectiveness of distribution on social media (Lotz 192).
A N E W E R A
Millennials and the shift in media consumption
‘What? Grandma doesn’t have Internet? How does she watch TV’?
– Head of Promotion and Presentation at Discovery Networks Denmark, Patrick Bay Damsted’s youngest daughter, LinkedIn (translated from Danish)
Television has been an essential part of most homes ever since its invention. It was the centerpiece of most living rooms and served as emotional glue for families when they gathered around the television set night by night for a shared experience and quality time with their loved ones. And for those who were feeling lonely, the television was a trusted late-night companion (Williams, New York Times). Flow television is still extremely popular among many Americans, but it is slowly becoming more and more rare to see a television set in people’s homes. Alex Williams describes in his New York Times article ‘For Millennials, the End of the TV Viewing Party’ how it is simply considered ‘a little bit weird’ and ‘a waste of space’.
Millennials are a group of people who are currently the object of much attention in the world of advertising. Questions such as ‘how do we best target millennials’? and millennials consumption patterns are heavily debated, and with good reason. This generation is a major influence on the changing the media consumption landscape.
Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe are believed to have coined the term in Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584-2069. More recently, they released an entire book devoted to this generation, titled Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation. Strauss and Howe are ‘widely credited with naming the millennials’ according to journalist Bruce Horovitz. In 1987, they coined the term ‘around the time 1982-born children were entering preschool and the media were first identifying their prospective link to the millennials year 2000.’ Strauss and Howe use 1982 as the millennials’ starting birth year and 2004 as the last birth year (Wikipedia/Source?). They were raised in a world where mobile phones and the Internet were parts of their everyday lives. Millennials have never known a world without cables (Lotz). They have had a wide range of communication technologies from birth, which means that they move fluidly and fluently among these technologies. One example is how the generation provoked a whole new economy model in the recording industry by downloading music illegally and thereby making it possible to own an entire music collection without having any records in physical form.
Millennials are highly addicted to the Internet, digital technologies and social networking, the latter being one of the most popular platforms among millennials. In 2010, research was published in the Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research, which claimed that students who used social media and decided to quit showed the same withdrawal symptoms of a drug addict who quit their stimulant (Wikipedia).
Television sets are not disappearing out of millennials’ homes due to bad programming. In fact, television is thriving more than ever before. Some television series are getting an equal amount of ‘ or in some cases even more ‘ attention than some of the biggest Hollywood movie premieres. Television is undergoing what is being defined as a new ‘golden age’ where the anticipation for a new season of a popular television series can cause an extreme amount of buzz and viral marketing. Movie directors and actors who previously worked exclusively in the movie business are now moving into the television space. Television is anything but dead, but the viewing platform has shifted to digital. Society has moved into the post-network era, which Amanda D. Lotz describes in her book The Television Will Be Revolutionized. Mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, and streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have made it easier than ever before to catch up with television series whenever and wherever. These devices have made television extremely convenient and adaptable. Even though millennials might have taken the first step into replacing their television sets with the Internet and digital platforms, older generations are expected to follow (source?).
The Internet and digital media are platforms of opportunities and choices. Seeking entertainment alone will leave audiences with a billion YouTube videos and a full circle of social media profiles on various platforms. The Internet, digital technologies and social media have created a form of ‘selection culture’ where audiences constantly have to choose between numerous options whether it’s entertainment, news or something completely different. The Internet and these digital technologies have made audiences accustomed to everything happening fast and easily. There is no longer time to be bored and no time to be wasted. Smart phones and portable Internet have made it possible to end discussions within a few seconds of browsing the Internet. Audiences are now able to quench their thirst for information and entertainment within a matter of seconds.
(New) advertising platforms
(Figure from BMS: A change in approach to media communications)
Digital technologies and social media brought along an increasing number of alternative advertising platforms. From YouTube to Twitter and television to tablets, today’s media landscape is continuously evolving and offers now more advertising platforms than ever before. Media continues to re-establish itself as a powerful channel for brands to market themselves and offer more tools and platforms than ever before (Young 2014).
Today most people own a smart phone, which translates into even more possibilities to target audiences through the numerous apps that are available and used daily by many. Especially social media that are built on visual impressions are extremely popular today. Examples are Instagram, Pinterest YouTube, Vine, Snapchat, and Internet phenomena such as Memes and GIFs. The popularity of photo sharing media is no surprise, as visual impressions seem to dominate today’s society. Billboards, photographs, advertisements, logos and art are all examples of the many visual images that have dominated during the last couple of decades. The explanation is simple: visual impressions seem to last longer and are fast to absorb in the busy and fast moving society today consist of.
