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Teaching Old
Brands New Tricks
with Transmedia
Storytelling (1/2)
Henri Weijo
Aalto University, Marketing Dept. 
Luxus Digital Week, 8.2.2012
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.
Who?
•  Henri Weijo
•  Researcher,
   lecturer,
   international man
   of mystery, PhD @
   Aalto since ‘09 on
   online communities
   of consumption
•  Worked @ Luxus
   2008-’09, btw
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)
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
What I’m going to do

1. Explain what is
  transmedia storytelling
  (and why it matters)
What I’m going to do

2.Show that many of
  transmedia practices
  have already ”crept
  into” contemporary
  marketing
What I’m going to do

3. Lastly, I’ll argue that
  there needs to be a bigger
  change in brand thinking
  to fully take advantage of
  transmedia’s potential
ia
                           do…


             ed
                      er a
               t furth
          thou


         sm

 so   wi




 
T r an         ing
        ry te ll
  S  to
” 	
  
   Let's 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.
• 
 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”
Two trends that ”caused” transmedia

1.  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
The business
 side of
 transmedia
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
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
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”
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
Consumers
as readers of
 transmedia
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
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)
Example off the top of my head: The Simpsons’
“Deep Space Homer” episode (1994) had at
least 13 direct pop culture references,
something like once every two minutes!
“Characters in transmedia stories do not
need to be introduced so much as
reintroduced, because they are known
from other sources” (Jenkins 2006) 




"It's as if we are getting so good at
contemporary culture that lots can be
removed.” (McCracken 2009)
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!
Consumers
as creators in
  transmedia
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
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!
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
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

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

  • 1. Teaching Old Brands New Tricks with Transmedia Storytelling (1/2) Henri Weijo Aalto University, Marketing Dept. Luxus Digital Week, 8.2.2012
  • 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. Who? •  Henri Weijo •  Researcher, lecturer, international man of mystery, PhD @ Aalto since ‘09 on online communities of consumption •  Worked @ Luxus 2008-’09, btw
  • 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. 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. What I’m going to do 1. Explain what is transmedia storytelling (and why it matters)
  • 7. What I’m going to do 2.Show that many of transmedia practices have already ”crept into” contemporary marketing
  • 8. What I’m going to do 3. Lastly, I’ll argue that there needs to be a bigger change in brand thinking to fully take advantage of transmedia’s potential
  • 9. ia do… ed er a t furth thou sm so wi T r an ing ry te ll S to
  • 10.
  • 11. ”   Let's 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.
  • 12. •  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”
  • 13.
  • 14. Two trends that ”caused” transmedia 1.  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
  • 15. The business side of transmedia
  • 16. 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
  • 17. 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
  • 18. 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”
  • 19. 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
  • 20.
  • 22.
  • 23. 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
  • 24. 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)
  • 25. Example off the top of my head: The Simpsons’ “Deep Space Homer” episode (1994) had at least 13 direct pop culture references, something like once every two minutes!
  • 26. “Characters in transmedia stories do not need to be introduced so much as reintroduced, because they are known from other sources” (Jenkins 2006) "It's as if we are getting so good at contemporary culture that lots can be removed.” (McCracken 2009)
  • 27.
  • 28.
  • 29. 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!
  • 31.
  • 32. 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
  • 33.
  • 34. 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!
  • 35.
  • 36. 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
  • 37. 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