NEWS30 October 2014

Pop culture moves below the line

News UK

UK — The ‘Facebookisation’ of culture means that people have an expectation that they will be able to share, comment and interact with content of all forms said Tom Ewing, content director, BrainJuicer Labs at The Market Research Society’s Customers Exposed conference today.


Post Facebook friendship networks (such as Whatsapp and Kik) have become more private while interest networks (such as Tumblr, Pinterest and reddit) have gone in the other direction said Ewing.

“Most of pop culture is happening below the line – comments, memes, fanvids, parodies, reblogs, user reviews etc. Culture and brands respond to this so it’s more common for brands to build in some level of this as we saw with 3 and the Dancing Pony ad,” he said.

Mainstream culture is now becoming a zone of conversation; from Beyonce joining in with conversation about feminism to the discussion sparked about consent and violence that grew around Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines song.

“Brands are doing this – whether they want to or not,” said Ewing citing Dove’s Real Beauty  and Always #likeagirl work. “There’s an element of controversy – should they be doing it? When you’re releasing content you’ll start conversations whether you intend to or not,” he said.

“Interest networks may be on social media but from a user perspective it’s individualised media – so unsurprisingly you find that conversations on social media are ones about identity – about diversity and reputation.”

But this can lead to a backlash. “What Grayson Perry calls ‘default man’ – middle-aged white male. These people are 10% of population but in terms of access to power and representation they are over-represented. Some people don’t like diversity because their slice of the pie is shrinking,” said Ewing.

However he pointed to how in the long run diversity wins out because it gives more people more things that they will like.

So, in conclusion, Ewing explained that for brands it is about reviving and understanding separate audiences; making sure content encourages this activity and starts big conversations because content will be latched onto anyway.