Teaching Old Brands New Tricks with Transmedia Storytelling (1/2)


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Henri Weijo (PhD candidate at Aalto University School of Economics, Department of Marketing) explores transmedia storytelling, showing how many of its practices have already become commonplace in today’s marketing. However, at the end of the presentation I outline ideas on where brands should be going next to really leverage transmedia. Part 1 / 2.

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Teaching Old Brands New Tricks with Transmedia Storytelling (1/2)

  1. 1. Teaching OldBrands New Trickswith TransmediaStorytelling (1/2)Henri WeijoAalto University, Marketing Dept. Luxus Digital Week, 8.2.2012
  2. 2. NOTE: I had to split this presentation into two (and take away some of the graphics) because of Slideshare’s upload limit… sorry. The original was, of course, one presentation.
  3. 3. Who?•  Henri Weijo•  Researcher, lecturer, international man of mystery, PhD @ Aalto since ‘09 on online communities of consumption•  Worked @ Luxus 2008-’09, btw
  4. 4. Who?•  Was going to do my PhD on transmedia storytelling, but moved on (don’t ask!)•  However, I still follow the field with interest and lecture about it when asked to (nicely)
  5. 5. Confession•  This presentation is NOT about “just transmedia storytelling” (that’d be booriiing)•  Transmedia is however a great way to explain where marketing, consumers (well, fans) and the media ecology are kinda/sorta collectively heading
  6. 6. What I’m going to do1. Explain what is transmedia storytelling (and why it matters)
  7. 7. What I’m going to do2.Show that many of transmedia practices have already ”crept into” contemporary marketing
  8. 8. What I’m going to do3. Lastly, I’ll argue that there needs to be a bigger change in brand thinking to fully take advantage of transmedia’s potential
  9. 9. ia do… ed er a t furth thou sm so wi T r an ing ry te ll S to
  10. 10. ”   Lets face it: we have entered an era of media convergence that makes the flow of content across multiple media channels almost inevitable. […] Everything about the structure of the modern entertainment industry was designed with this single idea in mind – the construction and enhancement of entertainment franchises.
  11. 11. •  Transmedia storytelling = the use of multiple platforms to aid in telling a central narrative•  Example: a plot jumps from a movie to a comic book to a video game to a TV show etc.•  However, transmedia storytelling also refers to the audience’s participation in influencing ”where the story goes next”
  12. 12. Two trends that ”caused” transmedia1.  Media industry conglomeration, changes in trademark and copyright laws  media franchises/content much more lucrative as business assets 2.  Change in consumers and the evolution of media / pop culture Naturally, the two trends supported each other
  13. 13. The business side of transmedia
  14. 14. Media convergence and business•  Convergence as a biz phenomenon familiar from other industries (e.g. cars, Morton 2000)•  1990s: massive media consolidation, movie studios being bought by media giants•  Emergence of new media technologies and channels
  15. 15. Media convergence and business•  Digitalization has made content much more malleable  cheap to distribute same content across new channels•  Bottom line: in the late 90s big media houses owned the content (e.g. Hollywood movie rights), media channels and spreading content was becoming cheaper all the time  ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE synergy opportunities
  16. 16. Copyright•  As other business advantages have become hard to sustain (thanks to globalization), intellectual property (inc. brands) has shot up in value and become more ”business friendly”
  17. 17. Did Lucas “cause” transmedia?•  1977: George Lucas managed to get all the Star Wars merchandise rights to himself•  Today: over 20 billion dollars worth of Star Wars merchandise sold•  Movie studios learned their lesson from this
  18. 18. Consumersas readers of transmedia
  19. 19. Media culture evolution•  For transmedia, the most important change in media culture is the constant cross-referencing now happening between different media texts, or “Intertextuality writ large” (Kristeva 1986)•  This makes it difficult and even futile to evaluate or read texts separately•  This is so ingrained to us now that the importance of this is often hard to see
  20. 20. Pop culture and transmedia•  Self-referencing and intertextuality the lingua franca of pop culture•  Transmedia storytelling would not be possible without people’s contemporary media / pop culture literacy•  “Somewhere down the line, popular culture started to reference itself and got really smart.” (McCracken 2008)
  21. 21. Example off the top of my head: The Simpsons’“Deep Space Homer” episode (1994) had atleast 13 direct pop culture references,something like once every two minutes!
  22. 22. “Characters in transmedia stories do notneed to be introduced so much asreintroduced, because they are knownfrom other sources” (Jenkins 2006) "Its as if we are getting so good atcontemporary culture that lots can beremoved.” (McCracken 2009)
  23. 23. Pop culture and advertising•  The 30 second ad spot has heavily contributed to media text cross- referencing!•  If you have to tell and entire story in 30 seconds or less (use of camera angles, aesthetics, music, sound tone etc.), you revert to familiar cues/tropes to be safe  re-enforces these cues / language!
  24. 24. Consumersas creators in transmedia
  25. 25. Consumers•  Fan/community-created content an old phenomenon, e.g. alternative plotlines in fan magazines etc.•  If you trace back even further, for centuries folk culture has been based on people modifying content and putting their spin on it
  26. 26. Consumers•  Participatory fan communities have always “skewed” towards sci-fi, fantasy, soap operas etc.•  This is because these types of stories rely HEAVILY on archetypal characters, because fans can easily “extend” archetypal characters  THIS IS THE BIG LESSON MOST PEOPLE HAVE MISSED!
  27. 27. Consumers•  Content digitalization and new media technologies enabled radical new ways of shaping and sharing content•  Thanks to the Internet, fan communities have started to organize and content manipulation became even more pervasive  participatory culture•  The role of media technlogies in this shift has been grossly overstaded, though
  28. 28. Business Consumers•  New media •  Old folk practices channels of shaping content •  Cheaper •  Media / pop distribution culture literacy•  Digitalization •  New media•  Content technologies consodolidation •  Digitalization•  Copyright •  New communities•  “Synergy!” thanks to the internet