Remixable Advertising

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Essay about how the traditional ad industry is changing to produce campaigns that give consumers the power to remix (and spread) content for clients.

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Remixable Advertising

  1. 1. 
 Remixable
Media
and
the
Advertising
Industry
 by
Werner
Iucksch
 
 “[Kids]
aren’t
rebelling
against
the
marketers;
they
want
to
 be
the
marketers.
That’s
the
rebellion.”
 Rana
Reeves

 creative
director
of
Shrine
Communications

 (in
Mason, 2008, p. 226)
 
 Introduction
 The
rising
prevalence
of
remixable
media
is
creating
a
big
change
in
the
way
 advertising
agencies
operate.

Consumers
have
always
influenced
advertising,
 but
remixing
goes
way
beyond
it.
The
work
agencies
deliver,
the
kind
of
 professionals
they
employ
and
the
level
of
control
over
the
work
are
being
 impacted
by
it.
This
essay
will
explore
the
ramification
and
implications
of
remix
 culture
in
the
advertising
world.


 This
topic
can
be
discussed
in
a
number
of
ways,
such
as
how
the
increasing
 popularity
of
remixable
media
is
shaping
traditional
advertising
(i.e.
TV,
radio,
 print,
billboards,
newspapers)
in
terms
of
visual
language,
format,
values,
etc;
or
 how
consumer‐led
initiatives
are
affecting
brands
(e.g.
are
the
omnipresent
user‐ generated
“Priceless”
parodies
damaging
MasterCard?).
However,
this
essay
will
 focus
on
a
particular
facet
of
remixable
culture
that
has
a
deeper
impact
on
how
 the
ad
industry
operates:
the
flourishing
of
advertising
campaigns
that
are
meant
 to
be
remixed
by
the
public.
 
 As
a
first
step,
to
understand
how
advertising
practice
is
changing,
it
is
important
 to
understand
how
they
used
to
operate.
 
 The
traditional
advertising
process
 Traditional
advertising
agencies
have
a
fairly
simple
production
process.
 Basically
they
get
a
brief
from
a
client
(e.g.
product
launch)
and
through
its
 various
departments,
the
agency
would
develop
(in
this
example)
the
following
 documents:
 1) A
strategic
proposal
showing
what
is
the
best
way
of
selling
the
product
 (what
are
the
opportunities,
important
consumer
insights,
values
that
 should
be
present
in
the
communication
and
how
to
take
advantage
of
 them).

  2. 2. 2) Creative
executions,
materializing
what
the
strategy
is
all
about
(the
ads
 as
they
would
appear
to
the
consumers:
film
scripts
in
standard
length,
 print
mock‐ups,
etc.)
 3) A
media
plan
describing
where,
when
and
at
what
cost
the
creative
 material
should
be
placed
(e.g.
3
x
30
second
insertions
on
Channel
9
 News/day
for
2
weeks).
 If
approved
by
the
client,
the
executions
would
be
produced
and
displayed
as
 agreed.
Every
message
about
this
new
product
would
be
positive,
as
the
 advertiser
controls
them.

 Most
of
the
impact
of
remixable
campaigns
impact
in
on
points
2
and
3,
as
well
as
 production,
as
it
is
discussed
below.
 
 The
remixing
impact
on
the
process
 As
many
markets
are
getting
commoditized
with
lack
of
differentiation
between
 brands,
many
advertisers
see
the
phenomenon
of
remix
culture
as
an
 opportunity
to
(re‐)build
strong
connections
with
their
clients,
hoping
to
 increase
loyalty,
brand
equity
and
sales,
because
of
remixing
engaging
nature.

 The
brand
that
endeavours
into
creating
campaigns
that
promotes
remixing,
 however,
is
confronted
with
a
series
of
issues:
 A) Convincing
the
audience
to
engage
in
a
meaningful
way
 B) Finding
ways
of
reducing
the
risk
of
negative
content
 C) Distributing
the
new
remixed
message
 These
are
not
all
the
issues
and
they
overlap.
However,
this
separation
does
 allow
discussing
how
the
process
is
changing.
 
