Mad Men and Scandal: Marketing via Fan Tastes


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Slides that are a precursor to a final paper in Professor Henry Jenkin's course at USC on Fandom, Participatory Culture, and Web 2.0. The paper dives into a brief history of how Television producers and marketers have changed tactics to mimic what had traditionally been fan behaviors the entertainment industry kept at arm's length and then investigates the adoption of these practices using AMC's Mad Men and ABC's Scandal as a case study.

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Mad Men and Scandal: Marketing via Fan Tastes

  1. 1. Marketing Via Fandom use  of  taste   hierarchies  in   participatory  culture   Prepared By Bessie Chu Fandom, Participatory Culture, and Web 2.0
  2. 2. Agenda -­‐What  I’m  doing  and  Why   -­‐Theoretical  Framework  to  Approach   -­‐Recent  Scholarship   -­‐Initial  Observations   -­‐Initial  Conclusions   -­‐Would  love  feedback!  
  3. 3. Intentional Activations Normalization of “Commercial Fan Practices” Awareness  of  using  fan  practices  vis  a  vis   Web  2.0  capabilities     Deliberate  use  of  taste  hierarchies  in   marketing  shows  and  fan  interactions  
  4. 4. Mad Men versus Scandal
  5. 5. Why Does it Matter Further  fan  studies  awareness  of  marketing   mimicry  of  fan  practices  and  its  impact  in  Web   2.0  and  larger  societal  rhetoric  
  6. 6. But First a Theoretical Framework…
  7. 7. Hierarchy of Legitimate Tastes Bourgeois  distance     “legitimate  consumption    of  legitimate  works”   Taste  cultures  relating  to  demarcations  of  identity   classifying  people  and  things     “Discriminating  taste  above  fandom”   Bourdieu (1980)
  8. 8. Third Phase of Fandom Conceptualizing  three  distinct   “waves”  of  fandom  since  1980s   •  “Guerilla  style  tactics  “  in  first   phase   •  1990s  proliferation  of  new   media  and  fan  communities   •  Third  phase  of  examining  the   role  of  fan  objects  and  fans  as   active  producers  because  of   digital  media   Gray (2007)
  9. 9. Web Practices as a Culture Looking  at  the  Web  Commons  as   a  “mind-­‐set,  not  a  specific   form  of  technology.”    “Just  as  there  is  a  change  in  the   interconnected  nature  of   contemporary  media,  so  too  is   there  are  revolution  in  the  way   media  technologies  are  used.     We  can  see  it  in  the  collective   communal  nature  of  the  web,   in  the  self-­‐conscious  nature  of   the  use  of  the  web,  and  in  the   assertiveness  of  fans”  (p.  23).         Booth (2010)
  10. 10. Power Struggles in Web 2.0 Themes  of  how  does  fandom  cope  with  new  power   in  the  Web  2.0  age.     “The  blurring  of  the  borders  between  consumers   and  producers,  as  well  as  growing  awareness  of   the  added  value  of  fan  labor  (Ross,  2008;  Baym  &   BurneD,  2009),  have  led  to  a  percepGon  of   unprecedented  power  held  by  audiences  over   producGon  companies.”     Hadas & Shifman (2013)
  11. 11. Race and Ethnicity in Fandom Gatson (2011) Over  time,  we  have  come  to  focus  particularly  on  the  racialized  flow   of  cultures,  historical  marginalizations  of  specific  populations  based   on  race/ethnicity,  class,  and  gender/sexuality  in  media,  education,  and   scholarship,  and  the  implications  of  how  particular  forms  of  culture   flow  more  easily  than  others.     Cultural  forms  originated  and  produced  by  minority  groups  are  co-­‐ opted,  whitewashed  (and,  conversely,  hyperracialized),  and   historically  monetized  for  the  benefit  of  white  producers  and   consumers.  Simultaneously,  cultural  forms  produced  in  racial/ethnic   spaces  and  communities  for  local  racial/ethnic  audiences  exist  in  and   of  themselves,  for  their  respective  communities.  
  12. 12. Television and Fandom Framework
