media effects: dissemination, discourse and engagement

Traversing transmedia

In my last post, we very briefly touched on the idea of media effects – the idea that media could create a societal shift, or lay the foundations for an entrenched behaviour. From Baudrillard (simulacra) to Barthes (death of the author), the notion of subconsciously responding to media stimuli – and then enacting what it posits – has been around for a number of years, and the value of the proposition isn’t lost on advertisers. So while we now rubbish the idea of comic books sparking violence (to quote our friend Jim McNamara), that’s not to say that we absorb and engage with media in a way that isn’t profitable – or, as the Frankfurt School would say – the effects of mass media can lead to commodity fetishism.

So why transmedia? Using a multitude of modes and platforms, transmedia aspires to tell the story of the brand, product or service – appealing to an altogether more personal and layered response from the viewer. Rather than hammering home the message through a single medium, the object of transmedia is to avoid brand fatigue altogether while still offering a range of ‘entry points’ – something entirely achievable with the momentum and multiplicity of social media. A decidedly digital movement, transmedia capitalises on accessibility, participation and technological innovation to weave a brand story.

Take a look at the latest Tanqueray campaign. Apart from using dreamboat HBO star Idris Elba as their prime mover and shaker (a pretty sound move, as far as this gin- swilling ‘The Wire’ fan thinks), telling us to ‘grab the night by the junipers’, Tanqueray have released an interactive game on their website – boldly titled ‘The Experience’. Viewers tap and click through five separate scenarios, experiencing a virtual nightclub dedicated to leaving a lasting impression. They can then download a free Aloe Blacc track – penned specifically for the brand. At the commencement of the campaign, they could also remix it and enter a Facebook/Gomix competition judged by Mr. Blacc himself. The campaign spanned across YouTube, Facebook, Gomix, the Tanqueray website, and of course, IRL – holding a range of parties and launches for fans and mailing list members – not just the A-listers who get their drinks for free anyway.

Commodity fetishism? Make mine a (Tanqueray) gin and tonic.


5 comments on “Traversing transmedia

  1. Consuelo Ferrada
    September 19, 2012

    Hi there, I agree with you a want my gin and tonic too.

    Transmedia-storytelling enables people to create their own customer experience.

    Customers don’t want to be “marketed to.” They want to be engaged with, and they want it to meet them where they are at. Maybe it needs to challenge them, maybe it needs to make them feel comfortable, but contrary to much literature on branding, not many people actually think about what drinking a good gin and tonic says about them as a person.

  2. Geoff Barbaro
    September 23, 2012

    Gin squash or Singapore Sling for me please. This is an interesting use of “transmedia” – I wonder if the next stage is getting the participant to create the nightclubs, experiences and competitions for others, and maybe even the company, to enjoy. Good post.
    Cheers, geoff

  3. tabithaacl
    September 24, 2012

    Great point Consuelo! That said, I do think that in an age where consumers are much more conscious of being advertised to, actively creating a strong brand story makes it stick in their heads and is perhaps a bit more thought-provoking. It can also be more welcoming, rather than the one-way strategies of yesteryear. That, I think, is what I’ve taken from this campaign.

  4. MareeEllen
    September 25, 2012

    I’ve never seen Stringer Bell looking so excited Tabitha!! They’ve certainly chosen the right dudes to convey the coolest of gin-and-tonic images with Aloe Blacc in there as well – perhaps appealing to a newer, hipper demographic than one usually associates with gin-drinkers too.

    I think the transmedia approach is likely to be extremely effective in marketing an all-encompassing brand, and if it’s subtle enough we wouldn’t even notice it’s happening to us. And the ‘choose your own adventure’ aspect is appealing too. Getting people actively doing something to interact with a product/brand will make it stick for sure.

    Thought-provoking post – thanks!

  5. tabithaacl
    September 27, 2012

    Thanks Geoff and Maree – I do think bridging transmedia and interactive/experiential strategies sounds like a logical and effective next step. And why not have a bit of fun while doing it?!

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This entry was posted on September 19, 2012 by in Media effects theory, Social media, Transmedia and tagged , , .

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