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Your Ad Here: The Cool Sell of Guerrilla Marketing

Michael Serazio
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 237
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  • Book Info
    Your Ad Here
    Book Description:

    It is a truism that, in media, everyone knows they are being sold something all the time. It is exactly because of this that we become blind to the subtle seductions of contemporary commercial culture - and Michael Serazio is here to open our eyes. - Mark Deuze, author of Media Life and Media Work Michael Serazio has produced an extremely important and engaging book: well researched and highly readable, it provides a detailed and compelling account of the mechanisms of consumer governance at work in the digital age. It deserves a wide readership among scholars and students alike. - Liz Moor, Goldsmiths, University of London Amidst the profound upheavals in technology, economics, and culture that mark the contemporary moment, marketing strategies have multiplied, as brand messages creep ever deeper into our private lives. In Your Ad Here, an engaging and timely new book, Michael Serazio investigates the rise of guerrilla marketing as a way of understanding increasingly covert and interactive flows of commercial persuasion. Digging through a decade of trade press coverage and interviewing dozens of agency CEOs, brand managers, and creative directors, Serazio illuminates a diverse and fascinating set of campaign examples: from the America's Army video game to Pabst Blue Ribbon's hipster hijack, from buzz agent bloggers and tweeters to The Dark Knight's Why So Serious? social labyrinth. Blending rigorous analysis with eye-opening reporting and lively prose, Your Ad Here reveals the changing ways that commercial culture is produced today. Serazio goes behind-the-scenes with symbolic creators to appreciate the professional logic informing their work, while giving readers a glimpse into this new breed of hidden persuaders optimized for 21st-century media content, social patterns, and digital platforms. Ultimately, this new form of marketing adds up to a subtle, sophisticated orchestration of consumer conduct and heralds a world of advertising that pretends to have nothing to sell.Michael Seraziois an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Fairfield University. An award-winning former journalist, he continues to write about popular culture, advertising, and new media forThe Atlantic, among other publications.In thePostmillennial Popseries

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-6494-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. 1 Buying into the Cool Sell
    (pp. 1-29)

    For much of the 20th century, marketers relied upon the conventional weaponry of the mass media to deliver their commercial payload: newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and billboards structured the information environment and furnished the primary venues for the placement of paid advertising. Within that environment, advertisers jockeyed for attention in predictable, delimited contexts through persuasive campaigns that could be clearly and openly identified as such. By and large, we knew what advertising looked like and we knew where to find it: during the programming break on TV, surrounding the editorial content in a newspaper, or across banners atop a webpage....

  5. 2 The Ambient Governance of Advertainment
    (pp. 30-59)

    As audiences have become more technologically and psychologically adept at evading traditional advertiser entreaty, branding has regrouped with ambitious new designs of its own. In the past decade, the explosion of product placement and branded content offers an entry point into how advertising context is being rethought and, moreover, suggests an effort at “casualizing” the exercise of marketing power. Cultural spaces like film, pop music, and video games furnish an ostensibly neutral ambience, whereas conventional advertising venues are now presumed to have conditioned subjects into anticipating the weight of manipulation, as Scott Goodson outlines in the epigraph. Borrowing the military...

  6. 3 Street Spectacle and Subculture Jamming
    (pp. 60-91)

    As branding has become a ubiquitous social force, it has run up against political reservations and, at times, outright contestations. “Culture jamming” often serves as a banner for the ideology and diverse tactics of those who would protest branding’s incursion into everyday life and popular culture. It is also culture jamming that, some believe, represents the social movement most intellectually and expressively equipped to undermine the ambitions of corporate advertising and whose subversive zeal is fueled by much of the same brand management strategy that has been carving out otherwise “disinterested” spaces (see chap. 2). And, yet, when Alex Bogusky...

  7. 4 Buzz Agency and the Regime of Dialogue
    (pp. 92-121)

    Amid abundant advertiser anxiety about conventional communication channels, a significant number have begun turning to the oldest medium of all: word of mouth. Since casual conversation with friends and family has long represented a trustworthy space, it tenders fertile and unspoiled territory for marketers who claim to be routinely rebuffed in their effort to break through traditional media fronts. In this chapter and the next, I demonstrate how commercial promotion is adapting to and working through practices of “the crowd,” both online and off, in an attempt to embed structural objectives in pliable, autonomous, grassroots social flows: “[getting] in touch”...

  8. 5 Crowd-Sourced Marketing and the Freedom to Labor
    (pp. 122-153)

    Over the past decade, as broadcasting has increasingly given way to the network as the organizing principle of contemporary media ecology, interactivity has simultaneously emerged as a key component of how media work, and advertising more specifically, might be accomplished. Such a transition gives rise to “new kinds of ambiences, goals, and procedures for consumer interaction, participation, and productivity,” presupposing two familiar themes: first, a subjective flexibility in terms of how the brand-text is conceptualized (i.e., that operability of an “open work”); second, a collaborative interpellation of amateur roles (i.e., that operability of “open labor”).³ Both developments provide opportunities and...

  9. 6 Managing Agency in the Regime of Engagement
    (pp. 154-170)

    In 2002, scholars convened a focus group of high-level advertising practitioners and industry experts to rechristen their business. They noted that, throughout history, with each epoch of technological change, so too did the definition of advertising change and the techniques thought to be ideally applicable.² Yet the focus group concluded by generating a new definition (“a paid, mediated form of communication from an identifiable source, designed to persuade the receiver to take some action, now or in the future”) that still fails to encompass the scope of recent guerrilla marketing trends, primarily because what was once “identifiable” is increasingly elided...

    (pp. 171-176)
  11. NOTES
    (pp. 177-202)
    (pp. 203-216)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 217-226)
    (pp. 227-227)