Friday, August 31, 2012

Mas110 Essay Ellen Stacey 42912083

-Discuss the phenomenon of digital media convergence in relation to advertising and new media.
The ongoing confrontation of old and new media technologies is complex and multilayered. Media convergence involves the merging of distinct media and information technology systems, which have previously been seen as two separate entities. As a result of convergence, companies and brands have chosen to advertise through a wider range of media platforms in order to reach the greater market that these new digital technologies allow for. In a rapidly developing society, advertisers need to engage, create and maintain relationships between consumers and their brands. In recent years online advertising expenditure has often become greater then outdoor, cinema and magazine advertising expenditure, as well as challenging radio advertising expenditure in many countries (Spurgeon 2008). This is due to the to the immense number of consumers that advertisers can reach online as opposed to traditional media. As the circulation of media content is dependent heavily on a consumers active participation (Jenkins 2006), advertising online involves many interactive aspects to help the consumer engage in their product, and in turn, create loyalty.

In recent years the advertising industry has been forced to rapidly evolve as a result of the convergence of different forms of digital media. In a competitive industry, such as advertising, in order to succeed, companies need to disperse media through multiple channels. When discussing digital media convergence it is clear that the Internet has become one of the most popular channels in which to target consumers. According to Sheehan and Morrison (2009) the Internet search engine is probably the single most important development for informational advertising since the time of the first paid newspaper advertisements or the telephone directory. In less then a decade, search engines have transformed into new globally significant and increasingly locally-relevant advertising-funded media services and institutions. This development is a result of growing consumer scepticism for claims made by advertisers. Consumers are becoming less loyal to brands and paying more attention to recommendations from friends and family than they do to advertisements, and, as such, traditional advertising is failing in its purpose. The advertising industry has needed to adapt and change their business policies and practices based on this increasing consumer usage of the Internet.

The convergence of television and Internet has opened up many potential opportunities for companies to target customers in ways not available with traditional television advertising. For instance, online advertising has interactive aspects in which consumers are allowed to engage with the content. New levels of creativity and engagement come as a result. An example of a brand that uses interaction as a form of advertising technique is Cadbury. When viewing the Cadbury website (as seen below) one can enter links that lead to a range of different functions. These include connections to Cadbury’s Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as to an online forum in which the consumer can ask questions, or share their thoughts, tips and recipes. Additionally there are links to a notice board, competitions page and current video advertisements. Whilst on the website, the consumer is exposed to an extensive range of advertising messages about the product, involving consumer involvement. This involvement, not present in traditional methods of advertising, has the effect of not making the consumer feel that he is being targeted. The message comes across in a more subtle way making the consumer feel more comfortable with the brand. This webpage demonstrates a clear shift away from traditional methods of advertising such as standard television commercials, to online advertising, in which interactivity adds to the depth of consumer engagement in the product.

Social media is commonly used by advertisers in order to gain greater endorsement for certain products. Many brands and companies have created Facebook and Twitter pages as a way of staying connected to a wider range of consumers. In most instances one can now access these social media sites using either a computer or mobile device, and with 500 million Twitter users worldwide, and an estimated one billion users of Facebook by the end of 2012, it is clear why companies and brands are keen to take advantage of these new markets. When a person follows or likes a certain brand on these social media sites, they become open to a range of notices, promotions or viral videos which the viewer can share with a friend. This creates a spread of information in a way traditional forms of media could have never imagined. Nike’s Facebook page, which currently has over 10 million ‘Likes’, is a prime example of the way in which companies have capitalised on the far reaching-markets that have resulted from the convergence of mobiles and the Internet. 

In order to succeed, agencies need to recognize that society has moved from an information culture to a convergence culture, and evolved with emerging technologies and shifts in consumer needs. Online users now have the opportunity to voice their opinions on certain brands and therefore advertising agencies must recognize that they need to interact with customers, to learn what customers want to know and what they want done. Therefore, they must distribute content over various platforms and access devices, in order to remain innovative (Dwyer, T 2010). These agencies can then determine whether loyalty has been created between the advertiser and the consumer through consumer participation, and in turn, adjust their advertising strategy to better suit consumer needs. Essentially, a convergence culture demands innovation and advertising agencies that embrace convergence culture will be in the best position to deal with these changing times.


-Spurgeon, C. (2008) ‘Advertising and New Media’, Ozon Routledge, p 24-45
-Dwyer, T. (2010) ‘Media Convergence’, Mcgraw Hill, Berkshire. Pp 1-23
-Jenkins, H. (2006) Convergence Culture: Where old and New Media Collide, New York University Press
-Sheehan, K and M (2009) Beyond convergence: Confluence culture and the role of the advertising agency in a changing world, in First Monday vol 14 no 3
-Meikle, G. Young, S. (2012) “Media Convergence: Networked Digital Media in Everyday Life”, Palgrave Macmillon.
Sinclair, John and Wilken, Rowan (2009) 'Waiting for the kiss of life: mobile media and advertising' Convergence: the journal of research into new media, vol 15 no 5 pp 427 - 44

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