MEDA301 – Contemporary, Historical and Theoretical.

 Contemporary Context

Compile a list of five contemporaries in your field which might inform your research either practically or conceptually + work that resonates.

  1. Bethesda (Large scale immersive role-playing games – Oblivion and Skyrim).
  2. Apple (Hello Campaign)
  3. William Bernbach (Volkswagen Lemon)
  4. Kollektiv Turmstrasse (Kollective Turmstrasse & Solomun: Diynamic Showcase ADE).
  5. Eddie Opara (Minimalism Design)

Skyrim (Bethesda)

Skyrim is a role-playing game (RPG) built for both PC and console platforms. Skyrim allows an individual to construct an identity based upon race, sex and characteristics and ‘live’ inside the world. This identity is the key element of Skyrim, delivering the immersive nature of the work – allowing users to transcend beyond their physical presence.

This is defined as spatial presence (SP), the occurrence when media produces ‘a sense of being there.’ This arises when an individual’s perception fails to differentiate the role of technology that makes it appear that they are in an artificial environment rather from the actual physical environment. (Wirth et al. 2007). The precursor for SP is the spatial situation model (SSM) which is the actual formation of SP produced from varying elements as noted below:

Spatial Presence.jpgSource

Applying this theory on a practical level, this spatial presence is the key marketing element for Skyrim. Constructing SSM, the Media Factors of Skyrim that help produce spatial presence include graphical interfaces, environmental and seasonal changes within the game and the ability of choiceNovelty, Suprise and Relevance that align with user interests and needs.  User factors include internal and external influences such as motivation (lack of desire to play game leads to reduction of SP).

Kollectiv Turmstrasse & Solomun: Diynamic Showcase ADE (First Act).

On the surface we see two producers in a live setting, however when we deconstruct it we can illustrate a series of constructs; a cultural movement, creativity and the network between individuals.

Breaking down the knowledge required for this work we have:

To make the assumption that they are simply DJs would be incorrect, but rather they are producing a live instalment through Ableton. Thus requiring musical theory and technological understanding of the program in order to produce a fluid performance in front of a full crowd.

Therefore we can illustrate a distinction between theory and practice. Understanding the musical theory and technological theory in order to create a constituent part, and practice as another component required to understand which song to play at which moment to create the whole product. Finally the ability for both artist’s to understand the creativity and relationship between them, how each interprets the vibe they experience and what factors influence that.

William Bernbach ‘Think Small’ + ‘Lemon’ – Volkswagen Marketing


‘Lemon’ and ‘Think Small’ can be perceived as ‘simple’ and ’empty.’ However this is a reflection of the physical product itself, with the Beetle being a simple car Bernbach’s campaigns aimed to demonstrate this.The word Lemon is often referred to poor-quality vehicles, Volkswagen instead looked at the vehicle in a minimalist value emphasising simplicity and failings.

However we can attribute marketing theory to the success of these campaigns in Bernbach’s belief that consumers sold products not advertisement, with strategy of VW advertisement to attract consumers and develop Brand Ambassadors. Self-Branding (Self-Concept) is the theoretical basis for this work, with the understanding that the self is a cognitive structure with aspects such as social desirability, attachment and materialism all impacting ones self-concept and brand. This leads to the link between this self-concept and brands. In this campaign, those who do not concern themselves with luxury may identify with ‘Think Small’ and ‘Lemon.’

Historical Vector for RPG Games

Historical context dates back to the 16th Century, however primarily developed from 1970’s ‘fantasy wargames‘ RPG ranges from physical boards to virtual reality.

  • 16th Century Commedia Dell’arte 
  • Various training war games from 16th – 19th century
  • 1913 – Little Wars
  • 1970 – First commercially available RPG game Dungeon and Dragons
  • 1978 – Rune Quest
  • Computer based RPG games emerge 1980
  • 1981 – Call of Cthulhu
  • 1994 – Elder Scrolls series released
  • 2004 – WoW
  • 2012 – Skyrim


Identify five academic articles 

Wissmath et al. (2009) Dubbing or Subtitling? Effects on Spatial Presence, Transportation, Flow, and Enjoyment, Journal of Media Psychology Vol. 21 – (looks at how presence is impacted by dubbing and subtitling). 

  • Evidence shows that spatial presence isn’t confined to interactive media such as video games or virtual reality. This is that self-concept is the key to understanding media reception, and that spatial presence can occur in media such as books.
  •  Spatial presence occurs through cognitive processes, which are split into two models:
    • In the first model, a ‘spatial representation’ of the environment emerges depending on the level of attention allocated to the medium, therefore can be voluntary.
    • The second model addresses self-localisation and that spatial presence occurs if the users accept the medium as the primary egocentric spatial process.



      Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 10.08.06 amSource

Ball, D. A. Tasaki, L. H. (1992) The role and measurement of attachment in consumer behaviour, Journal of Consumer Psychology Vol. 1. 

  • The self as a cognitive structure – Illustrated that self-development is a concept of the self as an organisation of knowledge; ‘I am a compassionate person’ or ‘I will not steal.’ The focus here though is how the self produces attachment.
  • Attachment is the extent which an object is owned, expected to own or maintain their self-concept. For attachment to occur the object needs to have emotional relevance; the number of associations the object has with events or individuals will result in the level of significance. As time increases with the object so does significance.
  • “Furthermore attachment should be strongly related to emotional significance, but should be differentiated from it when an object reflects the self; attachment is something other than important memories. The pre-acquisition stage of ownership is often associated with high attachment but not with high emotional significance, especially for young consumers.”

Wirth et al. (2007) A Processing Model of the Formation, Media Psychology 

  • In order for an individual to govern their position relevant to the environment and check for irregularities between their external and internal feedback.
  • This process is called an egocentric spatial model (noted in the above picture). This is constructed through visual information, but also by the Vestibular System (reactions from acceleration and gravity).
  • Perception & Environment – “The perceived objects are those which the users’ select out of the diversity of environmental stimuli. Perception itself is the result of organisation, meaning that whatever is perceived is already arranged in a way which makes sense for the observer.” 

Bughin et al. (2010) A New Way to Measure Word of Mouth Marketing, McKinsley Quarterly, McKinsley&Company

  • Word of Mouth Equity – Three drivers of WOM Marketing
    • Across all categories, the most important driver is that the message must address specific product concepts that will influence the customer (Mobile industry: Design is more important than battery life/Skin Care: Ingredients and packaging > emotional output from people than how the products make the consumer actually feel).
    • Identity of the sender is important (Influential car leaders can’t influence music consumers).
    • The environment in which word of mouth is delivered defines the power of messages. Communication occurring within secure networks have less reach, however produce a higher level of engagement than messages communicated through dispersed networks — “in part, because there’s usually a high correlation between people whose opinions we trust and the members of networks we most value.”

Rust et al. (2004) Customer Centred Brand Management, Harvard Business Review

  • George Clinton – talented musician who could play both mainstream and underground music split his branding into two segments (Parliament & Funkadelic).
  • If he was to mix the two it would produce a brand image that would be messy and failed to target the appropriate segment.
  • Rather his messaging was targeted to appropriate groups.






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