Friday, August 31, 2012

Assessment 1: Online Essay Edward Midgley 42410363

Edward Midgley 42410363

Discuss the phenomenon of digital media convergence in relation to Advertising & New Media

Digital Media Convergence is the concept that anyone with a PC could Create, Distribute, or Consume various forms of media. Also the ability to now watch media on a variety of devices such as mobile phones, laptops, rather then the Traditional TV or Desktop Computer. This convergence has led to a change in the way that advertising is created and used and has brought upon an era of “New Media”. This essay will discuss how our society came to adopt digital media convergence and what it is comprised of.

The Phenomenon arose as a solution to the many issues with traditional media. With the problems surrounding the production of physical media it was not unlikely that there would be a shift to a new medium. In the Traditional world media was developed on physical items such as photos, newspapers or if it was digital it was only shown on TV. It was not only expensive to buy these products it was an expensive process to create them and as such only a few companies had the resources to create them. Consumers were subject to as much advertising as the creator was willing to put in and had no ability to filter this. Physical media also had problems in being redistributed as it was perishable.

Because of all these issues media became increasingly available online, and because the consumers were shifting to a digital focus many companies adopted this as well or suffered. This created issues for all traditional distributors; Advertisers could no longer force consumers to watch as online media could have commercials cut out, Newspaper Firms were faced with a plethora of independent online sites that would display news stories and consumers no longer had need for physical papers, and TV&Film production companies now had a serious problem with the distribution of illegally copied media that they could not prevent.

This led to the new age of digital media and the surge of companies trying to adapt to the change and create new forms of media and advertising that would reach an audience that no longer listened to traditional media. Through viral marketing campaigns, social media advertising, and youtube commercials companies would attempt to win back an augmented audience.

Advertising and new media has become the focus of most advertising agencies and can be seen used across the internet through blogs, social media, and youtube viral videos. One such example is Virgin Mobile's campaign “Fair Go”. In this camping they enlisted the brother of Brad Pitt, Doug Pitt to film a series of TV and Internet videos as well as still photos for banners. The videos have generated over 1 million views online and have reached countless viewers on traditional TV and print. Not so much a controversial campaign but it generated a lot of interest due to the unknown nature of the hero. People had probably never heard of the lesser known brother but were interested because of his relation to the Hollywood star. The campaign was aimed to advertise that virgin mobile gave everyone a “Fair Go” but managed to create interest through its confusing choice of the star. Virgin Mobile marketing director David Scriber said “With consumer engagement paramount to success, we wanted to push the boundaries and develop a campaign that had social and mobile at the heart of it and is supported by a significant ATL campaign rather than simply leading with a TVC”. ATL refers to above the line which traditionally means Print, Radio, and TV but in this case he is referring to the use of all forms of media to reach the biggest audience. The advertisements can be found throughout traditional media but also on the virgin mobile site and also on Doug Pitt's facebook as well as the viral site This is an example of a media convergence campaign that was ultimately successful.

In Sheehan Et Al, Beyond Convergence(2009) we are introduced to the concept that brand loyalty is not as strong as it once was. Sheehan writes that rather than consumers sticking to a brand they have liked in the past they are relying on the thoughts and opinions of their close friends and family. This is a direct relation to new media and convergence, consumers are not so narrow sighted as traditional media once forced them to be. With the readily available digital information sources consumers can easily read reviews posted by unbiased sources and can see on a daily basis the views of people they are connected with through social media. Sheehan notes that digital convergence is one of the biggest challenges ever faced by advertising agencies and that agencies are constantly struggling to change from mass media messages to a more personal and direct message which is craved by the modern audience. An example of a viral video that was successful and generated 114 million views was the “Still Free” campaign run by Ecko. The video shows an unknown graffiti artist “Marc Ecko” in a controversial clip where he is seen to tag the presidential plane Air Force One. The clip was later found out to be a fake but successfully generated hype and interest and ultimately would have generated sales for the Ecko clothes brand.

Jenkins(2006) writes in Convergence Culture: Where old and new culture collide, that the birth of digital media convergence came from the bedroom of a college student Dino Ignacio. In 2001 he created a photo shopped image of the character Bert from sesame street along side terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden. The image was used as propaganda by anti-us forces and caused worldwide controversy. It is arguably one of the most notable points in modern history where convergence has been used unintentionally to create hate through advertising.

In a separate journal Jenkins(2004) discusses the phenomenon of Media Culture and how the creators of art and media related to film or tv are not wasting their lives but are the biggest contributors to the modern media culture advertising. In a new media world where advertising is not as shallow as it once had been the fans have become partial advertisers. Where advertisements had previously failed pop culture fans created spoofs of the popular film Star Wars that helped promote the release of the new film. A film trailer ran in cinemas for Austin Powers but was made in such a fashion that it resembled a trailer for the new star wars film only to have the main villain “Dr Evil” appear at the end to say “you expected someone else?”.

Advertising in the current landscape can be seen as a convergence of Traditional and New Media. It is used across a digital medium by anyone who has access to a pc or portable device to reach vast audiences and has forever changed the way in which we interact with each other. The examples noted above can show that advertising is much more complex than we realise and it takes less effort than ever before to distribute media but much more effort than ever before to effectively achieve the right message.


Fair Go Bro, Virgin Australia, Created 2012, Accessed 22/8/2012,

Still Free Campaign, Ecko Clothing Company, Accessed 15/8/2012,

"Virgin gives Doug Pitt a go”,, Accessed 18/8/2012,

Sheehan, Kim and Morrison, Deborah (2009) Beyond convergence: Confluence culture and the role of the advertising agency in a changing world, First Monday vol 14 no 3

Jenkins, Henry (2006), Convergence Culture: Where old and new media collide, NY University Press, pp1-3

Thornton, David, Jenkins, Henry, 2004 , Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition, First MIT press paperback edition, Chapter 18 pp 281-287

No comments: