ADVERTISING IN DIGITAL CITIES: A DIALECTIC OF DATAVEILLANCE AND CREATIVE FREEDOM
This essay will explore the challenges faced by advertisers and consumers as they interact within interconnected Digital Cities. The industry is trying to adapt and exploit the opportunities afforded them by the technologies essential to both everyday consumerism, and the infrastructure of Digital Cities themselves. Meanwhile, consumers are becoming more aware of how their interactions with digital technologies work simultaneously for and against them (Miller, 2011), leading to less responsive audiences who are constantly bombarded by instant, targeted advertising. With privacy the prescient concern amongst all involved, this analysis will highlight where the advertising industry is now, how it is adapting, and what the impact could be for both industry, and audience.
Kurt Iveson’s: “Digital Labourers of the City, Unite!” (2017), is a call to action for consumers to ensure that digital technologies are used for their benefit, not exploitation. However, Mark Latonero (2018) highlights the influence of the tech industry within this debate, and how their industry has become essential to Digital Cities, and every sector that operates within them (Kourtit, etal, 2017). This has led to a collapse of the distinction between consumers and producers, and a more decentralised model of media production (Miller, 2011).
Subsequently, the classic philosophies of advertising (Haygood, 2016) are being challenged, and privacy itself has become something of a commodity (Papachrissi, 2010). This has led to new essentials of consumerism within Digital Cities; targeted social media advertising (Okazaki, 2013); dynamic advertising, including billboards (Lak, etal, 2015); and spreading incepted word of mouth (albeit via digital networks) recommendations through similar media (Fang, etal, 2016). Each of these new forms of advertising rely on the same technologies fundamental to Digital City policy makers, as they also track how their citizens / consumers behave (Kourtit, etal, 2017).
Predicting how consumers may behave (Ham, 2016) is also essential for the advertising industry, but not an entirely new concept. However, adopting some of the classic ‘soft cell’ philosophies of traditional advertising for digital media is difficult. In some circumstances, businesses are being rebuilt based on the analysis of Big Data (Feldman, 2010). The proven emotive, creative metaphorical methods of classic advertising (Chang, 2016) are becoming more methodical, analytically based concepts, while advertisers find a way to make the technology itself adapt to the more psychological approaches to the craft (Prendergast, 2018).
Advertising may be both an expected, and accepted form of media in modern Digital Cities, but like every other industry, it is racing to keep up with the technologies it has come to rely upon. This essay will ask where it is now, where it may be going, and how it will continue adapting and evolving, if it is to thrive in Digital Cities.
Key texts and case studies as highlighted
CHANG, C. 2018. Right metaphor, right place: choosing a visual metaphor based on product type and consumer differences. International Journal of Advertising, 37, 309-336.
FAN, Y., TANG, K., LI., C. & WU, C. 2018
On electronic word of mouth diffusion in social networks: curiosity and influence. International Journal of Advertising, 37
FELDMAN, K. 2010. The Quantification of Advertising (+ Lessons from Building Businesses based on Large Scale Data Mining)
HAM, C. 2017. Exploring how consumers cope with online behavioural advertising
International Journal of Advertising, 36, 632-658.
HAYGOOD, D. 2016. Hard Sell or Soft Sell? The Advertising Philosophies and Professional Relationship of Rosser Reeves and David Ogilvy. American Journalism, 33, 169-188.
IVESON, K. 2017. Digital Labourers of the City, Unite! Our Digital Rights To The City. Meatspace Press.
KOURTIT, K., NIJKAMP, P. & STEENBURGEN, J. 2016. The significance of digital data systems for smart city policy. Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 58, 13-21.
LAK, P., KOCAK, A. & PRALAT, P. 2015
Towards Dynamic Pricing for Digital Billboard Advertising Network in Smart Cities
Dept. of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada.
MILLER, V. 2011. Understanding Digital Culture. Key Elements of Digital Media. London: Sage.
OKAZAKI, S. & TAYLOR, C. 2013
Social media and international advertising: theoretical challenges and future directions. International Marketing Review, 30
PAPACHRISSI, Z. 2010. Privacy as a luxury commodity. First Monday, 15.
PRENDERGAST, G. 2016. Trust in online recommendations: an evolutionary psychology perspective. International Journal of Advertising, 37, 199-216.