This YouTube video depicts segments of a stand-up comedy set based entirely around mocking the recent rebranding of the University of Western Sydney. Comedian Aamer Rahman merely points out absurdities throughout the institution’s new promotional look-book, which lovingly describes the reasoning behind new branding decisions. The video does not necessarily have a strong purpose in pushing my artefact forward outside of serving as further inspiration and reasserting the notion that, as a branding parody, UOWasteland does not need to carry with it a powerful political assertion in order to be affective. It instead presents some conceptual significance by reinforcing the idea that calling attention to the inherent ridiculousness already present in corporate branding culture is enough of a goal for the project to work towards on its own.
This online magazine article features both a popular parody video of a Sydney University advertisement and the ad that it was originally based on, focusing on the positive reception and impact of the humorous work and the powerful social and political messages that such a parody can carry. The piece also exemplifies the ways in which a branding hijack or parody may be used for entertainment or political purposes outside of directly rejecting the brand producing the original promotional material, as the parody in this case targets the parodyist’s own university, University of Sydney, rather than the University of Western Sydney which made the advertisement. This source is relevant to my own parody project in the way it highlights a non-aggressive approach to audience appropriation, however, as a primarily descriptive work its place in discussion surrounding my digital artefact would be limited.
The previous University of Wollongong brand guidelines handbook gives the opportunity for brilliant insight into the university’s communication and marketing standard. The full guidebook includes breakdowns on the elements required of UOW associated imagery, among other things. Of specific interest to my project are the guidelines on the graphical representation of real people in which it requires they seem candid and authentic, and the way these regulations interact with the final promotional images put out by official UOW channels, ultimately sending mixed messages. Unfortunately, only previews of certain pages are available freely online, however, these pages do include the broad promotional goals of UOW along with their general brand overview for a time period my project is heavily concerned with. As such, this content is of mixed use as a strictly freely available source online.
This Prezi by Audrey Halter looks at the ways in which artists utilise Corporate Parody and Culture Jamming in their work, touching on concepts such as the critique of corporate culture through the emulation of it. As an amateur presentation, the Prezi serves more as a gateway to further sources than an effective source in itself, especially as it is missing the essential live presenter element to flesh out the concepts it begins to engage with. It is also not focused as much or as clearly around new media advertisement and branding, making its usefulness to my project much more tenuous.
The Facebook Help Centre includes a section dedicated to assisting page management and specifically how to increase the reach of posts made to a Facebook page. Information set out on the page answers only particular questions posed on the page itself, leaving little room for individual queries, and gives fairly shallow answers. The page does not offer too much insight into the inner workings of a Facebook page or best practices of the medium, rather, the target audience of the page seems to be page managers who are unfamiliar with the Facebook platform in general. Additionally, suggestions provided are of little help to newly begun pages which haven’t the follower base or level of engagement yet which is required for an effective reading of page analytics.
This brief article on The Huffington Post discusses critically the development of image based marketing and the ways in which it can be both beneficial and detrimental to the product or brand from which it originates. The piece touches on issues such as image instability and how easily a message of advertisement is altered upon contact with an online audience, as well as the assumed interactivity that comes with advertising to such audiences via wordless imagery. The focus on how marketing images may be appropriated and their meaning changed by outside forces is particularly apt to my project and engages with relevant ideas of audience power in feedback and mass communication online.
The official University of Wollongong Twitter account provides the majority of primary source images for my digital artefact in the form of promotional media to be re-captioned and parodied on UOWasteland pages. Promotional content posted to this account gives a reliable indication of the style of branding the University wishes to put forth through its marketing and exemplifies a peculiar disjunct between its media and message. The account also encourages use of an associated hashtag (#ThisIsUOW) which is useful for increasing the reach of UOWasteland posts to an ideal audience. As a source for primary content it does not have much critical or theoretical worth but is invaluable in the practical role it fulfils.
Christine Harold’s essay on “Culture Jamming” discusses the place of brand hijacking and playful appropriation of promotional material in social and political activism, and argues that such methods can be highly effective. The essay is closely related conceptually to the theory of audience engagement, interaction and feedback through new media that my digital artefact is concerned with. Having an academic source which presents on these ideas of subversive audience dialogue with and against marketing will be of great value to the project, making a solid addition to the artefact’s theoretical base.
This short article describes the practice of “Hashtag Hijacking”, giving examples of two prominent forms of the act and following up with some suggestions of preventative measures that a business might take to avoid the damage this could do to a brand. The post is written quite definitively from the perspective of a brand which is being hijacked and thus presents a fairly skewed opinion of hashtag hijacking, its ethics and what it is used for. The acknowledgement of audience intercommunication and feedback via subversive social media practices is relevant to theoretical concepts at work in the UOWasteland project, but this source is of little use to the artefact assignment in either a practical or critical sense.
This particular post to the SurePayroll Blog breaks down statistical information on user engagement across social media, providing a simple and easy to read infographic which breaks down ideal and inadvisable timing for posting content. The translated statistics cover relevant information for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+, including tips on the types of posts which receive the most engagement from site users on each. With only a few of these mediums being of immediate interest to my project the post is not as helpful as it had the potential to be, however, where applicable to UOWasteland social media accounts it gives significant aid in the area of best practices for interaction and engagement of posts.