Consumer machines - idiographic signals as target audiences in contemporary advertising
The history of advertising is heavily tied to the history of audience studies. Starting from the hypodermic needle model (where the messages were uncritically addressed to everyone), over uses and gratification model (where people would be addressed with specific advertising messages based on their socio-demographic profile) and audience reception theories (where psychographics, emotions and emotional needs become crucial), advertising has eventually gave birth to an idiographic signals model, where no human is really targeted, but our respective digital personas, rather. And by digital persona I mean a digital trace, a palimpsest one leaves behind when interacting with messages within an online world. Most of the advertising success measures are consequently done not against real people, but against their digital personifications. Therefore all the optimization measures, how we produce creative advertising messages, what they look like and how they are deployed is also defined accordingly. But let us ask ourselves, does this really matter? As ultimately, maybe our digital personas are the ones making the purchasing decisions after all.
Ivana Uspenski received her PhD in Media Theory from the University of the Arts in Belgrade. She has worked as a journalist, sound engineer, and lead international media departments of several advertising agencies in Serbia and Germany (OMD Media in Belgrade, PHD Germany in Frankfurt, Mindshare/Cosmo in Dusseldorf). Her research interests range from Information and Communication and Web 2.0 to Mapping and Visualization, Critical Geography, Film Theory, and Cybertextuality. Her publications include a chapter on “Mass Intelligence and the Commoditized Reader,” published in New Perspectives on Consumer Culture Theory and Research, ed. Pavel Zahrádka and Renáta Sedláková (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012), “Shared in Confidence: A Machine to a Machine” published in the proceedings of the Beyond AI: Artificial Golem Intelligence Conference (Pilsen, Czech Republic, November 2013), a translation into Serbian of Ivo Blaha’s Dramaturgija zvuka u audio-vizuelnom delu (The Dramaturgy of Sound in Audio-Visual Works, 2008), and Fascinacije teorijom ili Ka novoj teoriji vizuelnih umetnosti i culture (The Fascination of Theory, or On New Theories in Visual Art and Culture, 2008), coauthored with Mariela Cvetic, Lidija Prising, and Vida Knezevic. She has published articles in AM: Art and Media Journal for Art and Media Studies and International Scientific Journal: Film and Media Studies and presented lectures and talks in Belgrade, London, Olomouc and Pilsen (the Czech Republic), Vienna, and London.