Product placement harnesses persuasive cinematic techniques, with marketing messages being disguised as information videos that are really elaborate corporate product placements. These videos created for online forums are then shared with news networks and aired to the public as news.
Successfully tailoring a message to new audiences requires a profound understanding of the tools and methods developed in traditional media. How a web video is developed could draw upon cinematic history and genre techniques the way in which cinema draws upon literature and the visual arts. As part of its ongoing crisis management plan BP utilizes documentary genre techniques to create a subjective edit of the current situation in its ‘Support for seafood industry’ video. This direct and ‘natural’ look creates a sense of honesty in message. The impact and history of drawing in audiences in this direct manner can be traced back to the ‘direct to camera’ technique of soliloquy, with its audience address and self-address style. As today’s documentary and web video directors employ this technique so did the Ancient Greeks in works by Euripides (Freeman, 2000) and later Shakespeare (Hirsh, 2003). Professionals working with these tools can create emotive pieces for spin, promotion or clarity and can choose how they engage and influence their publics.
Another powerful cinematic technique applied to contemporary communication; the action genre. Republican politician, Tim Pawlenty’s promotional video–to launch his new book–as satirized by Colbert, conjures visions of the movie ‘Transformers’ or I personally expected Bruce Willis to turn to camera ‘Armageddon’ (1998) style. This style taps into the sensory and emotive needs of the audience wear information, and education are blanketed by saturated visuals and platitudes. Cinema, spin and entertainment are all intertwined.
The professionals creating these messages converge diverse communication techniques, fusing, mashing and even creating a patchwork of tactics that are distinct but have a common thread that eventually creates a blanket of communication. Considering the diverse juxtaposition of story, technique and message displayed in patchwork quilts they could be considered societies early mash-ups.
Freeman, C. (2000). The Greek achievement. New York: Penguin Books.
Hirsh, J. (2003). Shakespeare and the history of saliloquies. London: Associated University Press.