Friday, 15 October 2010

"Forget viral. Think spreadable."

So said digital media agency Peppercom's Partner and Managing Director Deborah Brown at an afternoon workshop at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) annual conference in the US, which proceeded the conference proper.

"Viral is negative; think of a cold - it's something you don't want to catch. Spreadable media is content that people want to share." But in letting them share it, you have to be prepared to let them reinvent it, for their own purposes, and put it in a new context.

Take Susan Boyle. Her successful opening shot at singing on Britain's Got Talent spread around the world like wildfire. But it wasn't just passed on, it was also reinvented. Groups from conservative christians to karaoke reinterpreted her footage to further their causes. She became a symbolic representation of their own messages.

To become spreadable brands need to be able to loosen up; to let go, and go with the flow. It's counterintuitive, but it works, apparently.

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Anonymous Sam Ford said...

Hi Janet,

Thanks for your blog post. Glad to hear that the Peppercom session at the ANA conference resonated with you. I am a colleague of Deb's and am actually working on a book right now on the concept of "spreadable media," with a professor at USC named Henry Jenkins and a researcher at UC-Santa Barbara named Joshua Green. To your point, "spreadability" puts the emphasis on the audience who actively decides to share your content rather than pretending a brand has the power to "infect" people with content whether they want it or not.

Happy to share more with you on our work on the idea surrounding the book project. Feel free to reach out on Twitter @Sam_Ford.

19 October 2010 at 04:00  

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