 A)
Convincing
the
audience
to
engage
in
the
remix
 Users
know
that
when
they
are
engage
in
doing
a
video
for
a
brand,
for
example,
 they
are
being
advertised
to
and
understand
the
commercial
purposes
of
the
 brand.
They
want
to
have
some
kind
of
reward
(e.g.
fame,
fun,
money)
and
it
can
 lead
to
a
completely
meaningless
exchange
for
the
brand,
if
marketing‐savvy
 users
just
harvest
reward
offered
by
brands,
giving
nothing
in
return,
for
 example.
 There
is
an
endless
number
of
ways
to
engage
consumers
into
remixing
content,
 varying
dramatically
in
complexity
and,
therefore,
its
impact
on
how
the
industry
 operate.
Below
are
some
of
these
ways
and
their
implication
for
agencies
and
 marketers:
 
 1) To
give
great
amount
of
media
material
to
enable
the
remixing
in
a
pre‐ defined
way.
Hyundai
USA
(2009)
launched
the
“Epic
Lap”
campaign,
in

  3. 3. which
website
with
footage
of
a
test
drive
was
set
up
to
consumers
to
let
 them
edit
it
as
they
wish.

 In
this
case
the
bigger
challenge
is
not
to
produce
the
material,
but
to
 make
the
remix
technology
available.
Ad
agencies
don’t
have
a
history
of
 developing
tools
for
consumers,
but
it
has
to
change
to
make
initiatives
of
 this
kind
viable.
 
 2) To
focus
on
extensive
content
on
themes
relevant
to
the
consumer
and
 requesting
collaboration
to
keep
it
interesting.
Sprite
Australia (2008)
is
a
 good
example,
as
its
campaign
discusses
“unsaid
truths”
generating
 ongoing
participation
with
direct
reference
from
the
audience
in
different
 media.

 Advertising
agencies
traditionally
don’t
master
this
format,
for
the
usual
 distribution
and
production
channels
makes
cost‐prohibitive
to
make
 longer
stories.
Getting
liberated
from
internalized
old
production
+
 broadcasting
mental
barriers
is
a
challenge.
 
 3) If
the
brand/product
counts
with
some
sympathy
and
engagement,
such
 as
entertainment
products,
there
is
the
possibility
of
going
very
deep
with
 the
remixable
content.
The
launch
of
film
“A.I.”,
for
example,
had
a
teaser
 materialized
by
the
interactive
real‐time
puzzle
“The
Beast”
(Jenkins, 2006, p. 123),
encouraging
users
to
remix
and
create
communities
around
 the
film.

 The
skill
to
create
this
kind
of
interaction
is
closer
to
that
of
film
writing
 than
to
advertising
copy;
the
kind
of
software
necessary
is
different;
the
 metrics
to
analyse
success
are
different.
 
 B)
Finding
ways
of
reducing
the
risk
of
negative
content
 Corporations
are
looked
at
suspiciously
on
the
Internet
for
they
usually
stand
for
 hierarchy
and
control
and
these
are
values
completely
opposite
to
those
 prevalent
in
most
Internet
circles
(Dijk, 2006, p. 33).
 When
a
company
is
sponsoring
the
creation
of
content
about
itself
it
is
perfectly
 possible
for
users
to
mock
the
company
in
many
ways.
GM
was
one
of
the
first
 companies
to
suffer
with
it
as
they
enabled
consumers
to
edit
and
upload
 branded
videos
directly
to
the
Internet.
Many
users
took
the
chance
to
protest
 against
GM
instead
(Huba, 2006).
 There
also
are
many
copyright
issues.
Any
given
consumer
may
use
 unauthorised
songs
of
U2
to
remix
a
video,
for
example,
the
potential
lawsuits
 are
rarely
worth
the
risk.
Legal
departments
have
to
be
more
involved
and
can
 effectively
impact
on
the
creative
process
like
never
before.
 As
a
norm,
therefore,
most
companies
will
try
to
create
some
kind
of
restriction
 that
allows
them
to
filter
excesses.
Examples
include
allowing
the
remixed
 version
to
be
uploaded
to
the
company’s
website
only
and/or
let
the
remix
 become
sharable
only
after
approval.


  4. 4. However,
that
is
not
always
satisfactory
and
feasible.
Consumers
can
get
very
 frustrated
by
restrictions
and
when
the
remixed
content
is
text
and
still
images,
 it’s
more
difficult
to
stop
users
from
spreading
whatever
they
want.
This
is
why
 the
marketers
have
to
understand
well
their
role
in
the
community
of
content
 generating
users.
It’s
important
to
keep
a
constant
and
respectful
presence,
not
 only
talking,
but
also
listening
and,
most
importantly,
collaborating
with
the
 community
(e.g.
new
products,
content).
These
are
the
fundamental
stones
of
 Internet
culture
(Castells, 2001, pp. 37-63)
and
should
be
embraced
by
marketers.