In advertising it is normal to differentiate between three types of platforms: paid, owned and earned. Owned is when the brand is in complete control, for instance on the brand’s own website, magazine or app. Traditional advertising is usually considered paid media, which includes billboards, television commercials and radio spots, but also advertising on digital platforms such as Internet banner ads are paid media. Earned media is often dependent on user involvement, for instance when a campaign ‘runs wild’ and is the topic of tweet or a blog post. Viral marketing is a major possible advantage when advertising on social media. If audiences like the brands’ content there is a good chance they will share it and in that way contribute to spreading the brand messaging and becoming a form of ambassadors of the brand. This recognition is extremely valuable for brands, as it is believed that people are more likely to listen to recommendations from their friends and loved ones rather than traditional advertisements (source).
The popularity and prevalence of these social media have also increased what audiences expect from brands during the last couple of years. Whereas brands were previously expected to have a website with simple information about themselves, they are now expected to have several social media accounts as well, or, at the very least, a Facebook page. Audiences want to interact with brands, as social media is an easy way to stay updated on new products etc. Almost all brands have embraced this opportunity and all brands with respect for themselves have teams dedicated to working on the brands’ social media. Social media strategy has become a permanent part of brands’ advertising/marketing strategies, especially when targeting younger demographics.
Many consider television the best platform for mass media advertising, and there are many reasons why this is the case. One reason is that advertising on television gives brands the opportunity to target a large audience at once. For decades, families would gather around the television set night after night. Not that many different channels? Television also gives brands the perfect opportunity to target specific groups of audiences, as it is well understood when specific groups watches what kind of television. For instance is it clever to run advertisements for children in the morning, advertisements for women and housewives during the daytime/soap opera hour, and advertisements for men during Sunday Night Football.
Traditional advertising platforms vs. digital and social advertising platforms? Advantages and disadvantages? Or all together?
L I T E R A T U R E R E V I E W – remember to include Damaris Valero! It is not possible to address new literature or theories later ‘ they must be presented in this part of the project!
Introduction to the theoretical framework
At present moment there is not much research on branded entertainment. Reasons might be that industry professionals tend to refer branded entertainment as product placement, which has been the subject of many research studies. Another reason might be that even though the branded entertainment discipline is not new, the high demand for branded entertainment and subtle advertising methods is. As the focus for the project is to examine how advertising agencies in Los Angeles are handling the demand for new ways of advertising and what capabilities are required from them, it is relevant to map out how contemporary creative industries ‘ and advertising agencies in particular ‘ are traditionally structured and organized. In this connection it is also relevant to look into the political economy of the creative industries and how television series are traditionally financed and distributed and how new technologies are causing a distribution revolution. Furthermore, it is relevant to see how theories of storytelling and co-creation are crucial elements in the branded entertainment industry.
The creative industries ‘ much more on the creative industries ‘ commodities ‘ selling culture
‘The creative industries’ is a fluid term. It covers a wide variety of industries and is often alternatively referred to as ‘the cultural industries’ or ‘the experience industries’. This is because creative industries are often industries with a connection to culture or an experience of some sort, such as advertising, architecture, art, design, fashion, film, music, publishing, television, radio and video games. Although creative industries and cultural industries are often mixed together, the main difference is that cultural industries include cultural heritage, festivals and tourism, which are important industries in those societies where creative commodities such as film and music are not produced on an industrial scale (source). This project will operate with the term ‘creative industries’ instead of cultural or experience industries, as it seems to fit the purpose of both the branded entertainment industry and the advertising industry best.
In their book Introduction to the Creative Industries ‘ From Theory to Practice, Rosamund Davies and Gauti Sigthorsson argue that even though the creative industries do not exist as a unified category, they are connected by three defining features. ‘First, they all require human creativity; second, they are vehicles for symbolic messages, that is, they are carriers of meaning; and third, they contain, at least potentially, some intellectual property that belongs to an individual or a group’ (Davies & Sigthorsson 2013). Davies and Sigthorsson define the creative industries as connected with experiences, which, when they take the forms of goods and services, provide work for a number of people ranging from computer programmers to engineers to writers, artists and musicians.
