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Chapter 2 of the Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins breaks down the concept of convergence and relates it to American Idol. American Idol converged television with text messaging technology, and started a marketing craze that empowered the viewer to control the outcome of the show. In the past, television producers enjoyed the luxury of a loyal viewership, because it was the best place to receive media. Today, people have more choices that range from video games to the Internet.

Marketers were looking for new ways to keep people’s attention while making advertisers happy. American Idol was the best of both worlds, because it allowed the viewer to influence the show and simultaneously allowed brands to capitalize on the emotional experience.  Today, consumers are pickier about the media they consume and have more power to spread the word about their experience. Viewers can post to discussion boards, create fan sites, and post YouTube video that could potentially influence a company’s brand. As a result marketers are studying what emotional connections are needed to motive the consumer to become marketers.

“Word of Mouth” has more meaning to it now than ever before. Companies like Coca-Cola took advantage of the media convergence of American Idol and provided consumers with the tools and virtual environments that help foster emotional responses to their products. Jenkins (2006) states, the more companies are able to energize the 20% of their loyal fans, the more return they will see on their investment.  In conclusion, American Idol is a perfect example of how the collective intelligence of fans from around the country can influence marketing strategies.  I also learned that branding has changed from bombarding people with a consistent message in multiple mediums to creating an emotional experience.

Reference:

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture. New York. New York University Press.

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One Comment

  1. The emotional connection with our products is so important and still a thing that most commercial interests get completely wrong. But many are trying. I had to laugh when I heard that cable companies had decided to put someone on the Twitter micro-blogging service under the moniker “@comcastcares” to field questions and mediate for unhappy customers. It seems like a good idea. Too bad Comcast has filed for bankruptcy this past week. Ack.


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