Friday, August 31, 2012

Cindy Lee Assignment 1- Digital Media Convergence

Look at your mobile phone. Now look at this essay. Look at what’s on TV. Now look back at this essay. Sadly, this isn’t the “Old Spice” ad, however the viral YouTube advertisement itself is a classic example of how digital media convergence has had overpowering schemes on the advertising industry. Burton (2005) states “convergence does not simply generate new media. It opens up new possibilities for ‘old media.’” This means that media convergence takes advantage of features and benefits offered through other media outlets. This essay will discuss the phenomenon of digital media convergence focusing on the advertising and new media, through the use of mobile phone, search engines and social network media, and the newly introduced trend of ‘Madison and Vine’. Through these mediums, it displays the way advertisers understand and strategically reach audiences.
Media convergence is an understanding of the “process whereby new technologies are accommodated by existing media and communication industries and cultures” (Dwyer, 2010 p 2). One phenomena resulting from media convergence that Wilken and Sinclair (2009) states, are the factors that contribute to the rather hesitant adaptation of mobile advertising. As cited in ‘Waiting for the kiss of life’ Wilken and Sinclair evidently articulate that the mobile phone is given this “rapid rise of …adoption and ownership” illuminating that it has been the global marketers’ advertising medium of choice since the mid 2000s. Furthermore, mobile phone advertising can be broken down in two parts, on-deck and off-deck (Wilken and Sinclair, 2009) On-deck advertising includes “a site or the browsing experience on the carrier portal,” which generally refers to marketing messages received and viewed directly on the mobile handset, such as SMS messages. Off-deck advertising, on the other hand, is “advertising through the mobile internet at sites outside of carrier portals.” Elaborating on the statistics of mobile advertising, Erik Schonfeld’s website (, 2009) cites that the mobile advertising market will “balloon from $160 million in 2008 to $3.1 billion in 2013”, which clearly states the rapid growth of this form of advertising and will continue to exceed more. Moreover, with the understanding of content of the interactive relationship with the consumer allows the medium to move and flow with pulsing excitement in the creation, publication, distribution and consumption of media in real time making it phenomenal. 

Corresponding with the marvel of mobile phone advertising, the internet search engine is described as "single most important development for informational advertising since the time of the first paid newspaper advertisement" (Spurgeon, C. 2008, p 25). This can be evident in search engines such as Google and Yahoo!. They have become the most popular leading tools for advertising industries to reach their audiences. Below are two YouTube clips depicting a commercial for Yahoo! in the 90's. The commercial was designed to portray the idea that the "citizen consumers use search media to target useful information" (Spurgeon, C. 2008 p 25). Further emphasising the audiences' needs and wants from the global marketers. Advertising in search engines and social network media is the largest, and one of the fastest growing segments of online advertising. Due to rising popularity of online advertising, Spurgeon (2008) states that it is rapidly exceeding"outdoor, cinema and magazine expenditure." The growth of social networking media or Web 2.0 such as MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have enlightened opportunities to "link search (engine) to social networks" (Spurgeon, C. 2008 p 26). This is now a "favoured destination of choice for audiences, especially in younger age cohorts" (Dwyer, T. 2010 p 17) those who are more familiar with new media and technology.

While it is known that search culture “makes small advertisers more discoverable” (Spurgeon, C. 2008, p 27) it has not exceeded the result of reaching and engaging the consumers of most value to them. It is when the transitional advertisers are dissatisfied with ‘old media’ and introduced the “trend of branded content” (Spurgeon, C. 2008 p 27). This is also known to be described as ‘Madison and Vine’ or the merging of advertising and entertainment (advertainment). In the book “Madison and Vine” edited by Scott Donaton (2004) describes the ideology of this trend is “advertising by invitation rather than by intrusion,” meaning that making advertisements entertaining draws in more attention, increasing the desire for viewers to watch. An example of branded content can be seen in the “Old Spice” advertisement, featuring Isaiah Mustafa. The extravagance of having a popular spokesperson representing the product of the “Old Spice” did not stop the advertisers to “rest on the laurels” (Evans, M. 2012). This advertising campaign is linked with the Super Bowl, which in addition, cleverly became an “advertainment showcase” which exceeded with more than ten million viewers. Evans’ blog states that the advertisers “created an interactive social media campaign” such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, so that the users and fans could ask questions. With the additional fan service in connecting with the social networking media, this video has become viral “by the word of mouth” (Hilderbrand, L. 2007).

Digital media convergence in advertising and new media connects the people to the product being advertised, as they are just a click away from voicing their opinions. Therefore, digital media convergence was explored in this essay, focusing on advertising and new media. We gained understanding of how new media is used in advertising industry to actively engage the audience through social media to encourage ‘word of mouth’. The continuous change in digital media will introduce trends and new ways to campaign in the advertising industries.

Burton, G, (2005). Media and Society, critical perspectives. 2nd ed. England: McGraw Hill-international.
Dwyer, T. (2010) Media Convergence, McGraw Hill, Berksire, pp 1-23

Erik Schonfeld (2009). Mobile Advertising Is Shaping Up To Be All Search. [ONLINE] Available at: [Last Accessed 28/8/12].

Hilderbrand, L. (2007) 'Youtube: Where Cultural Memory and Copyright
Converge', Film Quarterly, Vol 61, pp 48-57
Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where
old and new media collide. NY University Press, 1-25.

Mark Evans (2012). What are the Best Social Media Campaigns Ever?. [ONLINE] Available at: [Last Accessed 28/8/12].

Scott Donaton, (2004). Madison and Vine. 1st ed. United States of America: McGraw Hill.

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 - 445
Spurgeon, C. (2008) Advertising and New Media, Oxon, Routledge, pp 24-45.


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