 This
is
a
full‐time
job
to
which
advertising
agencies
are
also
adapting
to
execute.
 The
advertising
world
works
with
the
logic
of
campaigns,
with
well‐defined
 beginning
and
end
dates,
this
has
to
be
changed
because
the
management
of
a
 meaningful
digital
presence
must
be
ongoing.

 
 3)
Distributing
the
remixed
message
 In
many
cases
the
brands
will
want
the
remixed
messages
to
be
disseminated
as
 a
fundamental
part
of
the
overall
strategy.
However,
as
users
utilize
a
network
 (e.g.
internet)
to
spread
messages
and
this
is
very
different
from
traditional
 broadcast
media.
Barabàsi
(2003)
demonstrated
that
in
networks
it’s
paramount
 to
detect
who
are
the
hubs
to
reach
the
target
audience.
Getting
the
hubs
to
agree
 to
help
disseminate
the
message
is
not
simple,
because
it
does
not
depend
only
 on
commercial
interests,
but
also
social
relationships
based
on
trust.
The
reach
 of
a
campaign
is
never
as
predictable
as
in
traditional
media.
 This
is
a
significant
shift.
Social
media
is
“word
of
mouth
on
steroids”,
but
the
 logic
to
make
use
of
it
is
not
straightforward,
many
things
are
important
to
 motivate
people
to
forward
their
remix
and
companies
are
learning
with
users,
 such
as
the
ad
agency
Fallon
Worldwide
that
recently
prepared
a
case
study
of
 the
user
generated
video
“Kittens
Inspired
by
Kittens” (Kelly, 2008)
to
show
how
 it
managed
to
reach
more
than
4
million
views
and
1.5
million
Google
citations. (Spicer, 2009)
 
 Conclusion
 “Remixable
campaigns”
without
a
doubt
is
changing
the
way
the
advertising
 industry
operates.

This
is,
however,
a
doubled‐edged
sword
that
has
to
be
well
 thought
before
being
unleashed.
The
industry
is
still
learning
how
to
use
it
now
 and
gets
cut
from
time
to
time.
Embracing
“remixable
campaigns”
without
 having
done
a
good
job
in
the
areas
mentioned
can
have
harmful
effect.

 However,
the
tremendous
opportunities
to
generate
more
distinctive
and
 meaningful
relationships
with
consumers
are
clear.
In
order
to
seize
the
 opportunities
the
industry
has
to
adjust
human
resources,
formats,
control
 mechanisms,
legal
framework
and,
most
importantly,
mindset
from
marketers.

 This
process
tends
to
be
good
for
advertising
agencies,
marketers
and
 consumers.
Despite
potential
losses
in
the
way,
the
industry
might
find
itself

  5. 5. renovated
in
terms
of
capabilities
in
the
near
future.
Advertisers
tend
to
gain
 relevance
from
consumers
as
they
start
to
get
it
right.
And
consumers
may
find
 the
brands
more
interesting
than
they
are
today.
 
 Bibliography
 Barabàsi,
A.‐L.
(2003).
Linked
­
How
everything
is
connected
to
everything
else
and
 what
it
means
for
business,
science
and
everyday
life.
Cambridge,
Massachusetts,
 USA:
Plume.
 Castells,
M.
(2001).
The
Internet
Galaxy:
reflections
on
the
internet,
business
and
 society.
New
York:
Oxford
University
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 Coca‐Cola
Company.
(2008).
Truth
Hunters.
Retrieved
March
19,
2009,
from
 Sprite:
http://www.thirstfortruth.com.au/
 Dijk,
J.
v.
(2006).
Network
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J.
(2006,
April).
Why
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tahoe
campaign
was
doomed
before
it
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October
30,
2008,
from
Church
of
Customer
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 http://customerevangelists.typepad.com/blog/2006/04/why_chevy_tahoe.html
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(2009,
January).
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Coupe:
Affordable
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 300+hp
Sport
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March
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from
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 http://hyundaigenesis.com/coupe
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H.
(2006).
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Collide.
New
 York,
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York
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A.
(2008,
September).
Kittens
inspired
by
kittens.
Retrieved
March
18,
 2009,
from
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtX8nswnUKU
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M.
(2008).
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York,
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Free
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February).
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Inspired
by
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 March
20,
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