The creative industries sell experience-based products that are based on consumers’ experience. This means that these products are often very complex because they at the same time hold elements of aesthetics, form and a story. The market value of these experience-based products depends on their novelty-value consumers do not with to pay for the same music twice.
Some aspects of the creative industries are often considered not ‘serious’ business, such as’ However these industries and businesses do contribute to and support other economic activities and in some cases entire industries.
Advertising agencies vs. creative agencies ‘ what is the difference?
Working in a creative industry
As mentioned in the above examples, creative industries are comprised of many different types of industries. This means that work structures and patterns can be very different from industry to industry. According to Davies and Sigthorsson, what most contemporary creative industries have in common is that they are characterized by a high number of freelancers and small businesses on the one hand, and the dominant presence of large and often international corporations on the other.
There is no typical day (Davies & Sigthorsson) ‘ especially in small companies and starts up. It depends on where in the process you are.
Careers in a creative industry can often be somewhat unpredictable as most work is project based. The market is constantly changing and it is nearly impossible to predict what work will be needed in the future. This is one of the reasons why many advertising agencies use freelancers, as they can be a necessity if unexpected work needs immediate attention. Most advertising agencies have a rooster of loyal clients who return to this specific agency when they need new work done. It can vary how agencies bring in new clients, but projects are often won by several agencies bidding on a specific project and the brand or prospective client then choosing which agency has the best idea.
Advertising agencies are structured differently depending on factors such as services, size and location. Traditionally, agencies have employees on account services and planning, creative, finance and accounts, media buying and production; all of which have several subdivisions. Larger agencies may also include departments for human resources and research. Naturally, advertising agencies can be structured differently if they focus on a specific service, e.g. digital, web development or social media, and will also include departments focusing on these specific services.
a fundamental characteristic of the creative industry
David Hesmondhalgh and Sarah Baker presents in their book Creative Labour ‘ Media work in three cultural industries a practical and normative model of how workers distinguish good working conditions from bad ones. They also work with the tensions between commerce and creativity and recognize tension as a central characteristic of the contemporary creative industries.
– Jobs are offered on a short-term basis making it difficult to plan ahead ‘ self-exploitation?
Advertising agencies are hired to do creative advertising for their clients (Turnbull & Wheeler 2015 ).
In his book The Cultural Industries, David Hesmondhalgh adapts Ryan’s (1992) analysis of the stages in making and circulating text. He uses them to describe the stages of cultural production, which can also be applied to the branded entertainment industry. First, there is the creative moment, where the idea is born and executed. This stage also includes reproduction and duplication of the product. Secondly, the product is circulated, which involved advertising, packaging (each of which has its own processes of conception and reproduction), making sure that other organizations provide publicity for the product and distributing or broadcasting the product.
These stages are not unique to the creative industry, as many industries involve the conception of an idea, its execution and reproduction of an object, followed by its circulation. But what happens within each stage, and the relations between the stages, reflects the distinctiveness of the cultural industries. It is important to note that these stages do not necessarily follow on from one another, as in the popular imagery of a factory production line. Instead they overlap, interact and sometimes conflict (Hesmondhalgh)
Creativity is important for today’s economy, as new ideas are central for economical growth.
Creativity requires new forms of technology to lower the cost of distribution -> which digital technologies are giving us.
Television economy and ‘distribution revolution’
Traditionally, television is funded by two dominant partners: the studio that produces the content and the network that runs it. The network then recoups its investment by selling advertising space around the content. This financial model has resorted in US commercial television being dominated by advertising norms such as the 30 second commercial (Lotz 2014).
The recent development of TiVO and DVRs have forced advertisers out of television commercial by making it possible for viewers to skip television commercials all together. Amanda D. Lotz defines this development ‘the post-network era’ and explains how there is a shift in the basic practices of making and distributing television. She argues that at the beginning of the post-network era most US television could be categorized as advertiser-supported, subscriber-supported or a combination of these. The post-network era and the rise of the DVR made advertisers experiment with alternatives to the traditional 30-second commercial and as a result introduced multiple advertising strategies such as product placement, branded entertainment and integration, which emerged and has come to coexist alongside the traditional 30-second commercial. These multiple television commercial strategies did not kill the 30-second commercial, as much research believes, but merely reflected the increasing variety of practices and types of television advertisements (Lotz 2014).
