The concept of postmodernism has critical impacts on advertisement. Before the era of advanced technologies and social media, advertisements were simple and direct, consisting of simple and direct words on newspapers, magazines, and billboards. However, by relying on new technologies and social media, advertisements have become ubiquitous in relation to consumers daily life by removing any existing barriers. It represents a form of postmodern marketing.
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Thus, advertisements target consumers who are also the main subject of the advertisement. That is, the consumer is now a key component of advertising. This is the case of Google Glass. On February 13, 2014, Google posted a short one and a half minute video clip is known as Marry me [through Google Glass] (the video is available on YouTube). The video was created through Google Glass, and it contains various scenes of marriage proposals.
This video has attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers because of the reaction it created on social media. Through this video, Google reinforces the attractiveness of Google Glass as an object that consumers can use to capture significant events in their lives. From the video, Google shows that the Glass is not about technology but rather about individuals who use it in everyday situations. This was one video from Google Project Explorer to capture special moments when using Google Glass. Google Glass is now omnipresent because of the new media in a postmodern advertisement.
The Google Glass video, Marry me [through Google Glass] reflects demystified culture, a new product, and marketing strategy supported with a small group of consumers, who rely on hypermedia to transcend physical barriers and limits of traditional media to experience the expandable and interconnected world of social media through the new media. It is a perfect example of a postmodern advertisement in the era of the new media.
The theoretical model chosen for this analysis is postmodernism, as depicted by various authors. Different authors, for instance, have shown the role of the new media in postmodernism advertisement. Their works have continued to evolve as they focus on emerging practices in advertisements brought about by changes in technologies and popular culture (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler 35).
O’Shaughnessy and Stadler (451) see postmodernism in relation to the new media and observable changes in society. Appignanesi and Garratt (174) provide an overview of postmodernism cyberspace experiences. For any technology to transcend its limits, there must be possibilities for commercial success. This explains why many large organizations have turned to new media and technologies for advertisement.
With new media, there are observable changes in meanings of terms and usage, which extend to commercial activities and advertisements. The postmodernism is marked with potential in business opportunities for companies that wish to exploit new media advertisement features. The dropping costs and abilities to reach the global consumer are breaking the physical barriers once witnessed in traditional media. In addition, consumers have embraced new media as everyday experiences and platforms for communication.
As a result, consumers are now exposed to various forms of commercial advertisements through new media than ever before, and they can virtually have these experiences anywhere. The postmodern era shows that information and communication can now occur without much effort.
The results are hypermedia systems that go beyond physical boundaries and overcome restrictions of the traditional media. It is an expandable and interconnected communication system that focuses on consumers and electronic systems to deliver the digital, interactive advertisement. In addition, the advertisement is user motivated, widely distributed, individualized, and runs across several new media platforms.
It is widely supported by file-sharing capabilities and clicks on social media platforms. Users, however, must navigate through information overload and ensure effective management of fragmented scenes, and Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright (307) help readers to understand the visual culture in new media.
The new media offer just-in-time knowledge and reality on how users can experience new products (Palmer 78), particularly technology-driven ones. It creates a new culture for niche products and targets a given class of consumers with specific identities.
In this case study, the focus is on the use of new media during the postmodernism era for advertisement. One fundamental issue for Google is to get millions of consumers to spend their dollars for a new device that they hardly understand, know how to use or wear on their faces to create ‘a near-awkward look.’ This was a major issue for Google as it prepared to launch its Project Glass. Google Glass is a high-tech Glass with the ability to take photographs, decode phrases, and provide directions to use.
It can accomplish all these tasks through a narrow glass built on the frame next to the users’ right eye. The Glass looks like a pair of spectacles but actually is a wearable computer device with an optical piece inserted for display. It is a product of Google’s Project Glass project. Before the release, the company had to make the early version of the Glass available for consumers, but only to a restricted group of consumers. Google introduced a twist by ensuring that this group of consumers had to answer the question, ‘If I had Glass’ before selection.
A major characteristic of a postmodern era is the strong presence of new media (Durham and Kellner 445). Companies have often focused on how they can exploit their platforms to reach users. Google, for instance, embarked on an extraordinary project of developing the Glass and creating a new way of utilizing the capabilities of the new media, including social media.
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The company has overcome all the technical issues involved in the development of wearable Glass. It now faced the difficult assignment of convincing consumers to purchase and wear the Glass. The company must make this unique wearable device look normal for ordinary consumers.
In an attempt to ensure that the Glass assumes a status symbol rather than a scientific experiment object, the company has increased the number of early adopters to include everyday consumers.
These consumers are not within the technology sphere, and they would assist in familiarizing other consumers with the Glass. This approach is a strategic marketing strategy that can only be explained through postmodernism theory. It shows how and why consumers should purchase and use the Glass, and it gives assurance that they would still look fine with it.
