What happens when the person becomes the product?
By Tamara and Kevin LeClair
With the advent of mass production, so came the medium of mass messaging. It became the marketers purview to create media specific to the consumer he intends to speak to. Marketers produce messaging on behalf of Corporate clients that is intended to connect with consumers and create a meaningful bond between them.
This bond generates power of influence. Despite being dependant on many factors, as when a country’s currency was dependant on the amount of gold in its treasury, so Corporate creations (“brands”) establish their value in the marketplace by exercising their power of influence with media spend. As a brand’s media budget and share increases, so does its power of influence in the marketplace, and relatively, so should the bottom line.
“Markets could not flourish without a strong underlying moral culture, animated by empathy and Fellow-feeling, by our ability to understand our common bond as human beings and to recognize the needs of others.” – Adam Smith
With the advent of social media, and the power of media creation being transferred into the hands of the consumer, the marketplace now behaves in opposition to the marketers intended aim, resulting in outcomes in opposition to what is desired. Sales and market shares stagnate, or decline, while media spend increases frantically to make up the difference. Meanwhile, the marketplace itself discovers and exercises its power of influence en masse, creating bonds with each other that exclude the marketers message (ex. Occupy Movement). This bond deepens while marketers continue to perpetuate lifestyle ideas and ideals that the marketplace is clearly stating it cannot sustain, creating conditions it will not tolerate, fulfilling Smiths dictum.
Consumers have begun to realize that they can behave in a way that EARNS media share. When consumers realize that THEIR power of influence is not limited to their investment in media spend, but rather their investment in media creation, marketers must respond to re-establish the underlying moral culture, respond with empathy, and learn to speak to multitudes on a human level in order to recognize and respond to the masses stated needs, thereby returning hope to the marketplace.
Brands must learn to act like the people they cater to.
Generating Quality vs. Quantity impressions.
Anterockstar, a reality video series and web production debuted in 2006, presents real events wrapped in the trappings of professional media production. Developed as a response to the re-produced “reality” presented in the broadcast mainstream, Anterockstar attempts to pioneer a true representation of the real pursuit behind sustaining a performing arts career, as well as an illustration of the influence of commercial brands on private lives. Over the course of it’s 6 year lifespan, Anterockstar has produced over 150 video vignettes (www.youtube.com/anterockstar), as well as three seasons of video material (30 episodes) (www.anterockstar.com).
During the course of production, Anterockstar (the brand) has intersected with countless brands and consumers. As a result, these brands and consumers have shaped our storyline, creating an intricate bond between our brand, and our audience. By 2010, our statistics consistently indicated that we achieve and sustain viewership, but that its size was limited by our reach.
In the spring of 2010 Anterockstar took a broadcast hiatus.
Over the course of this hiatus, Anterockstar became immersed in strengthening the personal bonds we shared with our audience, contributing our talents to many causes. The resulting content shows our achievements, as well as the reciprocant contributions of the hundreds of individuals, from all walks of life, locales, and demographics, who intersected with us. These people lived our adventures with us and sustained us in many ways, sometimes only in the simple act of conversation. Our presence in the marketplace is a result of buy-in from all these individuals, who took a personal stake in a public endeavor, and now have a personal interest in the outcome.
Anterockstar has also intersected with many public entities, whose contributions are also reflected in the storyline. Season III was brought to you by countless brands, notably Durham Region Social Services, The Canadian Breast Cancer Society, The Corporation of the City of Oshawa, Cheri Milaney, LG Fashion Week, Durham Regional Police Services, Metroland, Rogers TV, The Government of Canada, and the Durham Region Children’s Aid Society. The documented impact of these intersections will demonstrate the veracity of these bodies publicly stated messages, and the reality of their service delivery. We are subject to the direct involvement of these entities, and the impact they reaped on our private lives, which we are choosing to make public, demonstrates our bond to them in the marketplace.
By recognizing the value of these organic bonds, which are naturally present in the marketplace, we have become a part of the underlying moral culture. Our model thrives on empathy.
The number of impressions we will generate with the release of Season III will not be due to our investment in media spend, but rather our investment in media creation, and the investment our audience has made (individuals, and brands) in the creation of that media aswell.