MECO 6936 Assignment 3
Yan Zeng 460192163
Cherry Baylosis Thursday 18:00 – 21:00
The emergence of new media, such as social media platforms and video sharing websites, along with their emphasis on participation have changed the way we communicate. With the popularization of internet and mobile terminal equipment like a smart phone, we now are capable of sharing information to the whole society without limitation of time or distance. The UGC (user generated content) phenomenon then arise, users now are no longer simply consumers but also become a part of the original material as a media producer (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). Due to its characteristic of second spreading, it soon attracts attention from academic researcher and advertising agency. However, the requirement of a dedication of time and other forms of capital (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013), it is not easy to arouse the enthusiasm of user to take part in generating content.
In this article, I will argue that when user’s psychological reactance degree towards advertisement reduces, they will tend to be more agreeable to generate related content of a campaign.
“This is obviously a marketing campaign!”
That’s what most of the consumers will think of towards an advertisement. Why ordinary consumer dislike commercial campaign so much even when there are wrong about them? For example, when intermediaries post something ‘sponsored’ on their social media account, there will be some other users, usually, their followers accusing them of taking money for posting on comment. People dislikes this kind of behavior is not because they are illegal or unethical, but most of those commercial campaigns evoke a disgusting feeling called psychological reactance. It occurs in response to threats to perceived behavioral freedoms, some commercial campaigns take your freedom in a way you that think is unreasonable. In the intermediaries example, it will be taking your right to read posts that you truly care for. Psychological reactance towards advertisement and marketing is ‘advertisement avoidance’ (Specks & Elliot, 1997).
Scenario Task Setting
Cho & Cheon (2004) come up with a theoretical model, in which they consider ad avoidance can be caused by perceived goal impediment. When consumers are using the internet, they are usually goal-directed, and online ads might interrupt their goal. It will cause negative attitude towards the ad or even the brand it shows. Russell’s study in 2002 of the effectiveness of product placements in television shows showed that while incongruency between modalities and TV shows’ plots connection improves audience’s memory, congruency enhances persuasion.
The sudden appearance of ads usually interrupts what we are doing under a specific context, even when it is related to something we like and feel passionate too. Imagine you are concentrated on computer games, your partner comes along and put a plate of your favorited fruit in front the screen. You might still be annoyed by that since it interrupted what you are trying to achieve, which is winning the game.
(@Tastemade in Instagram shares cooking short videos for people to learn or just enjoy)
(A Chinese movie use leading man’s picture and tone to create an ad like a personal talk)
Therefore, in order to lower the degree of interruption, the most effective way to decrease consumer’s negative attitude towards an online campaign or advertisement, is making them more alike to what they are trying to achieve under the circumstances. That means we need to set up the campaign base on the scenario task of a consumer. For example, if we are going to run our campaign on Instagram, eye-catching short videos and fun posters will be more effective than plain words. Chinese social media application Wechat has a function called Moments, in which you can share and get access to accepted WeChat friends’ information. Under this scenario, the tones of many successful campaign and ads are like one of your friend sharing his or her personal feelings with you. In this case, users tend to pay attention to the information and respond to it. It can also explain why Ali pay always fail to build a social network within their own application, since consumer opens the app only try to manage their financial matters, at this point if a social ad jumps in, it is very possible that they will have a strong aversion towards the advertisement.
Admit Your Flaws
After conducting two experiments on the ‘overheard’ communication, Walster and Festinger (1962) raised three possible factors that “have been generally presumed to make overheard communications more effective”. Compactly saying, they are: listener’s defence is not prepared, listener is not supposed to hear it, and most importantly, speaker does not know the listener is there, which means as they are speaking, they are not intending to persuade the listener.
It is actually another reflection of psychological reactance, similarly, in a marketing campaign, if consumers get a sense that the campaign or ad is trying to manipulate their behavior, they will have a feeling that they are losing control of their own decision. To solve this problem, many ads choose not to emphasize their advantages blindly but also admit their flaws to let consumer reach their own decisions. Avis Car Rental was the second-biggest car rental company in the US in 1962, the ad agency Doyle Dane Bernbach tailored a catchword for Avis based on that: “When you’re only No. 2, you try harder”. It achieved an almost instant hit, within a year, Avis went from losing $3.2 million to earning $1.2 million.
Find A Right Reason
As advertisement will reduce the sense of control of the consumer, and evoke a feeling of being interrupted, even we assimilate them as their original goal, they still exist. Therefore, a right reason for the interruption will be very necessary. There are three kinds of reason that can be offered under circumstances like this, the first one is exchanging benefit. In Wechat, there are thousands of official accounts run by individual or organization to publish articles and posts for users. For those who have credibility and influence, there will be a button down their articles for a reader to tap and complete a transaction. Sometimes to increase their revenue, authors of articles will tell their readers that they will like to be rewarded by money for writing the post. This is like a reminder for the readers, that they gain information through their posts, then they should pay the author in return.
(WeChat page will jump from left to the right one for users to select money amount after clicking the red reward button on the left one)
The second one will be related information, if an ad is designed as it includes information that will benefit the consumer and reduce the sense of disgust. Take many bank advertisements as examples, instead of dephasing bank ranking or quality of the service, they will tend to create a message like: “Hard to get a loan? Interest rate from 0.1% for $100000!” In this way, it will give them a feeling that the ad can help them in a way and make it much easier for a consumer to accept the information. Moreover, since ads are designed to interrupt consumers if we could offer an ‘it can make the world a better place’ reason, the consumer might be more tolerated to them, like those donation campaigns raised by fast food giants such as KFC and McDonald’s.
Related to #BeTheFilter
When our group tries to launch the BeTheFilter campaign on social networks, is it obvious to us that we need to produce our seeding content as what people might be happy to see at platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. After marking the scenario clear, we then decided to create a short video within 90 seconds, and as prank clips are popular on social media, we also decided to make the video towards the ‘prank’ direction. Besides adding humor into our posts to draw users attention, we also thought about how to encourage them to generate similar content for this campaign. Due to the nature of the BeTheFilter, we placed particular emphasis on ‘finding the right reason’ step, since the aim of our campaign is to stop the wide spreading of rumor and detect misinformation, which will benefit users themselves and the atmosphere of social media and the whole society.
Speck, P. S., & Elliott, M. T. (1997). Predictors of advertising avoidance in print and broadcast media. Journal of Advertising, 26(3), 61-76.
Cho, C. H., & as-, U. O. T. A. A. I. A. (2004). Why do people avoid advertising on the internet?. Journal of advertising, 33(4), 89-97.
Hinton, S. & Hjorth, L. (2013). Participation and User Created Content. Understanding Social Media (pp.55-76). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Russell, C. A. (2002). Investigating the effectiveness of product placements in television shows: The role of modality and plot connection congruence on brand memory and attitude. Journal of consumer research, 29(3), 306-318.
Walster, E., & Festinger, L. (1962). The effectiveness of “overheard” persuasive communications. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 65(6), 395-402