Youth Marketing Insights » viral media http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg Inspiring best in practice youth marketing through sharing of ideas, strategy, trends and conversations about cool stuff Thu, 04 Feb 2010 04:31:40 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 What message does fake content reveal to your youth market? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/03/26/what-message-does-fake-content-reveal-to-your-youth-market/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/03/26/what-message-does-fake-content-reveal-to-your-youth-market/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2009 00:49:15 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=91 Last week I finished reading the last post of 8-part installment of “If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead”, (posted and written by Henry Jenkins, co-founder of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program) discussing the misuse of the term “viral” media. The white paper is a lot to digest, but insightful and I have a background in philosophy so am generally a thinker….should’ve been an analyst. Back to my point, the assertion is to be viral by nature assumes that the consumer is an unwilling host to media distributed by a “producer” (insert marketing rep here). Well when you put it that way…I think it highlights the industry’s reluctance to admit that we (a collective we) have lost power of the message. Let’s face it – we are not clever enough to throw this model of collective culture on its head, so why not continually reinforce terminology that inherently emphasises the producer but does not account for user motivations, so at least we can still sleep at night. NB please excuse if I continue to use the word VIRAL in my marketing efforts….I am not “immune” to this either.

But, the connected generation….they are clever. Not necessarily in a I-got-you sort of way, but in a I-see-through-you sort of way. They aren’t merely hosts to our subliminal messages, they choose to engage and spread the message when they see relevant. Good branded content is as good as good non-branded content. When “fake” content is revealed often the final message is not a positive one, it continues to spread but the message behind it has been distorted. As a brand manager we need to choose carefully what we want our lasting impression to be.

So fast forward — all of this is tossing around in my head when today I got this Mini video from @JamesDuthie. There is a classic line in it, “I get it, we’re in a viral”. I love the openness and transparency of it. YES it’s fake, but who cares?! In fact the fact it is makes it more funny than if it were real. It is soooo 2008 to develop a fake, and while it’s only early 2009 that is how fast we are moving and must adapt. Let’s not forget that from the beginning of internet-time the those who got it could always insert themselves into youth pop-culture by being real. As a general rule I don’t believe in hyping up controversy to sell brands – the phrase “any PR is good PR” is one of the worst things that happened to my industry, oh let’s say ever. As professionals we need to further instill that there is very thin line, if one at all, between brand and corporate reputation.

In summary (love my summaries, don’t I?) – what does this highlight to me? We (again that collective “we”) need to understand more the nature of social media and what makes our messages valuable and “spreadable” not viral, and this means owning up to the power shift the digital media has brought upon us. I thank Gen C for forcing this upon us and brining relationships back to the forefront of our communications mix.

That said, please enjoy the Mini video, courtesy of who other than BMW Mini.

PS love this comment: “It IS REAL !! the cousin of my uncle´s maid said that he heard some guy saying his neighbor´s hot daughter had a boyfriend that used to do this tricks with his car !!!! i swear !”

NB highly recommend the above mentioned paper.

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