It remains unclear what message Google intended to communicate by creating a wearable device. Nevertheless, it is imperative to note that early adopters would be a part of the team that will create the intended image. This explains the importance of early adopters in marketing.
Right now, for instance, consumers would commend Google as a proficient firm from a technical perspective, but the message from the Glass is not clear. The Glass is worn notably on the forehead, and it provides a remarkable style of the screen, and therefore, it is noticeable. However, its ability to impact the mainstream market can only originate if Google manages to make the Glass look normal. Thus, Glass should change social, custom, and style practices. Google has managed to achieve this shift.
The company has ensured that the Glass is omnipresent in everyday life, including social events. For instance, today, there are many videos on YouTube and other social media platforms of men proposing marriage through Glass.
In addition, the Glass has found its way into wedding events. Marsha Collier, for example, was the first bride to wear Google Glass for a wedding. In addition, several other guests also had the Glass. Marsha Collier was a part of the Explorer team.
For members of the audience, the Glass is meant to invoke a sense of everyday use and normalcy. It should give a similar experience to the wearer in real-time. In this manner, the Glass creates a strong popular culture and new media image that has significantly dominated contemporary reality, and the way modern consumers define themselves and their world, including social circles and events (Strinati 229).
By considering a postmodern point of view, media messages present even a diverse social reality in which users are constantly using, adopting, and experiencing new media. While viewers may remain passive recipients and feel like a part of the bride and groom, they nevertheless have opportunities to participate by sharing files and posting comments.
Thus far, critics have termed the Google Glass as nerdy, awkward, and ridiculous. In order to define the image of the Glass beyond tech-savvy early adopters, Google has embarked on a promotion that targets the public and makes the Glass a normal everyday use device.
Thus, the Glass Explorer Program focused on recruiting bold, creative people. This description targeted an exclusive social group. While the Program targeted a creative social group, it had to maintain hipster-types in advertisements noted in Silicon Valley and driven by new media in postmodern practices. In the video, youthful couples, men, and women of different lifestyles have the Glass.
Through the video, Google is also directly targeting everyday consumers, including patents, business class, and consumers who prefer outdoor activities. Thus, Google is eager to deliver the wearable device to various classes of users beyond tech-savvy consumers who understand the technical aspects of the Glass.
In this manner, Google can use the new media to create opportunities for demos, including picture snapping and video chatting, among other memorable roles. New media are important in establishing diversity for the product. Google understands that various age groups attend weddings, and by promoting the Glass at public places through the video, the company is creating a diverse base of consumers who will embrace the Glass and take it out for experiences beyond normal office or conference rooms.
Google has been able to seize chances for establishing the market for the Glass from the rich, successful, and famous consumers. While the Glass may be popular among these consumers, the video seems to suggest that Google has other consumers in mind. In fact, the high-end market could be limiting the potential of the Glass.
The video shows that Google wants possible consumers of the Glass to see it in public places, social events, and hear about it from neighbors, families, and friends. Through postmodernism and new media, the video has been able to achieve this intended marketing approach.
Early adopters have shown that the Glass is wearable and practical and thus offers inspiration for the public. The new media have demonstrated that normal people can also wear the device and still manage to look ‘cool’ even in wedding ceremonies. The postmodern advertisement of Google Glass aims to show that ordinary people can control the device and look and feel ‘cool’ in it.
Thus, couples in the video depict that Google Glass would become a normal device for different types of functions and situations. In addition, consumers want to highlight that the Glass is less obtrusive relative to cameras and mobile phones, specifically when snapping photos and recording videos. New media in a postmodern era have allowed users to manage fragmented aspects of consumer interaction with products.
In conclusion, video advertisement creates an experience with new media in a postmodernism era because it finally inspires normal consumers to embrace Google Glass. The video manages to drive the popular culture noted in postmodern advertisement, and thus, it becomes difficult to distinguish between popular culture and consumerism. Consequently, the popular culture created by the Glass advertisement is most likely to influence purchasing habits.
The video was created by the same product it advertised, and this depicts the role of the new media in enhancing interaction with potential customers and advertisement of the product simultaneously. Ordinary people who watch the video will develop a positive view of the Glass, purchase it, and ensure that it remains present in everyday events and situations.
Appignanesi, Richard and Chris Garratt. Introducing Postmodernism. London: Icon Books, 2007. Print.
Durham, Meenakshi Gigi and Douglas M. Kellner. Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks. London: Blackwell, 2001. Print.
O’Shaughnessy, Michael and Jane Stadler. Media and Society. 5th ed. 2012. Oxford: Oxford UP. Print.
Palmer, Dan. Structuralism and Poststructuralism for Beginners. London: For Beginners, 2007. Print.
Strinati, Domimic. Culture and Society: An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture. New York: Routledge, 2004. Print.
Sturken, Marita and Lisa Cartwright. Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Print.