  13. 13. “No Network is an Island” •  Idea  of  a  show  enabling  fans  to  participate  in   “immersive  environment”  (p.211)       •  “One  of  the  more  intriguing  relationships  I   found  across  the  earlier  and  later  years  of  my   audience  research  revolved  around  viewers’   sense  of  whether  or  not  they  were   watching  “acceptable”  or   mainstream  television,  and  whether  or  not   they  perceived  their  TV-­‐related  activities  to   be  “typical”  (p  12)   •  “In  other  words,  many  of  the  activities  fans  of   this  show  engaged  in  resembled  those  of  cult   fans  -­‐  but  these  activities  were  not  likely  to   have  occurred  if  not  for  the  strategies   evident  within  the  text  and/or  on  the   website”  (p.15)     Ross (2008)
  14. 14. Mainstreaming of Fan Practices Gillian (2011) •  Dawson’s  Desktop  created  as  an   extension  of  the  storyworld   because  producers  engaged  in   “viewing  practices  that  mirrored   those  of  dedicated  fans  of  the   series,  which,  in  term,  impacted  the   kind  of  content  she  provided”  (p.43)     •  Grey’s  Anatomy  in  2000  public   broad  adoption  of  fan  practices  (p  . 233)   •  Grey’s  Anatomy    flogs  (p.  224)  
  15. 15. Mainstreaming of Fan Practices Producers  and  stars  embedded   in  fan  conversations  as  “one   of  us”   “Shonda,  you  have  taken  care   of  us  for  so  long  that  now  it   is  time  for  us  to  take  care  of   you.    Trust  me,  we  all  got   your  back  and  will  be   planted  in  front  of  the  TV   watching”  (9/19/06)  p.  226     Gillian (2011)
  16. 16. Mainstreaming of Fan Practices Historical  note  on  Twitter  initially   a  contested  medium  (p.  244,  p   p.234)   “Some  pointed  out  how  ill-­‐suited   a  TwiDer  feed  was  for   a  television  series  as  it  made  it   impossible  to  concentrate  on   the  acGon  and  took  up  far  too   much  screen  space”  (p.  234)   Gillian (2011)
  17. 17. Media  dependency  on  Participatory  Culture?     "Fans  are  the  most  active  segment  of  the  media  audience,  one  that  refuses   to  simply  accept  what  they  are  given,  but  rather  insists  on  the  right  to   become  full  participants"  (p.  131)   “The  media  industry  is  increasingly  dependent  on  active  and  committed   consumers  to  spread  the  world  about  valued  properties  in  the   overcrowded  media  marketplace,  in  some  cases  they  are  seeking  ways  to   channel  the  creative  output  of  media  fans  to  lower  their  production  costs”   at  the  same  time  "terrified  of  what  happens  if  this  consumer  power  gets   ouf  ot  control"  a  la  Napster  (p  .  134)   Media Dependency on Fans Jenkins (2006)
  18. 18. Producer Relations Web 2.0 Producers  were/are  not  sure  what  to  do  with  fan   activity  and  it  became  a  haphazard  and  contested   space.   “If  AMC  evaluated  the  success  of  promoting  Mad  Men  only   by  easily  measurable  traffic  through  its  officials  channels,   then  discouraging  anything  that  might  distract  people  from   these  destinations  makes  sense.    From  that  mindset,  fan-­‐ created  material  off  official  Mad  Men  channels  is  in   competition  with  the  show,  and  any  traffic  from  those   outlets  receive  dilutes  the  reach  of  the  show’s  official   presence”  (p.  33)       Jenkins (2013)
  19. 19. Engagement Tactics via Fandom
  20. 20. Mad Men Official Deliberate  distance  from  conversation   Elevating  the  show  to  artful  medium  
  21. 21. Mad Men Fan Reactions
  22. 22. Mad Men Advertising Ties
  23. 23. Scandal Official Mass  participation  from  cast  and  crew   Experiencing  the  drama  with  the  audience  
  24. 24. Scandal Fan Participation
  25. 25. Scandal Tie-Ins
  26. 26. External Perceptions of Show and Fans
  27. 27. Mad Men
  28. 28. Scandal
  29. 29. Conclusions Policing  and  order  surrounding  fan  tastes   Shifts  in  producer  relations  both  on  part  of   technology  &  culture  surrounding  that   technology   Movement  toward  mainstreaming  of  practices   and  participatory  culture  as  modus  operandi?     Does any of this matter?
  30. 30. Thank You Questions?