Felicia D. Henderson describes in her contribution to the book Distribution Revolution ‘ Conversations About the Digital Future of Film and Television how the rise of alternative television advertisements have changed her creative processes as a writer and producer on television shows. One of the most significant changes is how the collaboration with brands have increased and moved into the creative processes by e.g. placing brand representatives in the writing staff and having to consult with them every time a product is used. She describes how the main challenge is how to make sure that product placement and integrations are complementing the storytelling without driving it or making the show look too much like a (traditional) advertisement (Curtin, Holt & Sanson, 2014). However, she also highlights some benefits to the rising collaboration with brands, as this means longer work hours for the support staff, e.g. writers’ assistants and executing assistants who are becoming more and more included in the creative process as they are often the ones writing the additional supporting content for web etc.
Although viewers may experience a wide array of content simply as television, the different economic models underpinning its creation have significant impact on the content that appears on the screen. Even broadcast networks have begun to rely less on advertiser support, as they began to receive significant retransmission fees from cable systems beginning in the early 2000s. MORE! And more about who is behind it! Varies if it is cable or broadcast?
o Comcast, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV
New technologies in the creative industry the four principles for the open world
Tablets, smart phones and social media have not only created new advertising platforms, but they have also affected the business models in the creative industry. These new technologies have blurred the traditional distinction between professionals and amateurs, as they have brought along an increasing rise in the number of amateurism. Social media such as YouTube and Vine have created new agendas and new agents in media production by making it possible for consumers to become producers themselves. Some critics say that this amateur content might create a credibility issue (source), while others believe that it is an advantage, as people tend to trust reviews and recommendations from friends and family more than traditional and obvious advertisements (source). Since te Internet does not have any limitations as to how much content users can create and upload, this creates a clutter that makes it difficult for brands to stand out.
In 2012 the Canadian businessman and speaker, Don Tapscott, spoke at TEDGlobal about four principles for the open world. He describes how the technological revolution is opening up the world and how businesses and brands can embrace this open world by following these four principles:
1. Collaboration ‘ as we are evolving into a new business world where there are no longer any boundaries in or throughout organizations, it is important to embrace the powerful concept of co-creation with both customers, clients, business partners and competitors.
Technology allows us to share ideas, even across vast distances. When we collaborate, the ideas we come up with are better because we channel more brain power, and companies that want to succeed in this age acknowledge that good ideas can come from anyone.
2. Transparency ‘ it is no longer about providing good value and good products, but about having core values ‘ values that help build trust.
The boundaries of organizations are becoming more transparent, as new technologies strip away barriers to information and the public has greater access. These institutions are becoming ‘naked’ and this is the beset thing for us all according to Tapscott.
3. Sharing ‘ Companies must be willing to give up some of their intellectual properties for the greater societal good. One example is the pharmaceutical industry.
4. Empowerment ‘ Sharing knowledge and intelligence is power. As knowledge is distributed and decentralized, it instills more freedom in individuals, who then often form powerful groups.
The open world is’
Critique of creative labor in the digital era
Stories are found everywhere ‘ in commercials, at home, at work, in the media etc. Audiences are constantly exposed to stories, which means that brands need a captivating story to research their audiences through storytelling. Research shows that information passed on through stories are remembered three times as much as much as ordinary, factual stories.
Earlier brands would use prices and product selections as the primary way to market themselves, but now there is a tendency for audiences to demand more from the brands. They no longer want to be convinced by reasoning, but they want the products to appeal to their emotional sides as well. The products are no longer in focus. Instead brands are trying to create a universe that will entertain and fascinate their audiences. By appealing to the audiences’ feelings there is a bigger chance that the audience will choose this brand instead of the competitions since there is a rising tendency for people to chose products based on emotions and personal relations to the product or the brand (PR essay).
Audiences are now searching for products that will give them a unique experience. Storytelling is a tool that can be used to emphasize a specific message, illustrated through a course of events with a specific structure. Typically, there are four elements of storytelling:
1. The message ‘ a clear and concise message with the purpose of adding positive connotations to the product or brand. Too many messages make the story unclear and messy.
2. The conflict ‘ a conflict or a change that drives the plot of the story. The bigger the conflict, the better and more dramatic story.
3. The characters (rollefordeling) ‘ Characters who interact with each other in the story and support the structure.
4. The plot ‘ a firm structure that leads audiences.